The gut contains million of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic living things that are referred to as microbes. Located in an area of the large intestine known as the cecum, many of these microbes are beneficial to the overall health of the body, hence why they are commonly referred to as friendly bacteria.
Prebiotics and probiotics are the most well known of these friendly bacteria, but have you heard of postbiotics? Although only recently discovered, they are quickly gaining attention due to their growing number of health benefits. The following are five things to know about postbiotics, including what they are, what they can do for the body, and where to find them.
Postbiotics are compounds that are produced during the fermentation process of probiotic bacteria. According to Dr. Axe, “When probiotics feed on certain types of fiber molecules in order to thrive, they leave behind ‘waste products’ that are collectively called postbiotics.”
There are several different types of postbiotics, including lipopolysaccharide, muramyl dipeptide, indole (derived from tryptophan), teichoic acid, lactocepin, and p40 molecule. Short-chain fatty acids—such as acetate, butyrate and propionate—are presently the most researched postbiotics, which the source says “provide a major energy source for the colon and play a role in intestinal growth and differentiation,” in addition to impacting a variety of metabolic processes.