There’s growing consumer awareness of probiotics and prebiotics, with the terms listed on labels of many foods and supplements and now many countries are increasingly using them for regulation purposes. But the non-viable microorganisms and the metabolites that they produce are still unfamiliar territory for most.
While there’s no official definition just yet, “Postbiotics are functional fermentation compounds -- or let's call the metabolites or waste products of probiotics -- that can be used in combination with other nutritional components to promote health,” explained Matthew Olesiak, MD, chief medical director at SANESolution.
SANESolution recently announced a new postbiotic gut health supplement called SANE Viscera-3, a formulation that the company claims can survive digestion and deliver optimal postbiotics directly into the gut.
“We call it Viscera-3 because by bonding 3 molecules of the postbiotic butyrate with one glycerol molecule, we prevent digestive destruction of the postbiotic and deliver the best gut and immune health results ever documented,” said Olesiak.
The formula contains CoreBiome tributyrin from supplier Compound Solutions, magnesium, grape seed extract, pomegranate extract and chromium.
Postbiotics vs probiotics
SANESolutions claims the product eliminates the need for probiotics and prebiotics.
“We were looking at the wrong side of the equation. Our Viscera-3 postbiotic actually does what people hoped probiotics and prebiotics would do. It seems like they're going to be rendered obsolete, probiotics don't actually colonize the gut permanently,” said Olesiak. “Traditionally we focused on probiotics and prebiotics because that's all we knew, and then the advent of postbiotics started taking shape.”
The growing attention on postbiotics is leading to more research for potential health benefits such as anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and antioxidant activities. Some studies suggest the metabolites support digestive and gastrointestinal health, improve brain function and offer immune support.
“It’s an entire laundry list,” laughed Olesiak.
Another advantage is postbiotics also may be a gut health alternative for critically ill patients, young children, and those who are immunocompromised and shouldn’t consume live, active cultures.
Health benefits aside, postbiotics are advantageous when it comes to transportation and storage. Because postbiotics are not live, they’re more stable and have a longer shelf life than live, active probiotics.
Since postbiotics don’t require strict production or storage conditions to keep them alive, they can be used in a wider variety of products and are ideal for developing countries that have inconsistent access to refrigeration.
While postbiotics may offer a new way to deliver gut health while meeting stability and label claims, experts agree more research is needed on the metabolites.