What Is Bacillus Coagulans?

This good bacteria may help ease symptoms of IBS

Bacillus Coagulans tablets and powder

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Bacillus coagulans (B. coagulans) is a beneficial bacteria known as a probiotic. Found naturally in your intestines, probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that may promote health and protect against infections. Similar to Lactobacillus strains, B. coagulans is used to treat diarrhea and prevent candida infections.

Taking B. coagulans and other probiotic supplements while taking antibiotic medications is sometimes recommended to guard against gastrointestinal side effects and yeast infections. In alternative medicine, dietary supplements containing Bacillus coagulans are used to relieve symptoms of colitis, Crohn's disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as to help heal the lining of the intestines and combat leaky gut syndrome

B. coagulans is believed to stimulate the immune system, and some alternative medicine proponents claim that it can fight cancer as well.

What Is Bacillus Coagulans Used For?

Although there is currently a lack of large-scale studies testing the effects of B. coagulans, there's some evidence that this probiotic may offer certain health benefits. Here's a look at some findings from the available research.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Some research suggests that B. coagulans may help treat certain symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other inflammatory bowel diseases.

A small study published in Postgraduate Medicine in 2009, for example, indicates that B. coagulans may help relieve abdominal pain and bloat related to IBS. In the study, 44 patients took either B. coagulans or a placebo every day for eight weeks. At the study's end, those treated with B. coagulans showed a significantly greater improvement in pain and bloating compared with those given the placebo.

Additionally, a pilot study published in Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology that same year found that B. coagulans may be helpful to IBS patients with diarrhea. In an eight-week-long experiment involving 52 diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome patients, researchers found that those given B. coagulans experienced a significantly greater reduction in an average number of bowel movements per day than those given a placebo.

Diarrhea

Probiotics have long been used to treat diarrhea independent of IBS. A 2019 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology affirms B. coagulans effectiveness for this purpose.

In the small clinical trial, 60 subjects with acute diarrhea and stomach pain were given either B. coagulans or a placebo. Subjects taking the probiotic recovered sooner than the control group.

Boost Immunity

B. coagulans may help boost the immune system and stave off virus-induced respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold and the flu, according to a small study also published in Postgraduate Medicine in 2009. The study involved 10 healthy men and women, each of whom was given B. coagulans daily for 30 days.

After their 30-day treatment, all of the study members were exposed to adenovirus (which causes respiratory illness) and influenza A (a strain of flu virus). Researchers found that using Bacillus coagulans significantly increased the production of cells that play a key role in the body's immune response.

Possible Side Effects 

There is limited research on the side effects of B. coagulans. Probiotics in general play a role in the delicate ecosystem of gut flora in the digestive tract, and it is known that altering the balance of this bacteria can lead to gas and bloating at times.

The safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. 

Some research suggests probiotics may interact with medications used to suppress the immune system. Talk to your healthcare provider before using B. coagulans if you take any type of immunosuppressant drug.

Bacillus Coagulans capsules
Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Dosage and Preparation

B. coagulans is available as both a capsule and a loose powder.

There is no standard dose for B. coagulans, but dosages between 300 million and 1 billion colony-forming units (CFU) have been studied in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and are believed to be safe.

What to Look For

B. coagulans is sold as a stand-alone supplement or in combination with other probiotics. If purchasing a broad-spectrum probiotic, read the label to ensure it contains B. coagulans.

Dietary supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). To make sure you are buying a quality probiotic, look for a trusted, independent third-party seal on the label, such as U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, and ConsumerLab. This does not guarantee safety or efficacy, but it can reassure you that what's advertised on the label is what you're getting.

Other Questions

Is it better to take B. coagulans alone or in a combination probiotic?
While research suggests some health benefits of B. coagulans, there are other probiotics with stronger science to back them up. Combining different strains of probiotics in a broad-spectrum supplement can be more beneficial than taking B. coagulans alone.

Look for products that contain:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus: This bacteria may help relieve diarrhea, treat eczema, manage irritable bowel syndrome, and aid in diabetes control.
  • Saccharomyces boulardii: This may help fend off traveler's diarrhea and diarrhea associated with the use of antibiotics, as well as soothe certain symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Can I get B. coagulans from food?
Yes. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, miso, and tempeh are good sources.

A Word From Verywell

Though probiotics are well-known to offer several health benefits, due to limited research, it's too soon to recommend B. coagulans as a treatment for any condition. If you're considering using B. coagulans for any health purpose, it is important to discuss it with your healthcare provider and pharmacist.

Mixing supplements with other medications may have unintended consequences, and self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care can have lasting negative health effects.

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