Over the past few years, gut health has become a mainstay of wellness conversations, with everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to your mom talking about “good” bacteria. (Admit it, you’ve gotten into at least one heated debate about kimchi brands.) We know all about probiotics (live bacteria found in certain foods and supplements) and prebiotics (types of dietary fiber that feed the friendly bacteria and start the fermentation process), but what about postbiotics? Turns out, when you understand how probiotics and prebiotics interact within your gut, a third and simpler option emerges. It’s the "biotic" you may not have heard of…until now. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Are Postbiotics?

Technically speaking, they’re beneficial metabolites that are created during the fermentation process carried out by microorganisms like probiotics or yeast. “The best way to think about it is that the prebiotics are the fuel for the probiotics, who are the workers in our gut. The end result of all the hard work done by the probiotics are the postbiotics. In other words, the postbiotics are the goods created,” says Keri Gans, registered dietitian, certified yoga teacher and author of The Small Change Diet. Metabolites can be created in the gut, however, when they are created outside the body they are called postbiotics. The latter are beneficial because they deliver those good metabolites without the bloating or gas that fermentation can sometimes cause within the gut.

I’m Already Taking Probiotics. Why Do I Need Postbiotics?

If you’ve been taking the traditional prebiotic-probiotic approach to getting your gut in balance, it can be something of a guessing game to ensure you’re consuming the necessary amounts of soluble fiber (prebiotics) and foods, beverages or supplements with added probiotics to produce enough postbiotics. Postbiotic supplements with dedicated science like EpiCor®, on the other hand, provide insurance that you’re getting all the benefits to support your gut and immune system. Not only that, but unlike probiotic supplements, postbiotic supplements contain no live cultures, so they’re more stable and have a longer shelf life. Long story short: A healthy and varied diet, plus postbiotics supplements equals a happy gut microbiome.

So, How Can I Take Postbiotics?

Postbiotics can be found naturally in fermented goods such as, kimchi, miso and kefir. However, it’s not always easy to fit these fermented foods into your everyday diet. Therefore, a supplement that includes EpiCor®, an ingredient made from fermenting plant materials, makes it easier to get the benefits of postbiotics without having to eat all that sauerkraut. “EpiCor acts like a multivitamin for your immune system,” says Gans. “Scientific research shows that postbiotic EpiCor, may help maintain a healthy immune system, support a healthy digestive system and help balance the microbiota in our gut.” To access this support, it’s important you incorporate postbiotics into your routine 365 days of the year—not just when you feel like your natural defenses need a helping hand. EpiCor can be found in several well-known supplement brands including Country Life and Healthy Origins. To find other trusted brands powered by EpiCor, go to epicorhealth.com.

Here’s to better gut reactions in 2021.

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