Prebiotics, Probiotics and Postbiotics
A simple guide to the new world of friendly bacteria
Probiotics are everywhere, in every sense! It’s been known for a while that millions of friendly bacteria within your own body have a remarkable impact on health and over recent years the message has exploded all over the health and wellness community. The term is also been thrown around in connection with skin and body care, and you’ll often see the word “probiotic” used for shampoos, conditioners ever moisturizers and toners. This is why the FDA is looking at how the language is used and whether health claims are founded. Did you know that 90% of cosmetic products that have “probiotic” labels actually contain postbiotics, but are marketed “probiotic”? Right now the language isn’t legally protected or enforced so let’s break things down and look at the actual differences between prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic.
Prebiotics are compounds in food that induce the growth or activity of microorganisms beneficial to your body. In everyday terms, they are best described as fertilizer. They are most common in food with lots of fiber such as chicory root, asparagus, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke and even raw leek and garlic. Usually, prebiotics are extracted into a flavorless compound which you can mix into other “normal” food, even your morning coffee. They can also be exceptionally beneficial applied topically onto your skin where they “feed” the friendly bacteria that live there. Your skin is a barrier supported by fatty acids and your skin bacteria which creates a shield against the outside world. Application of prebiotics will help this barrier stay healthy, preventing unwanted dryness or spots.
Chances are probiotics will be what you’ve heard of or read about most. These are the living organisms that you can consume to promote health in your gut. Probiotics can help prevent gastrointestinal discomfort, improve the immune system, relieve constipation, or perhaps even help to avoid the common cold. Since probiotics are “live” bacteria they are very difficult to apply to your skin. Instead, science uses products extracted from terminated bacteria called lysates and ferments. There is a growing body of knowledge that these topical probiotics can help with conditions like acne, inflammation sensitive and dry skin.
PostbioticsThese are the newest kid on the block. Postbiotics are byproducts made when prebiotics and probiotics combine to work together, like enzymes, organic acids, polysaccharides and peptides. In the gut, you can only get these by ensuring a rich environment of probiotic and probiotics. On the skin, postbiotics can be used to improve the overall health of your natural barrier. The vast majority of probiotic products are actually postbiotics- inert products that are beneficial but do not have the same effect are real probiotics. The Skout’s Honor range of pet probiotic grooming and cleaning products focusses on giving your pet giving you gentle yet powerful nourishment and works hand in hand with nature.
- Doug Swarts