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Postbiotics: An Evolving Concept in Nutritional Science

Updated: Jan 20

Seeking Clarity on Postbiotics:

Evolving Definition: The term 'postbiotic' has been evolving as research progresses. Initially, postbiotics were understood as factors produced by probiotic activity. This definition has expanded to include a broader range of components, leading to various interpretations and debates among scientists.

Current Understanding: According to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), a postbiotic is a preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host. This definition emphasizes the inclusion of inactivated microbial cells or cell components, with or without metabolites, contributing to observed health benefits.

Debate Over Definition: There is ongoing discussion in the scientific community about the precise definition of postbiotics. Some scientists have differing views on aspects like stability claims, efficacy markers, and the use of the term “inanimate”. Despite these debates, the ISAPP panel maintains its stance on the definition.

Postbiotics can give hosts health benefits

Health Benefits and Mechanisms: By definition, a postbiotic must confer a health benefit. These benefits arise through various mechanisms like modulation of the microbiota, enhancement of epithelial barrier functions, and modulation of immune and metabolic responses.

Potential Advantages: Postbiotics, being more stable than live microorganisms, offer practical advantages in terms of storage and shipping. They are also likely to be safer, particularly for individuals where live microorganisms might not be tolerated.

Applications in Health: Postbiotics have potential applications across a range of clinical indications, including as novel antimicrobials, anti-inflammatory agents, and immune modulators. They are also being explored for their role in enhancing vaccination efficacy and modulating immune responses.

Research and Future Prospects: The field of postbiotics is dynamic, with ongoing research aimed at understanding their full potential and applications in health and wellness.

Incorporating this information provides a comprehensive view of the current understanding and ongoing discussions about postbiotics, their benefits, and their potential applications in health and nutrition.

For a more detailed read on the evolving understanding of postbiotics, you can refer to the IPA’s article on postbiotics.

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