We know about prebiotics and probiotics, but how can postbiotics help with your performance and general gut health? HIGH5 have recently released their Isotonic Hydration which contains added postbiotics so we asked their nutrition experts to explain.
What are postbiotics?
Postbiotics are bioactive compounds called gut microflora, which are created when the healthy (or friendly) bacteria in your gut, known as probiotics, feeds on the prebiotics in your body. Postbiotics are actually the waste product of probiotic bacteria after it has fed on the prebiotics.
How are postbiotics different to prebiotics and probiotics?
- Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that live inside your gut, they come from certain foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut and some cheeses.
- Prebiotics are the food for probiotics. Prebiotics comes from rich in fibre food like beans, grains or certain veggies and once broken down become something that helps the probiotics grow and thrive in your gut.
- Postbiotics are then what comes from the probiotics feeding of the prebiotics.
What are the benefits of postbiotics?
While postbiotics aren’t as common as prebiotics and probiotics there are studies that have found them to have the following benefits:
- Helps to boost your immune system*
- Helps to reduce digestive discomfort**
- Helps to relieve diarrhoea symptoms***
Postbiotics also include nutrients such as vitamins B and K and amino acids. And, while probiotics take some time to cultivate in the gut before the benefits take effect, postbiotics have already grown to maturity and therefore the benefits are immediate and temporary, making them more suitable to products used during exercise.
Why combine postbiotics with sports nutrition?
Those doing a lot of exercise can report gastro intestinal issues. It is thought that stomach discomfort during exercise can be caused by a number of reasons, such as blood flow being redirected away from the gut and to the working muscles, pre-race anxiety, the up and down movement of running or your body’s posture on the bike.
Some people also find that some sports nutrition can cause them issues. While sports nutrition is a convenient way to give your body what it needs, it can be a concentrated source of nutrients like carbs, which your body may not be used to. On the other side of the coin, there are ingredients in some sports nutrition that can aid digestion. For example, Isotonic Hydration contains postbiotics and calcium to support digestion.
If you're new to training it's normally best to build up your nutrition intake slowly and make it a part of your training to find what works best for you. Get it right and we’re sure you will see your performance soar.
Where do you get postbiotics from?
Because postbiotics are the by-product of probiotics, you can get them through probiotic-rich food so food that has been fermented by live bacteria like yoghurt, sauerkraut or kefir.
Otherwise, you can take postbiotics as a supplement. In food ingredients lists, look out for postbiotics under their scientific name - for example ‘Gut Heat-Treated Microflora’.
For before and after exercise, HIGH5's Isotonic Hydration contains added postbiotics in addition to the usual carbohydrates and electrolytes you would find in a sports drink to keep your energy and hydration topped up and keep your gut happy.