- Marina Hedlund
Updated: Jul 14, 2021
Probiotic supplements have been all the rage in the health and wellness industry as of late. But did you know there are also prebiotics AND postbiotics?! Let’s break down what the difference is between the three and the benefits they bring to their host (you!).
The simplest definition of a prebiotic is it that it feeds your probiotics! Prebiotics are non living and are not digestible in humans. They benefit humans indirectly by fueling the gut bacteria that is harbored inside of us, probiotics are able to break down the prebiotic substance by a process called fermentation (Gibson, G.R., 2017). So what are some examples of prebiotic foods? They are mainly non digestible carbohydrates. Bananas, asparagus, tomatoes and beans are just a few examples of fibrous foods that feed your beneficial bacteria (Davani-Davari, D. 2019).
A probiotic could be described as a living organism that resides in our gastrointestinal tract that provides a benefit to us as the host. We in turn house these microorganisms creating a symbiotic relationship, meaning we benefit each other. We can accumulate these probiotics from foods we eat and as well as supplementation. Common probiotic strains are bifidobacteria as well as lactobacillus. You can find them in foods like sauerkraut, yogurt (aim for no added sugar) and kimchi. Probiotics have been linked to health benefits like increased immune function through the manufacturing of vitamins, cognitive function as well as gut issues like IBS (Hill, C. 2014).
Postbiotics are a more recent topic of discussion as researchers are just now discovering the benefits they have on our health. Postbiotics are substances that are non living and are produced by our beneficial bacteria. Common, more researched, postbiotics are short chain fatty acids like butyrate and propionate. They have anti inflammatory effects on the gut. Propionate has been shown to have statin like effects by reducing cholesterol synthesis. Butyrate encourages healthy intestinal lining to decrease leaky gut and other inflammatory bowel diseases. These are just a few examples and more research is coming out about the benefits of postbiotics on our health (Żółkiewicz, J., 2020)!
As you can now see, it’s more than just probiotics. Support your gut bugs by adding in more fiber to your diet through prebiotic substances like the ones mentioned above! As always, if you have any questions reach out to Dr. Marina through our website, email or by phone at 402-769-6624.
Gibson, G. R., Hutkins, R., Sanders, M. E., Prescott, S. L., Reimer, R. A., Salminen, S. J., Scott, K., Stanton, C., Swanson, K. S., Cani, P. D., Verbeke, K., & Reid, G. (2017). Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology, 14(8), 491–502. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2017.75
Davani-Davari, D., Negahdaripour, M., Karimzadeh, I., Seifan, M., Mohkam, M., Masoumi, S. J., Berenjian, A., & Ghasemi, Y. (2019). Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 8(3), 92. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8030092
Hill, C., Guarner, F., Reid, G., Gibson, G. R., Merenstein, D. J., Pot, B., Morelli, L., Canani, R. B., Flint, H. J., Salminen, S., Calder, P. C., & Sanders, M. E. (2014). Expert consensus document. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology, 11(8), 506–514. https://doi-org.uws.idm.oclc.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2014.66
Żółkiewicz, J., Marzec, A., Ruszczyński, M., & Feleszko, W. (2020). Postbiotics-A Step Beyond Pre- and Probiotics. Nutrients, 12(8), 2189. https://doi-org.uws.idm.oclc.org/10.3390/nu12082189