“Postbiotics possess several attractive properties such as clear chemical structures, safety dose parameters, and longer shelf life (up to 5 years, when used as [an] ingredient for foods and beverages or as nutritional supplements) that are greatly sought out,” explained Dr. Belinda Vallejo-Cordoba, the principal investigator at CIAD and a co-author in the study.
In the review, they listed some of the issues that functional foods with probiotics have. In particular, they pointed out that some strains have genes that promote antibiotic resistance, which they believe could be passed onto pathogenic bacteria through gene transfer. They also highlighted that probiotics are prone to many changes. These include limited shelf life, as well as various sensitivities to product acidity, nutrient content, and the presence of growth promoters and inhibitors.
Postbiotics, they explain, do not have those problems. For one, they already contain a number of nutrients that benefit human health. According to Vallejo-Cordoba: “Soluble factors have been collected from several bacteria strains that include short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), enzymes, peptides, endo- and exo-polysaccharides, vitamins and organic acids.”
In addition, the team took note of the safety profile of postbiotics. While probiotics rely heavily on the number and metabolic activity of each strain, postbiotics can be used in a “controlled and standardized manner,” allowing them to be used as a standard treatment for many diseases. They also found that postbiotics contain molecules that displayed anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory (regulates immune responses), anti-obesogenic (counters the effects of obesity), antihypertensive, hypocholesterolemic (lowers cholesterol), antiproliferative (prevents the spread of malignant cells), and antioxidant activities.
The effects of postbiotics, researchers posited, are not limited to digestion alone. In their review, they indicated that certain compounds contain nutrients that can greatly benefit the skin – opening the door to its potential use in personal care products. “These properties suggest that postbiotics may contribute, to the improvement of host health by improving specific physiological functions, even though the exact mechanisms have not been entirely elucidated,” they wrote.