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Gut Health: Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Postbiotics Explained

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Sept 22, 2023



 

NOTE: This post is not to be substituted as treatment - please make sure to seek medical attention or talk with a provider. This post may contain affiliate links, from which I may receive commission if you purchase products through the provided links.


So picture this: you're on your wellness journey to have the best gut health that you have ever had. You hear about how good probiotics are, and you're getting more probiotic-rich foods. You go to the store to buy a probiotic supplement and you come across the following: prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics....


Now you might be wondering at that point... What the heck is the difference amongst the three?


Here's a simple guide, from a naturopathic doctor specializing in gut health, to explain what they mean, how they contribute to our digestive system, and bonus - my favorite product(s) for each!


Natural medicine with ginger, garlic, vanilla bean and more spices

1. Prebiotics: Food for our Good Gut Bacteria

Imagine your gut is a garden. The plants in the garden are our good gut bacteria. And what do we need to give the plants to grow and flourish? The fertilizer. Prebiotics are like the fertilizer - they are essentially dietary fiber that your body can't digest, but are necessary for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. I always use this analogy to my patients whenever I talk about prebiotics: "it's like fish food but for your good gut bacteria!"


Whole Foods with Prebiotics:

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and artichokes.

  • Whole Grains: Oats, whole wheat, and barley.

  • Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, and beans.

Other Products with Prebiotics:

  • Prebiotic Supplement: Sometimes we need a supplement to make up for the food source we didn't get in the day. Though I'm a huge promoter of food as medicine, I myself will also take a supplement when I didn't eat well or a lot of prebiotic-rich foods that day. My favorite prebiotic supplement is MegaPre Precision Prebiotic powder by Microbiome Labs - it has a great pineapple orange guava flavor that blends well into water and juice.

MegaPre precision prebiotics powder
(image by Microbiome Labs)
  • Prebiotic Soda Alternatives: these are prebiotic-rich beverages that have similar flavors as our classic sodas that we love, but without the added sugar, chemicals and fillers! My two favorite brands are Poppi & OLIPOP.

olipop vintage cola can

Use "DRLISAJUNG" for 15% off your order at www.drinkolipop.com


2. Probiotics: The Gut's Good Bacteria

Probiotics are live microorganisms that live in our digestive tract. They are often mentioned to be "good" or "friendly" for us because they provide various health benefits! These bacteria help maintain a balanced gut microbiome - they stop the growth of harmful bacteria and support your digestive & immune health in whole.


Common Sources of Probiotics:

  • Yogurt: Look for yogurts with "live and active cultures" on the label.

  • Kefir: A fermented milk drink rich in probiotics.

  • Kimchi & Sauerkraut: Fermented vegetables packed with probiotics.

  • Kombucha: Fermented tea beverage that is full of probiotics.

  • Miso: Fermented soybean paste full of probiotics and so warming for your gut when mixed into soups!

Other Products of Probiotics:

  • Probiotic supplements: same concept here - sometimes we just need an extra boost through supplements! When it comes to probiotic supplements, there is SO many variety out there. Two of my favorite products are Ther-biotic Complete by Klaire Labs and Ortho Biotic by Ortho Molecular Products.


Ther-biotic Complete by Klaire Labs

Ortho Biotic by Ortho Molecular Products


3. Postbiotics: Aftermath of Probiotics Activity

Postbiotics are the byproducts after being metabolized & produced by the probiotics during the fermentation process. In essence, they are what probiotics create after they digest the prebiotics. Postbiotics can include different compounds like organic acids, peptides, and vitamins, which all can have a positive impact on your gut health.


Examples of Postbiotics:

  • Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs): Acetate, propionate, and butyrate are SCFAs that provide numerous health benefits.

  • Peptides: These are small protein fragments that can have bioactive actions in our body.

  • B vitamins: Produced by certain probiotics during fermentation.


Bonus - Is There a Product that Combines All Three?

One of my favorite things in life is efficiency. And while it might not be the most applicable in all situations, there is one favorite product of mine when it comes to combining all three prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics!


Complete Gut Health by Beekeeper's Naturals is by far the only product in the market that has combined all 3 into one single product. You can get this amazing gem on their website www.beekeepersnaturals.com (Use code "DRJUNG20" for 20% off), Fullscript or Amazon.

(Disclaimer - Dr. Jung does serve as a medical advisor to Beekeeper's Naturals.)

Complete Gut Health by Beekeeper's Naturals


To Summarize:

  • Prebiotics: dietary fiber that feeds the good gut bacteria.

  • Probiotics: the good & live bacteria that support your digestive system and health.

  • Postbiotics: the good compounds created by probiotics during the fermentation of prebiotics.

Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant dietary changes, especially if you have specific health concerns.


And as always, if you ever need a naturopathic doctor on your team for your best health EVER, schedule a visit with Dr. Jung!



Happy journey to the best gut health ever!


 

DISCLAIMER:

THIS POST DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT. THE CONTENTS OF THIS POST ARE FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE CONTENT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH PROVIDER WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING A MEDICAL CONDITION. ALWAYS SPEAK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE TAKING ANY MEDICATION OR NUTRITIONAL/HERBAL/HOMEOPATHIC SUPPLEMENT, OR ADOPTING ANY TREATMENT FOR A HEALTH PROBLEM. INFORMATION AND STATEMENTS REGARDING DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AVAILABLE ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING IT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON THIS POST.

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