Postbiotics and their health benefits
Our microbiome, which is is the collection of microbes, like bacteria, viruses, fungi and their genes, talks to our mitochondria to make more energy, talks to our brain to determine our mood, talks to our DNA. Most of us know about the probiotics and prebiotics, but not so many know about the postbiotics. In the below article I cover what are they and why do they matter to your body.
What are postbiotics?
They are a byproduct of a friendly bacteria in your gut (probiotics) when they eat what fertilises and grows them (prebiotics). So essentially postbiotics are a waste left behind by your body after digesting both probiotics and prebiotics. And it's these bacteria you need to make a difference in your health. In order to have more postbiotics produced by your gut bacteria and actually get the health benefits linked with prebiotics and probiotics, you need to consume more prebiotic and probiotic foods on a regular basis.
Below are various types of postbiotics produced in your body:
short-chain fatty acids (these are produced by the body from the fibre you eat and support the health of the intestinal mucosa)
enzymes (help digest food, participate in other metabolic processes and help the body get rid of toxins)
vitamins (such as vitamin B and vitamin K)
amino acids (the "building blocks" of proteins)
organic acids (help maintain the correct pH level in the intestine)
immune system compounds (support immune cells)
bacteriocins (make it more difficult for the bad bacteria to grow)
neurotransmitters (transmit messages between nerves and the brain)
nitric oxide (important for cardiovascular health)
What are the health benefits of postbiotics?
Although postbiotics are a waste product of probiotic bacteria, they offer several health benefits to your body.
Boost your immune system
A short-chain fatty acid, butyrate, can stimulate the production of T cells in your intestine. T cells help to control the majority of your body's immune response.
Reduce the inflammation
Cell wall fragments and supernatant from healthy bacteria increase the production of anti-inflammatory chemical messengers called cytokines that help to reduce inflammation in your body.
Reduce digestive issues
People with irritable bowel disease produce less butyrate in the gut, which is important for regulating immunity and inflammation in the gut.
May treat diarrhoea as postbiotics reduce bowel motion frequency, bloating and relieve pain.
Help with weight loss and manage blood sugar levels
Short-chain fatty acids may help with weight loss by suppressing hunger signals and keeping your blood sugar levels more stable.
Help with allergies
Allergies happens when your body's immune system overreacts to a perceived threat. Since postbiotics help to boost your immune system, they also improve your immune response by decreasing allergic reactivity.
By consuming more variety of different probiotic and prebiotic foods (kefir, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso, cottage cheese, fermented pickles, garlic, flaxseeds, oats etc) on a regular basis, you make sure your body produces a good amount of postbiotics to support your overall health.
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