The 4Ps of Biotics Explained24 Feb 2022, Posted by FYS News in
There are a few new kids on the block in the -biotics field, except, they aren’t really new. We just have a clearer understanding and appreciation of what they have always been doing.
First a quick revision of the old favourites
Probiotics: the “friendly” bacteria and other microbes that live within our intestines and have benefits to your health. Foods and drinks can contain probiotics (i.e. fermented foods and drinks) or we can take them in supplement forms.
Prebiotics: ingredients in our food that feed the probiotics. These include all the different types of fibres, resistant starch, certain fats and the polyphenols we find in plant-based foods.
My brain food pyramid is designed to include plenty of these because we know the importance of the gut microbiome in supporting a healthy brain in longevity.
Some newish words are circulating when it comes to the -biotics that help our gut: Postbiotics and Parabiotics.
The two are often linked together but they have slightly different meanings:
Postbiotics describe things that your probiotics (healthy bacteria) produce having eaten the right prebiotics. An example would be the short-chain fatty acid butyrate. Butyrate is produced in our guts and has a wealth of positive health benefits including supporting BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which has been described as a fertiliser for your brain cells and something we want to support and sustain for longevity.
Paraprobiotics are the inactivated microbial cells (non-viable) that confer a health benefit when we consume them. For example, take fermented black garlic or miso paste; we understand that both have “live” probiotics in them, but the old understanding was that if we heated them the “live” part was destroyed, but with the newer understanding we see that those foods still confer heaps of benefits in terms of supporting the immune system, anti-inflammation and antioxidant pathways.
As another example: When I talk about fermented foods, a lot of people ask me whether sourdough bread “counts” as a fermented food. I have always said no on the basis that the baking would destroy the fermentation starter but with this newer appreciation of paraprobiotics we can see that the remains of the deactivated bacterial and fungal cells in the starter will still themselves give us health benefits.
This is a total reinforcement of some key principles from my Food for Thought approach:
- – Supports the food-first approach before turning to supplements. There are synergistic factors in our foods that we probably don’t know about yet but that help that food have its positive effect. When we strip those out and create supplements from the known “active” bits we are missing out on all the other good stuff.
- – Diversity in our diet is a sustainable way to support diversity in our microbiome
- – Adapt your current diet with nudges in the right direction, rather than following a totally new (and often restricted) diet, on the basis that there are many soon-to-be-discovered benefits to our foods
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are your favourite probiotic and prebiotic foods?
Have you heard the term postbiotic or parabiotic foods? If you have any examples to share or questions to ask, let me know. Answering questions is a fantastic way for me to share more information with you. We do it all the time in my Food for Thought community.
In health and happiness
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.