Post biotics, are you kidding me?

Post biotics, are you kidding me?

This newsletter attempts to update its readers on the hot areas in medical research.  If you have read even a few of these newsletters you will know the frequency of articles on the human microbiome and immune health. 

Much research is being done on the complex physiology of the microbiome.  In keeping with that theme is research on promoting a healthy microbiome.  To date most of this research has been on probiotics either natural as in yogurt or kefir or as supplement containing active strains of healthy bacteria and yeast.  

Then research segued to prebiotics.  Prebiotics can be provided through healthy foods, primarily fruits and vegetables, or also though a supplement. In both cases support is provided to “nourish and flourish” the healthy gut microbes. 

Now enter post biotics.  These are available only as a supplement.  They contain dead bacteria and useful products excreted by live microbes.  One might ask “what good is a dead albeit good bacteria much less the things they excrete”?  As it turns out they are quite useful.  First of all, they don’t run the very slight risk that probiotics have in immune compromised individuals of “running amuck”.  Secondly, some of the key benefits of the bacteria come from their protein structure, and the enzymes, vitamins, polysaccharides and short chain fatty acids they secrete.  All of these moities play a favorable role in digesting food properly, reducing inflammation, and in proper signaling via nerve transmitters and nerve fibers.  One example is the short chain fatty acid butyrate.    It is a multi-tasker: reduces chance of food allergy development and strengthens the gut wall thereby reducing the inflammation that can contribute to obesity and to inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease.  In fact, butyrate enemas have been used with success in patients with difficult to control ulcerative colitis. 

A second example is the bacteria metabolite urolithin A (UA) which maintains mitochondrial function.  Mitochondria are the “batteries” that power all of our cells, to the degree that if they

underperform or decline in number, we have less energy and we age more quickly. 

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