Prebiotic vs. Probiotic vs. Postbiotic: What’s the Difference?
Digestion isn’t just the foods you eat. Your gut microbiome is not just an important part of your digestion, it’s the most important part of your digestion.
A balanced, healthy diet is definitely important to maintaining a thriving gut microbiome, but a little extra help can go a long way. You can give your gut microbiome an extra powerful boost by taking a probiotic supplement. These supplements can help provide your gut with lots of friendly bacteria.
Having enough good gut bacteria is vital for your overall health— they can help keep you regular,help your skin glow, and keep the bad bacteria that can make you sick at bay.
But when you finally go to get your supplements, you may notice a few other kinds on the shelf— like prebiotics and postbiotics. Are they the same? What do those even mean?!
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about probiotics— and also prebiotics and postbiotics! Each of them are great for your digestive health and are important for maintaining your gut flora. They sound very similar, but make no mistake Beauties, they are not the same thing!
When it comes to prebiotic vs probiotic vs postbiotic, the differences are vital when it comes to making the best decisions for your health. I’ll show you why, so you can confidently tap into all those beautiful benefits that you may be missing out on. 🙂
What are Probiotics?
Out of the three, you’ve probably heard the most about probiotics— especially if you’ve been part of theSolluna Circle for a while!
Probiotics are the “good bacteria” in your body that promote a healthy digestive system, boost your immune system, and provide other health benefits. When these good gut bacteria flourish, your whole body feels it! A healthy number of good bacteria also help to keep harmful bacteria that can make you sick to a minimum.
There are seven core types of bacteria strains that are used in probiotic supplements. They are:
Each of these strains plays a specific role in keeping your gut microbiome diverse, balanced and flourishing.
Experts are still researching the true diversity and function of your gut microbiome, but it’s hard to overstate just how important it is for your overall health. Your gut is considered to be your second brain, so keeping it healthy is an absolute must!
Where Do I Get Probiotics From?
Your body cannot produce probiotics on its own. Of course, you can buy probiotic supplements at the supermarket or from your local health food store. Be careful what you buy though, Beauty. Many kinds of probiotics need to be refrigerated because staying at room temperature will kill the good bacteria that are supposed to keep you healthy! And if they can’t survive at room temperature in a normal environment, how are they supposed to survive in a “hostile” environment like your gut? (Hint: They won’t).
Remember— your stomach and digestive tract are very acidic environments designed to help you process your food and kill any microorganisms your body doesn’t need. So it’s important to buy a supplement with the hardiest probiotic strains. We’ll talk about this a little more later. 🙂
You can also get a lot of probiotics in your diet. The best way to do this is by eating fermented foods. Some of these include:
Probiotic food isn’t just a great source of healthy bacteria— it’s also a great source of fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals to keep you strong and vibrant.
What Are Prebiotics?
There’s a big difference between probiotics and prebiotics. Prebiotics aren’t healthy bacteria like probiotics are. They’re actually food for the gut bacteria working hard to keep you healthy. Some potential benefits of prebiotics include:
Supports the growth of beneficial bacteria and a healthy gut microbiome
Improved absorption of calcium
Helps your body process carbohydrates
As weird as it sounds, your body hosts thousands of organisms that help you operate, and it’s important to keep them healthy and nourished! There are plenty of dietary sources of prebiotics too. Prebiotic foods are packed with a special type of fiber that supports your digestion and feeds your healthy gut bacteria.
Foods high in dietary fiber— like fruits, vegetables and (preferably gluten-free) whole grains— are rich in prebiotics. Some of these foods may contain those friendly bacteria your get from probiotics as well!
A few examples of prebiotic foods include:
Do you Need a Prebiotic Supplement?
Some probiotic supplements already contain a prebiotic. So if you’re taking the right probiotic supplement, you’re already getting your prebiotics too. But just like with probiotics, a supplement shouldn’t be your primary source of prebiotics.
Remember— a diet rich in dietary fiber, whole grains, and fresh produce can help provide your gut bacteria with all the food they need to keep you going!
What are Postbiotics?
So far we’ve learned about probiotics and prebiotics, leaving us only with postbiotics! Postbiotics may sound similar, but they are actually a different entity altogether.
Postbiotics can be inanimate— not alive— bacteria, part of another microbe, or a byproduct of these bacteria. So postbiotics are the compounds that the good bacteria in probiotics produce after consuming prebiotics.
So basically probiotics eat prebiotics to produce postbiotics.
And even though many postbiotics are technically waste produced by probiotics, they also have their own health benefits for your gut health. Experts are researching the specific benefits that postbiotics provide, but a few of these benefits may include:
Postbiotics, like the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, can help boost your immunity by producing T-cells.
They may help reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
They can help treat or prevent diarrhea.
Postbiotics may be an effective alternative to probiotics if you have a hard time tolerating the former. Note— I would consider sticking with a good probiotic supplement though if your stomach can handle them.
Postbiotics may also help you control your seasonal allergy symptoms and help you maintain a healthy weight. However, more research is needed to be certain.
There are multiple kinds of postbiotics, which include:
Short-chain fatty acids— which are created when dietary fiber ferments in your digestive tract. These short-chain fatty acids have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even anti-cancer properties!
Vitamins and amino acids.
Lipopolysaccharides— which help promote immunity and protects your cells from toxins.
Exopolysaccharides— which help bacteria cope with harsh environments like your gut.
Shilajit— this powerful prebiotic that’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Shilajit is also part of the prebiotic complex I use in my own feel good SBO probiotics+ formula. It contains a combination of 85 different minerals and high concentrations of fulvic and humic acids.
Do I Need a Postbiotic Supplement?
Like with prebiotics, postbiotics are also included in a lot of probiotic supplements. So if you’re taking a healthy, balanced probiotic supplement then you should be getting all three in every dosage.
As long as all those wonderful gut bacteria are nourished and well-fed, they should produce plenty of probiotics on their own.
Why You Need a Good Probiotic Supplement
A good probiotic supplement can help you stay healthy, both inside and outside. I highly recommend taking a prebiotic supplement! Especially one that contains a prebiotic, a probiotic and a postbiotic. This way, you are getting everything you need all in one supplement!
SBOs are the live bacteria that come from the soil, rather than animal sources. They’re hardier than other strains of bacteria and don’t need to be refrigerated like other supplements do. That’s because the tough outer shell SBOs have protects them from hostile environments like your gut, so they can survive longer and get where they need to go to! When more bacteria survive the journey to your gut, you can reap all the benefits of those wonderful postbiotics too.
These hardy bacteria are what make up myFeel Good SBO Probiotics+ formula. I took the most clinically-researched, effective SBO strains that interact best with the strains already present in your body. This special formula also contains prebiotics and postbiotics to help those good bacteria flourish. And when they flourish, you flourish. 🙂
The soil that grows healthy produce also nourishes the perfect mix of bacteria that keeps our systems diverse and running efficiently. And let’s face it, nowadays our gut microbiomes just aren’t as diverse as they used to be. Our ancestors used to eat the fruits of the earth fresh with the ground— complete with a healthy layer of soil. Nowadays we thoroughly wash our produce before we eat it, which strips it not only of that layer of earth, taking those healthy microorganisms with it!
"I love these SBO probiotics! I've tried so many different kinds and these are truly the best! They keep my gut healthy and happy."
Supplements are great for giving your health an extra boost. But like the name implies, a supplement is only meant to add to— or supplement— a healthy lifestyle, not to create one.
In order to promote healthy digestion, you first need to embrace healthy eating. You’ll want to eat plenty of wholesome plant foods, like:
Whole grains— particularly ones that are gluten-free like quinoa, brown rice and teff.
Fresh fruit and veggies.
Healthy fats like coconut oil, and those from avocados, nuts and seeds.
Prebiotics, Probiotics & Postbiotics: A Powerful Trio
Probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics are still a hot topic in the health world— and there’s still a lot we don’t know about them! But I think it’s safe to say that these tiny powerhouses are a vital part of keeping you healthy both inside and out.
But with so many supplements out there, it’s important to pick the right one. Now that you know the difference between pre, pro and postbiotics it’ll be so much easier to choose the best supplement for you, Beauty.
In love and health,
Quigley, Eamonn M M. “Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease.” Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Millennium Medical Publishing, Sept. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3983973/.
Bertani, Blake, and Natividad Ruiz. “Function and Biogenesis of Lipopolysaccharides.” EcoSal Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6091223/.