There are countless factors that contribute to our overall health: what we drink, if we exercise, how much we sleep, our family history, stress levels etc. But perhaps there is more to our physiological health than what meets the eye. Tiny microorganisms, termed pre, post, pro, and syn biotics are living organisms that cultivate an enormous ecosystem inside our colon.
Let’s take a deeper look into these organisms:
Prebiotics vs. Probiotics
Prebiotics help to feed the good bacteria in your gut.1
A great rule of thumb for effective prebiotics is that they should resist major actions of stomach acid and are undigestable in the upper gastrointestinal tract and are easily fermented (broken down without oxygen) by beneficial bacteria in the gut.2
Some prebiotics include1:
–apples, pears, mangoes
“Probiotics” originates from the Greek origin, meaning, “for life.” When ingested, they promote a more than positive effect on the “host’s health or physiology.” They are live microorganisms that are meant to have a positive health benefit.2
It is important to recognize that fermented and cultured food are excellent probiotic sources.
Probiotic foods include:
Post Biotics vs. Syn biotics
Synbiotics consist of a mix between probiotics and prebiotics. Synbiotics can act as mediators of the environment in the gut. Many studies suggest a positive effect of synbiotics on constipation, and decreasing fasting blood sugar levels. 3
Some Synbiotics include:
–any product/supplement with a pro and prebiotic combination
Post biotics are compounds that are broken down without oxygen by other bacteria that can be combined with other nutritional compounds to increase health. The post biotics that we consume can activate the immune system and initiate an anti-inflammatory response, therefore fighting illness and disease. 3
Put simply, the prebiotics that we consume are used as a food source by the probiotics in our system. Post biotics are the final product of this process.4
Essentially, post biotics act as immune fighters in our body to conquer infection, or tiny foreign invaders, and even prevent and treat diarrhea by strengthening the immune response in your body.
There are four main components to a healthy gut: pre, pro, post, and synbiotics
The foods that we eat can produce healthy bacteria in our gut that can help boost our immune system to help fight infection
It is important to consume a variety of foods high in pre and pro biotics in order to increase our gut health
Try this delicious, warm and cozy recipe full of gut friendly foods: Kale & Roasted Veggie Soup.
1. L Kathleen Mahan, Raymond JL. Krause’s Food & the Nutrition Care Process. 14th ed. Elsevier; 2017.
2. Pandey KavitaR, Naik SureshR, Vakil BabuV. Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics- a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2015;52(12):7577-7587. doi:10.1007/s13197-015-1921-1
3. Wegh, Geerlings, Knol, Roeselers, Belzer. Postbiotics and Their Potential Applications in Early Life Nutrition and Beyond. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2019;20(19):4673. doi:10.3390/ijms20194673
4. Raman R. What Are Postbiotics? Types, Benefits, and Downsides. Healthline. Published May 19, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/postbiotics