[Editor’s note]: This post was originally published in May 2017. It has been updated and republished in April 2019.
Eating healthy is obviously an important part of staying healthy. But is getting all the nutrition your body needs simply a matter of eating foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients?
In a perfect world, the answer to this question would be a resounding “yes.” But if you’re one of the more than 34 million Americans who suffers from poor digestion or chronic digestive disease,1 all the healthy food in the world won’t do you much good if your body is unable to actually break down that food and extract its vital nutritive components.
Lack of Probiotics Leads to Poor Digestion
Many people who suffer from symptoms of poor digestion don’t even think twice about them because these symptoms have become so commonplace in today’s world. But regardless of whether you’re aware of it or not, poor digestion can take a serious toll on your body.
We’re talking major consequences that result from persistently consuming a standard American diet made up of overcooked and highly-processed foods.
Even many foods marketed as being “healthy” are lacking in at least some of the nutrient co-factors necessary for optimal nutritional support because they’ve been cooked or processed in some way.
All sorts of solutions have been offered to resolve this prolific problem. One solution involves dietary supplementation with probiotic bacteria – a great option when these probiotics are able to actually get where they need to be throughout the body. The reality is that many probiotic supplements never do what they’re intended to do because they end up “dead” on arrival in one of three places:
- At the manufacturing plant
- On the grocery store shelf
- In your stomach the moment they encounter its harsh acidic environment
Such environmental exposures render many probiotic strains functionally useless by the time they’re inside your body. In other words, leaving behind only false hope and disappointment.
The good news though is that not all probiotic strains are the same. Some probiotics are able to survive the variable conditions of distribution and the corrosive environment of the stomach much better than others, allowing them to go on and colonize the small intestine – this being the place where science has shown they confer their many health benefits. This is exactly what you want in any quality probiotic: the resilience to make its way inside the body without being destroyed.
Bacillus Coagulans: The “Bulldog” of Beneficial Bacteria
With all this in mind, “delicate” is probably the best adjective one could use to describe the general nature of probiotic bacteria. They don’t tend to like heat, pressure, or digestive juices. In other words, all things that they usually encounter along the way from the factory to your belly. But Bacillus coagulans, a unique type of lactic acid-forming probiotic that’s gaining considerable attention in the scientific world, is profoundly different.
For one, Bacillus coagulans possesses a natural protective shield that acts as a type of “body armor” to maintain its integrity throughout the journey from capsule to gut – something that most probiotic bacteria lack.
Though it’s perhaps less researched than some of the more well-known probiotic strains, B. coagulans (which is sometimes classified as Lactobacillus sporogenes in the scientific literature) is replete with its own fair share of scientific backing. Again, it’s an exceptionally hardy strain that’s a real trooper when it comes to persisting amidst adverse environmental conditions. This is due in large part to its unique life cycle.
Rather than simply living and dying, Bacillus coagulans has the unique ability to transform itself into a cluster of dormant spores that, technically speaking, are neither alive nor dead. They’re merely in a “readiness” state awaiting their time to come alive.
Much like a seed that has yet to germinate, B. coagulans spores “hibernate” when they encounter unfavorable environmental conditions that threaten their survival. For instance, having to live inside bottles on unrefrigerated grocery store shelves. They basically “sleep” in this dormant state until their surroundings become more favorable, at which time they “come alive” and resume their normative state of growing and spreading, populating the gut with their healing goodness.2
This distinctive feature of B. coagulans was discovered by accident during a time when the bacterial strain was actually believed to be harmful. Bacillus coagulans earned for itself a whole new reputation after it was discovered that this strain could kill a variety of pathogenic bacteria, including the infamous Listeria, as well as antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
This is backed by not only laboratory and animal studies, but also human studies – many of which have been published just in the last decade.
Bacillus Coagulans is Shown to Help Reduce Gas, Cholesterol, Infections, and IBS
If you peruse the scientific literature on this subject, you’ll likely come to the conclusion that B. coagulans is so much more effective than many of the other probiotic strains out there because of its incredible ability to not only survive harsh environmental conditions, but also to thrive (successfully) after it returns to more favorable ones.
Most probiotic strains, if they even make it beyond the torrent of gastric activity in the stomach, are hard-pressed to have much of a beneficial impact once they reach the small intestine. But this is not the case for B. coagulans, which authoritative voices on the subject have categorized as being a prolific colonizer.3
What makes B. coagulans even more special is the fact that it produces an exceptional form of lactic acid known as L+ optical isomer that studies have shown is even more powerful at breaking down foods and improving their digestibility than normal lactic acid. L+ optical isomer has been shown to help greatly improve blood circulation, normalize gastric juice acidity, maintain proper pH in the gut, improve regularity, boost the immune system, protect against chronic disease, and promote the formation of important B-vitamins like energy-producing vitamin B12.4
When it comes to supporting the body to heal from pre-existing issues, multiple trials suggest positive outcomes from the use of B. coagulans to assist with a variety of ailments. For instance, researchers from Florida published a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study back in 2009 showing that B. coagulans can help to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms in adults with chronic gas issues. Compared to individuals in the placebo group, those taking B. coagulans saw significant improvements in the severity and frequency of abdominal pain and distension.5
In a study published several years later in the journal Gut Pathology, researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine found that B. coagulans is powerfully effective against Clostridium difficile-induced colitis, helping to prevent its recurrence in test mice treated with the drug vancomycin.6
Around the same time, another research team published a paper in The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care highlighting the successful use of Bacillus coagulans in the treatment of GI diseases associated with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).7
Another common and relevant GI disease is irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, the diarrhea predominant variety. A recent peer-reviewed human trial found that IBS responds well to treatment with B. coagulans. Researchers observed that supplementation with B. coagulans for 90 days resulted in significant reductions in not only diarrhea but also other IBS symptoms, including bloating, vomiting, abdominal pain, and unusual stool frequency.8
In the realm of cardiovascular health, B. coagulans was shown in a pilot study to support healthy cholesterol levels, helping to decrease serum levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol while increasing serum levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.9
Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes, and Nutrient-Rich Foods: The Trifecta of Healthy Living
When included as part of a healthy diet rich in nutrients and vital digestive enzymes, spore-forming bacteria probiotics like B. coagulans may help jumpstart the digestive process while helping to balance and normalize the microbial makeup of the GI tract. In line with what science has to say about the subject, probiotic supplementation with B. coagulans might just be the nutrient co-factor that your body is missing, and the key to living a healthier, stronger, and more vibrant life.
More than 34 million Americans suffer from poor digestion.
All the healthy food in the world won’t do much good if your body is unable to actually break down that food and extract its vital nutritive components.
A quality probiotic will have the resilience to make its way inside the body without being destroyed.
Bacillus coagulans possesses a natural protective shield that acts as a type of “body armor”.
Researchers observed that supplementation with B. coagulans for 90 days resulted in significant reductions in diarrhea and other IBS symptoms.