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Introduction to Bacillus coagulans

Bacillus coagulans is a type of beneficial bacteria that is often added to probiotic supplements to support digestive and immune health. This spore-forming bacteria has unique qualities that set it apart from other common probiotic strains. When included in supplements, Bacillus coagulans can provide a range of potential health benefits.

What is Bacillus coagulans?

Bacillus coagulans is a hardy type of lactic acid-producing bacteria that can withstand stomach acid and bile salts better than many other probiotics. Unlike other probiotics, this beneficial bacteria produces reproductive structures known as spores. These tough outer coatings allow Bacillus coagulans to survive through the digestive process until they reach the intestines where they can germinate and grow.

Once established in the gut, Bacillus coagulans helps to create an environment optimised for healthy intestinal flora. It produces lactic acid which makes the intestines acidic and inhospitable for pathogens. The bacteria also secretes bacteriocins and digestive enzymes to further support digestion and nutrient absorption.

Key Benefits of Bacillus coagulans

There are several key evidence-based benefits associated with Bacillus coagulans supplementation:

  • Supports Healthy Digestion
    • Bacillus coagulans helps digest protein, carbohydrates, and fats. It may also alleviate occasional diarrhoea and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The bacteria break down food and nutrients for easier absorption while reducing bloating and gas production.
  • Boosts Immune Health
    • By improving gut health and microbial balance, Bacillus coagulans helps support overall immune function. It may reduce severity and occurrence of viral infections as well.
  • Enhances Nutrient Absorption
    • This beneficial bacteria helps the body absorb vitamins and minerals more efficiently from food and supplements. It may specifically help with protein absorption.
  • Eases Menstrual Discomfort
    • For women, Bacillus coagulans can reduce menstrual pain and discomfort associated with periods. It helps regulate inflammatory cytokines that contribute to menstrual symptoms.
  • Increases Tolerance to Dietary Triggers
    • For those sensitive to certain foods, Bacillus coagulans can help improve tolerance. It supports digestive enzymes needed to properly break down lactose, fructose, FODMAPs, and gluten.

How Bacillus coagulans Works

The primary action of Bacillus coagulans centres around the bacterial cells and spores working synergistically together. The hardy spores allow the bacteria to survive long enough to germinate in the intestinal tract while the active cells provide probiotic benefits.

Once ingested, the metabolically inactive spores resist stomach acid and dissolve their outer coatings in response to the change from acidic to alkaline pH. This triggers germination where the spores convert to actively growing bacterial cells. These cells colonise the intestinal walls and begin producing lactic acid and beneficial enzymes.

Meanwhile, some spores continue down the digestive tract intact. They grow another layer of coating and can then serve as reserve reinforcement for the bacterial colonies, replenishing their numbers after disruption.

In essence, the spores ensure the Bacillus coagulans reaches the intestines viably where the bacteria can then colonise, produce substances like lactic acid, break down nutrients, outcompete pathogens, and integrate into the gut microbiota. This unique spore-forming, lactic acid-producing capacity provides superior probiotic potential.

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