Nutricia welcomes the consensus definition on ‘Postbiotics’, the newest member of  the biotics family

Today, the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics – called ISAPP published a consensus statement on the definition and scope of postbiotics, the newest member of the biotics family.

The biotic family is a group of dietary nutrients that can provide health benefits, such as gut health. Postbiotics are the most recent addition to the ‘biotics family’ that already consists of Prebiotics (food for ‘good bacteria’), Probiotics (‘good bacteria’) and Synbiotics (a combination of food for ‘good bacteria’ and ‘good bacteria’).


Overview of the postbiotic concept

Postbiotics by ISAPP are defined as “the preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the target host.”

Based on the definition, postbiotics can be described as compounds created by ‘good bacteria’. One way to produce postbiotics is through fermentation, a natural process that has been around for thousands of years. During this process, many different compounds like lipids, vitamins, complex molecules, proteins or human milk oligosaccharides are being formed through the activity of live microorganisms. And these compounds are called postbiotics. Every combination of postbiotics is unique and has different health benefits. 

what are postbiotics

Evidence of postbiotics 

There is increasing evidence to suggest that nutrition can impact both short- and long-term health outcomes by influencing the gut microbiota, shaping the development of both the gut and the immune system. 

Also evidence of specific postbiotics has been shown to have a positive effect on the gut microbiota and immune system. More specifically, research showed that baby formula with postbiotics (in combination with prebiotics) can impact the composition of the infant’s gut microbiota leading to a higher proportion of good bacteria in the gut, reducing the incidence of gastro-intestinal infections and colics in infants.

These benefits suggest that postbiotics may confer a health benefit to the infants by supporting specific physiological functions, even though the exact mechanisms require more research1.

Perspectives for applications in nutrition

The gut and immune system develops rapidly throughout the first 1,000 days, as babies move from a protected environment to one where they are exposed to lots of immune challenges. 

For those infants who are not able to be (fully) breastfed, infant formula strives to more closely resemble the composition and functionality of human milk, by adding probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, and/or postbiotics or a combination thereafter’, providing gut and immune benefits amongst others.

Nutricia is at the forefront of breastmilk research, committed to increasing the understanding of its unique composition, power and influence on early life development. Because of this pioneering research, babies who are combination-fed, or who receive formula exclusively, can continue to benefit from innovations such as prebiotics and postbiotics to promote the development of a healthy and diverse gut microbiota.

For more information on ISAPP’s postbiotics definition

 is a non-profit organization led by a scientific board of directors with input from its industry advisory committee. The like-minded individuals around the world who participate in ISAPP’s activities are committed to advancing the science of probiotics and prebiotics.

  1. Mullie et al. Pediatric research 2004;56:791-5. 2. Beghin L et al. Clinical nutrition, 2020

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