Healing Your Gut with Pre, Pro, and Postbiotics

Posted by Karalynne Call on

In the United States:
  • 10-15% of people struggle with IBS
  • 1 million people have ulcerative colitis
  • 2 million people have celiac disease
  • 23.5 million people struggle with autoimmune conditions
  • 73% of people report having gut issues.
  • 37 million people have diabetes (90-95% of them have Type 2)
  • 85% of people between the ages of 18-24 struggle with acne
  • 30% of the population experiences regular abdominal bloating
  • 6.1 million children have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD
  • 9.5% of adults will experience a depressive illness
  • 20 million Americans have food allergies
Every single one of these conditions is linked to gut health. While I won’t dive into the specifics of each connection in this blog post, my goal is to help you understand that caring for your gut is one of the first steps in treating a wide variety of conditions. Simply put, maintaining our gut health is essential to our overall well-being. In this post, I am going to share the basics of what the gut is, why gut health is important, and what we can do to support a healthy gut microbiome. Let’s get started!
What is the gut?

The gut is essentially our digestive system.

The gut includes: 

  • our mouth
  • esophagus
  • stomach
  • small intestine
  • large intestine

Each of these components plays a role in our overall gut health, but today, I want to focus on the small and large intestine and their role in gut health. They each play distinct yet interrelated roles within the body.

The small intestine is responsible for:

  • the absorption of nutrients from food including macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and water
  • secreting several hormones that regulate digestion and overall metabolism
  • housing immune cells to defend against pathogens and potentially harmful substances

The large intestine is responsible for: 

two drink mixes with a subway style background
  • reabsorbing water from undigested food residue
  • maintaining fluid balance
  • facilitating waste elimination from the body
  • housing beneficial gut bacteria that perform a wide variety of roles in the body

The foods we eat and their absorption influence every system in our body. As I have continued to learn about the importance of the gut in our overall health, I have come to understand the significance of the bacteria housed in our gut. These bacteria contribute to so many different functions in the body, including digestion, supporting the immune system, hormone synthesis, detoxification, vitamin synthesis, controlling inflammation, protecting the gut barrier, supporting mental health, supporting skin health, and much more.

Probiotics

The main microorganisms in the gut are called probiotics. There are over 100 trillion probiotics in the gut. They’re predominantly bacteria and some yeasts. These microorganisms are often referred to as "beneficial," "good" or "friendly" because of their many contributions to digestive health and overall well-being. You may have heard of the strains,

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Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These two are some of the most common, but keep in mind they are both broad categories that encompass numerous specific strains, each having its own unique benefits. 

I like to think of probiotics as a variety of plants. Trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers together make a complete and beautiful environment. Each plays a unique role in providing shade, bringing beauty, growing food, creating oxygen, and more. Just as plants each play a unique role in the environment, different strains of bacteria play various roles in the gut.

Prebiotics

sun and water graphic

In order for plants to thrive, they need sun, water, and soil. Like plants, probiotics need the right components to support their growth and progress. These are called prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that serve as food for probiotics and other beneficial gut bacteria.

Prebiotics are not living organisms themselves, but play a crucial role in supporting the growth of probiotics in the digestive system. That’s why it’s so important to take both a probiotic and a prebiotic - to replenish your probiotics and then nurture them.

Postbiotics

In our plant analogy, I like to think of postbiotics as fruit, leaves, pollen, oxygen, and flowers-- essentially the product of the plant. As probiotics feast on prebiotics, postbiotics are produced. Postbiotics are the byproducts of the fermentation process of probiotics and prebiotics . In my Probiotic Complex Drink, I included butyrate, a short chain fatty acid produced by postbiotics, specifically for its role in repairing the gut lining. Other roles postbiotics play in the body include:

graphic of berries and byproducts
  • producing short chain fatty acids
  • promoting the integrity of the intestinal lining (aka preventing leaky gut!)
  • producing peptides
  • producing organic acids
  • helping to regulate the immune system
  • helping reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the body
  • inhibiting the growth and activity of harmful pathogens in the gut which reduces the risk of infections
  • enhancing the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients
  • potentially regulating metabolic processes, supporting weight management, and improving metabolic health
  • improving insulin sensitivity and stabilizing blood sugar levels

Postbiotics are an emerging field of study. Although scientists recognize their effect in each of the areas listed above, they do not fully comprehend the entire scope of how postbiotics benefit the body. More is being learned each day about these powerful byproducts.

So how do we get these good bacteria?
Probiotics can be found in certain foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, but the standard Western diet generally lacks enough fermented foods to provide enough support to the gut. This is why I often recommend taking a probiotic supplement.

As I have continued to learn more about the gut, I now recognize that if we don’t have prebiotics present, the probiotics will die, making the probiotic supplement effectively useless if taken solo. I also now know that we can provide additional support to the gut by adding postbiotics to help repair the gut lining. I looked for a supplement that contained all three (and that I was willing to recommend) and couldn’t find one. That’s why I decided to make my own!

The new Just Ingredients Complex Probiotic Supplement Drink has added good bacteria, with the food to feed it, and added postbiotic benefits! We use butyrate in our formula, a powerful short chain fatty acid produced by postbiotics and known for its ability to repair the holes in our digestive tract, helping to heal leaky gut. This is one of the many reasons new Just Ingredients Probiotic Drink is so powerful.

bag of probiotic drink mix with lemon ginger text on a subway tile backgroundWe have a few more key ingredients to help make the gut-healing magic happen:


1. Inulin. Inulin is a naturally occurring source of prebiotic fiber. The inulin we use is derived from chicory root and agave leaf and stem. This fiber acts as food for the probiotics.

2. Probiotic Blend. Our blend contains five different strains of probiotics, adding up to 5 billion CFU (Colony-Forming Units- the amount of live and active  microorganisms.) We use spore probiotics which have a protective outer shell, allowing them to survive stomach acid, and reach the lower gastrointestinal tract where they can colonize and thrive.

3. Organic Kombucha Powder. Kombucha is naturally rich in probiotics. As it ferments, these probiotics release postbiotics that remain in the kombucha. This kombucha has been freeze dried in order to keeping these good benefits intact.
In addition to these powerful ingredients, this drink powder is gluten-free, shelf-stable, safe for kids, and absolutely delicious! It comes in two flavors, Elderberry Lemonade, and Lemon Ginger, both with added immune-boosting properties.

drink mix with elderberry lemonade written on it, with a lemon by the side and a purple background

If you want to work on your gut health, find yourself struggling with health issues, or lack a well-balanced diet, this drink is for you!
Taking a 3-in-1 biotic blend supplement is a valuable way to start supporting your gut and taking charge of your health and healing. In addition to this supplement, there are other ways you can support gut health:

  • Eliminating man-made chemicals (artificial sweeteners, colors and dyes, flavorings, and preservatives)
  • Reducing sugar
  • Eating fermented foods
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables (fiber in these acts as prebiotics)
  • Try an elimination diet, eliminating gluten and/or dairy, these can cause gut inflammation for some.
  • Eat organic foods- organic foods cannot be sprayed with glyphosate. Glyphosate has been linked to killing good gut bacteria
  • Taking Collagen- collagen can help to strengthen and support the gut lining.
Caring for your gut is one of the first steps you can take to support your overall health and wellness. That’s why I encourage you to try our new 3-in-1 drink out and see what it can do for you! If you have any questions feel free to DM me on Instagram or leave a comment below. Cheers to a healthy gut!

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