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Gut Health Trilogy: Understanding Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Postbiotics

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on September 7, 2023

Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Postbiotics: Nurturing a Healthy Gut

The health and diversity of the gut microbiota has garnered considerable attention over the years. This intricate ecosystem plays a pivotal role in digestion, immunity, and overall health. But what's feeding this system? Enter: prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics.


These are dietary fibers that our body cannot digest. Instead, they serve as food for the beneficial bacteria in our gut. Consuming prebiotic-rich foods like garlic, onions, asparagus, and oats can help fuel a flourishing gut microbiome. (1)


Live beneficial bacteria that we can add to our gut flora through foods or supplements. Foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut are rich in these friendly bacteria. By introducing them to our system, we bolster the diversity and strength of our microbiome. (2)


The new kids on the block, postbiotics refer to the metabolic byproducts or end products of probiotic fermentation. They can have direct health benefits on the host. This includes short-chain fatty acids, peptides, and other compounds that may positively influence gut health. (3)

To maintain a thriving gut ecosystem, consider a balanced approach. Feed your good bacteria with prebiotics, replenish them with probiotics, and benefit from the nourishing compounds of postbiotics. Remember, a happy gut often translates to a healthier you!

Table 1: Prebiotics

Food SourcePrebiotic Component
Garlic, OnionInulin, FOS
BananasResistant starch

Table 2: Probiotics

Food SourceProbiotic Strain
KefirLactobacillus, Bifidobacterium
KimchiLactobacillus, Bifidobacterium
MisoAspergillus oryzae
TempehRhizopus oligosporus

Table 3: Postbiotics

Product/SourcePostbiotic Component
Fermented dairyPeptides, Organic acids
KimchiShort-chain fatty acids
SauerkrautBioactive peptides
Probiotic supplementsCell wall components

Note: Always consult with a holistic healthcare professional, such as a licensed naturopathic physician, before making any changes to your diet, especially if you have underlying health conditions.


  1. Davani-Davari D, Negahdaripour M, Karimzadeh I, Seifan M, Mohkam M, Masoumi SJ, Berenjian A, Ghasemi Y. Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications. Foods. 2019 Mar 9;8(3):92. doi: 10.3390/foods8030092. PMID: 30857316; PMCID: PMC6463098.
  2. Khalesi S, Bellissimo N, Vandelanotte C, Williams S, Stanley D, Irwin C. A review of probiotic supplementation in healthy adults: helpful or hype? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2019 Jan;73(1):24-37. doi: 10.1038/s41430-018-0135-9. Epub 2018 Mar 26. PMID: 29581563.
  3. Vinderola G, Sanders ME, Salminen S. The Concept of Postbiotics. Foods. 2022 Apr 8;11(8):1077. doi: 10.3390/foods11081077. PMID: 35454664; PMCID: PMC9027423.

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