Definition of postbiotics: what does it change in the world of biotics?

Before getting to the core of the matter, let us briefly review what “biotics” are. Biotics are all the solutions that exist to take care of your microbiota and in particular your intestinal microbiota. Until now, you probably knew about prebiotics and probiotics, which have received a lot of attention in recent years. But did you know about postbiotics? The recent publication of the official definition of this category of biotics by the ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics) brings novelty to the world of biotics and could completely reshuffle the cards. By reading this article, you are entering the small circle of people who knows about the direction that the world of biotics is taking.

What you need to understand about the definition of postbiotics

Let’s take a look at the definition of postbiotics

Very recently, postbiotics were defined as “A preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host“¹ by the ISAPP. To be really precise, postbiotics can be intact inanimate microorganismsand/or fragments or structures of inactivated microorganisms with or without compounds from culture medium or produced by microorganisms, which are called metabolites. Didn’t you get it all? It does not really matter, what you need to remember is that postbiotics are about non-living microorganisms providing health benefits.

It is interesting to note that in this definition of postbiotics, viruses, vaccines, purifiedcomponents andproducts (proteins, fatty acids), filtrates without cell components, chemical synthetized compounds, and purifiedmicrobial metabolites are excluded.

Is it new? You may ask. Well, not exactly, scientists have known for decades that non-living microorganisms can promote or maintain health. The novelty lies solely in the formalization of the definition.

What are postbiotics used for?

All biotics have the same global purpose: to have a positive impact on health. 4 main health benefits can be attributed to postbiotics:

  • A protective role on the gut barrier against external elements that could be harmful.
  • A positive impact on the microbiota.
  • The activation of the immune system.
  • Positive effects on metabolism: the mechanisms that allow our body to work properly.

For instance, their effects have been studied to help reduce the duration of diarrhea or even the symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

The new definition of postbiotics lay the foundations for a new way of taking care of your health

The fact that postbiotics contain inanimate microorganisms frees you from many of the constraints associated with the living nature of probiotics.

Convenience of use

First, postbiotics are highly stable. Unlike probiotics, postbiotics are sensitive neither to heat nor oxygen. As a result, postbiotics are easy to store and manipulate since they do not have to be kept in a cool place. This characteristic opens the door to the possibility of giving access to biotics in regions of the world where maintaining the cold chain is still an issue.

Safety and reliable

Moreover, postbiotics are not expected to pass into the bloodstream through the intestinal barrier. Also, they cannot cause antibiotic resistance. To sum up, their inanimate nature makes them a particularly safe and reliable solution. That is why they are safe for both adults and children!

This solution, which combines efficiency, safety, and convenience, paves the way for a lot of opportunities. Whether it be new types of functional foods and drinks, food supplements or drugs… The field of possibilities is wide. An official definition was the only missing piece for the different actors to start working on new solutions. The world of biotics is not ready to stop evolving, stay tuned!