What You Should Know About Postbiotics

Our gut health appears to be having a moment in the spotlight these days. The hugely popular intermittent fasting diet is centered around letting our guts have a "rest." Natural Insider Foods reports the sales of good gut health foods like kimchi, kefir, and yogurt are soaring in sales. All signs appear to show that it may be time we reconsidered how healthy our gut actually is. And before we figure this out, it would be helpful to learn a key equation to understanding good gut health.

Most of us have heard about prebiotics and probiotics. Healthline tells us that probiotics are the healthy bacteria the gut flora in our stomach needs to help protect our immune system, address obesity, and improve signs of depression. Prebiotics are special types of fiber that our digestive systems cannot digest, but the healthy bacteria in our gut can. So essentially, prebiotics are food for probiotics. And if the prebiotics and probiotics are added together in an equation, the answer to the right of the equals sign is postbiotics.

Postbiotics are a helpful waste

Gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., author of the upcoming book, Fiber Fueled explains to Well+Good the importance of postbiotics. "When you take prebiotics or probiotics, people don't realize that at the end of the day, the hope is to get some postbiotics. The entire point is about postbiotics," he says.

Another way to refer to postbiotics is gut waste. According to Refinery 29, the waste that is left behind from the probiotics feasting on prebiotics is what postbiotics are. These leftovers are made up of organic acids that have been shown to aid in lowering the body's blood sugar and reducing inflammation. "What this means is that when you feed the good bacteria that live in your colon, that bacteria will turn around and reward you with a gift. And that gift is postbiotics," Bulsiewicz says.

Don't feel bad if you have yet to hear of this newer "biotic." The postbiotic discovery is new and research on all the ways it can impact the body is far from concluded. You also won't be able to find postbiotics in pill form or in the foods you eat, as they are a result of prebiotics and probiotics combining together in the gut.

More research may need to be done, but what we do know is that the popularity of finding out how to achieve good gut health is here to stay. So look out for new equations involving postbiotics in the future.