Probiotics and Postbiotics: What's the Difference?

What are postbiotics?

With growing interest around gut health, there is more and more confusing terminology used within the health food space, such as prebiotics, probiotics, and now postbiotics. Let’s start with the most commonly known one; the probiotics, which are live “good bacteria” that reside within our gut that are shown to support our immune system, gut health, and even mood. Prebiotics are the food for probiotics that keep them alive and healthy in our gut.

Postbiotics are beneficial chemicals secreted by the good live probiotic bacteria after they feed on prebiotics or released after bacterial lysis, such as enzymes, peptides, peptidoglycan-derived muropeptides, polysaccharides, cell surface proteins,  teichoic acids, and organic acids. Postbiotics are often obtained during the fermentation process.  So, in essence, postbiotic is the sum of what happens when prebiotics and probiotics come together. Postbiotics have recently been of interest due to their unique chemical structure, safety dosing, long shelf life, and its content in various signaling molecules that may have anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-obesogenic, hypocholesterolemia, anti-proliferative, antihypertensive and antioxidant acting. 



What are the benefits of postbiotics?  

The first study on postbiotic was done in 1986, and by 2013 there are only 11 such studies published. The growing interest in recent years of postbiotics might partially be due to the fact that postbiotics have fewer challenges in storage and its shelf-life in comparison to its counterpart the probiotics, that usually required to be stored in the fridge. Though the exact mechanism of action of how postbiotics may be beneficial to the host is not yet to be uncovered, however, based on the signaling pathways mentioned above we can see how postbiotics can provide many health benefits. 

Based on clinical data of several studies that demonstrated the effects of postbiotic is comparable to those of probiotic, but postbiotic product is a safer alternative to probiotics in immune-compromised or severely ill children. Two studies indicated the effect of postbiotic in 12-48 months on common infectious disease in toddlers. The study resulted that postbiotics can prevent common infectious disease in toddlers such as acute gastroenteritis, and upper respiratory tract infection. It was found the gut microbiome of these toddlers has increased in Oscillospira and Faecalibacterium.

In adult studies, postbiotics has shown to be more effective than living L. acidophilus LB in treating chronic diarrhea. The study recruited adults of 16 years and over, within the second week and over, stool frequency was significantly lower in the postbiotic group with improvement in clinical symptoms. Another study examining adults with predominant IBS, after 1 month of consuming postbiotic, pain scores, quality of life, and bloating all improved after the treatment. Studies indicated that nonviable probiotic and their fermentation products, the postbiotics, can have clinical effects on the host as well as induce changes in SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids) and gut microbiome composition. It has also been shown that postbiotics may be an effective way to increase the potency of probiotic making them a great functional ingredient or even therapeutic agent.  



R’s KOSO & postbiotics 

R’s KOSO is made with 100+ natural fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, and seaweeds. All ingredients are from Japan. R's KOSO includes unique ingredients such as seaweeds and mushrooms. Seaweeds are one of nature's best dietary source of iodine, which has been proven to help support the thyroid gland. Plus, seaweed is a little-known secret that helps Japanese women maintain such beautiful hair. Mushrooms possess many vital nutrients like β glucans, dietary fiber, mannans, as well as act as prebiotics to stimulate the growth of gut microbiota.

R's KOSO utilizes over ten different yeasts during the one-year fermentation process, including lactic acid bacteria, and koji, which is a Japanese culture fungus. Additionally, R's KOSO contains probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics such as more than 17 kinds of Amino Acids, Short-chain fatty acids, polyphenols. Amino acids are building blocks of our bodies. They play important roles in metabolism. Short-chain fatty acids such as acetic acid are an important source of energy. They produce up to 10% of the energy we need in a day. Short-chain fatty acids also maintain the environment in our intestine at a weak acidic level in order to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Polyphenols produced by gut microbiota have antimicrobial effect that inhibits pathogenic bacteria along with helping the growth of beneficial bacteria.All these essential ingredients help improve gut health, which is closely linked to weight loss, skin health, and mental health.



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  1. Wegh, et al. “Postbiotics and Their Potential Applications in Early Life Nutrition and Beyond.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 20, no. 19, 2019, p. 4673., doi:10.3390/ijms20194673.
  2. Aguilar-Toalá, J.e., et al. “Postbiotics: An Evolving Term within the Functional Foods Field.” Trends in Food Science & Technology, vol. 75, 2018, pp. 105–114., doi:10.1016/j.tifs.2018.03.009.
  3. Likotrafiti, Eleni, and Jonathan Rhoades. “Probiotics, Prebiotics, Synbiotics, and Foodborne Illness.” Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics, 2016, pp. 469–476., doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-802189-7.00032-0.
  4. Tsilingiri, K., and M. Rescigno. “Postbiotics: What Else?” Beneficial Microbes, vol. 4, no. 1, 2013, pp. 101–107., doi:10.3920/bm2012.0046.
  5. Kareem K.Y., Hooi Ling F., Teck Chwen L., May Foong O., Anjas Asmara S. Inhibitory activity of postbiotic produced by strains of lactobacillus plantarum using reconstituted media supplemented with inulin.
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