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Postbiotics – a new word for your Gutionary!

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I have a new P word to add to your Gutionary (gut dictionary) – Postbiotics!

You’ve probably heard of prebiotics and probiotics by now – they’ve become pretty hot topic in healthcare, as well as food industry. And now they’re being joined by a new trendy concept. But first a recap on the pre and pro.

PREBIOTICS

That’s the food for the good microbes. They’re mostly types of fibre, but that’s not always the case. For a dietary fibre to ‘win’ the prebiotic title, its health benefit needs to be shown in several clinical trials. A hard-earned badge of honour!

You can find plenty of prebiotics in my Bio&Me granola and in many plant-based foods. So if you’re eating a varied diet, getting your 30 different types of plant goodness every week, you’re most likely hitting the mark and keeping your microbes happy.

PROBIOTICS

These are the live microbes including bacteria and yeast, that have shown a health benefit in scientific studies. Funnily enough, in the UK and EU, legally this word can’t be used. You might be wondering then how some food products frustratingly seem to be getting away with putting ‘probiotics’ on their labels… but that’s a whole other post for another time!

Live microbes are found in many fermented foods like kefir (fermented milk), kombucha (fermented tea) and more. They also come in capsule form, but it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all. Each strain does different things. More on that in my book Eat Yourself Healthy & Love Your Gut

POSTBIOTICS

The new fancy term you can impress your friends with. Essentially, postbiotics include all the by-products and chemicals that are produced when microbes feast on food, which are thought to be responsible for many of the beneficial effects of probiotics. The idea is that we just take these postbiotics, without the need for the actual pre- or probiotics – think of it like cutting out the middle man.

Where’s the science at? In theory, it makes sense for postbiotics to have a benefit & research is starting to confirm this. But more needs to be done & I would hold off handing your hard-earned cash over for postbiotics just yet!

Oh and then there are synbiotics too (prebiotics + probiotics) that I used during my PhD – but I’ll save that one for later…