(BPT) - Many of us are looking for ways to be more proactive about our health. One way to accomplish that is by adopting more healthy habits to support our immune systems.
“In addition to adequate sleep, exercise, eating a balanced diet and managing stress, it’s also important to support gut health,” said Keri Gans, a registered dietitian, certified yoga teacher and author of “The Small Change Diet.”
“Most people don’t realize how gut health influences the immune system,” Gans said. “It may seem like these two things are two unrelated functions in the body. But it just so happens that a majority of our immune cells originate from the gut.”
She said that a daily routine that maintains healthy gut microbiomes is an important way to support your natural defenses. And one way to do that is through focusing on postbiotics.
Postbiotics: A simpler route to support immune function
Many health-minded people are already familiar with probiotics and prebiotics, which have been touted for their contributions to a healthy gut microbiome that supports the immune system. But when you understand how these interact with your gut, a third and simpler option emerges: postbiotics. It's the "biotic" you may not yet have heard about.
Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that can be added to your diet from taking supplements or functional foods with added probiotics like yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. Prebiotics provide the bacteria the “food” that is needed to kick off a fermentation process. That fermentation process creates beneficial metabolites which are part of the foundation for a healthy gut microbiome.
Beneficial metabolites can also be created outside of your gut through fermentation using yeast or bacteria. These metabolites are called postbiotics. Fermented outside the body, postbiotics are beneficial because they deliver those good metabolites without the bloating or gas that fermentation can sometimes cause within the gut. While you can get postbiotics by eating fermented foods, to be sure that you are getting the right composition of metabolites shown to have immune and gut health benefits, it’s best to look for postbiotics that are backed by clinical research.
Now that you know the relationship between probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics, the following are the core benefits of integrating postbiotics into your diet to support immune function.
1) A simpler solution: If you’ve been taking the traditional probiotic-prebiotic approach to getting your gut into 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 through diet. Postbiotic supplements can provide a simpler way 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.
2) Proactive immune support: EpiCor® postbiotic is clinically shown to support the immune system and gut health. And it’s not just something you specifically take on those times when you feel like your natural defenses need a helping hand. Rather, think of postbiotics as providing proactive maintenance for your immune system 365 days of the year.
3) Easy to access: Consuming fermented foods can help add postbiotics to your diet. Examples include kombucha, yogurt, certain cheeses and bread. The good news is some of your favorites can bring reinforcements to your gut. However, the challenge is knowing whether diet alone can provide the adequate support that you’re looking for. Taking these foods into consideration, supplements that contain postbiotics can be a simpler route for daily immune support.
“I’ve always said that making small changes to your daily habits can make a huge impact on your health and well-being,” Gans said. “Adding more fermented foods to your diet, taking a daily supplement that contains postbiotics, is a simple but effective way to get year-round support.”
When looking for supplements that contain postbiotics, look for EpiCor® postbiotic on the label. This is a whole food ingredient meaning nothing is extracted or purified; it acts like a multivitamin for your immune system. Clinical studies indicate EpiCor® postbiotic helps positively modulate the gut microbiome and may also help support nasal comfort year around.