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Postbiotics: Everything you need to know

Have you heard of postbiotics? They have similar sounding friends - prebiotics and probiotics - and postbiotics are an exciting new addition to the microflora family. So much so, we've added them to our new product Isotonic Hydration. Designed to refresh your workout, Isotonic Hydration is a scientifically formulated hydration drink mix which has been optimised to keep you energised and hydrated during exercise. It contains a fast-release multi-carbohydrate blend and five electrolytes, which are essential to replenish as they are lost through sweat. And, of course, it has added postbiotics. We're here to take you through what postbiotics are and give you the answers to the questions you want answered. Here we go! 

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 off 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:

1. Helps to boost your immune system

If you want to know more, here are some studies: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32717965/ | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20796295/ | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22947249/

2. Helps to reduce digestive discomfort

If you want to know more, here are some studies: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30277149/ | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16225487/ | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10795763/ | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8943981/ | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1612357/ | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9145448/

3. Helps to relieve diarrhoea symptoms

If you want to know more, here are some studies: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14964345/ | https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22179215/

Did you know 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 for products used during exercise.

Why combine postbiotics with sports nutrition?

Sometimes, those doing a lot of exercise, can report gastro intestinal issues. It is thought that stomach discomfort during exercise can be caused for several 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.

So, what do we recommend if you're taking sports nutrition for the first time and worried about stomach discomfort? 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. We have a number of nutrition guides to help you on your way.

Where do you get postbiotics from?

Ok, so you want to get some postbiotics into your body, how do you do it?! Well, you can get a postbiotic supplement or in the case of Isotonic Hydration, your sports nutrition may contain added postbiotics. Just be aware that postbiotics won’t appear as ‘postbiotics’ on the ingredients lists, their scientific name will be used, for example ‘Gut Heat-Treated Microflora’.

Because postbiotics are the by-product of probiotics, you can also get them through probiotic-rich food so food that has been fermented by live bacteria like yoghurt, sauerkraut or kefir.

The Bottom Line

  • Postbiotics are made when the probiotics in your gut feeds on the prebiotics that comes from fibre-rich food
  • Postbiotics are suggested to have a few benefits including help to boost the immune system, reducing digestive symptoms and preventing and treating diarrhoea
  • Some sports nutrition products like Isotonic Hydration contain postbiotics and calcium to support digestion
  • Food that’s been fermented by live bacteria like yoghurt or kefir are also a source of postbiotics.

 

Isotonic Hydration is designed to be taken BEFORE and DURING exercise. Consume as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions enhance the absorption of water during physical exercise and contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance exercise. Calcium contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes.

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