Overview

Bacillus coagulans is a type of good bacteria, called a probiotic. It produces lactic acid, but isn’t the same thing as Lactobacillus, another type of probiotic. B. coagulans is able to generate spores during its reproductive life cycle. This is unlike Lactobacillus and many other probiotics. This ability allows B. coagulans to go dormant during harsh conditions, which might kill off other probiotics.

For this reason, this strain of bacteria is particularly robust. It’s able to withstand extreme environments, such as high levels of acid, in the stomach. This may make B. coagulans particularly effective at alleviating stomach distress and other ailments.

What are the forms and doses?

The best way to introduce B. coagulans is via natural food sources. It’s available in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt.

B. coagulans is also available in supplement form. It can be purchased as capsules or gelcaps and in vegetarian or vegan formulas. Supplements may be sold in its spore, dormant state until it becomes activated in the intestines.

B. coagulans is manufactured by many companies. Some strains of B. coagulans are also proprietary to specific manufacturers. In some instances, proprietary strains of the probiotic have been given generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Since B. coagulans is manufactured by so many companies, there’s no specific set dosage for its use. Probiotics may be dosed according to how many live organisms they contain, often totaling in the billions. They may also be dosed as colony forming units.

Make sure to follow package directions in order to obtain the correct dosage. The FDA also doesn’t monitor the purity or quality of supplements and probiotics in the same way they do food and drugs. It’s important to buy from a reputable company and talk to your doctor before you begin taking supplements.

What are the benefits and uses?

B. coagulans has been analyzed in both animal and human studies. The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Natural Medicine’s Comprehensive Database has given this probiotic an insufficient evidence rating for effectiveness. Some small studies suggest compelling benefits, but B. coagulans needs to be studied more extensively. Read on to learn about B. coagulans possible benefits.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

A small study of people with IBS looked at the effects of B. coagulans for IBS symptoms. These included abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. All three symptoms were significantly improved in participants who were given a synbiotic that contained B. coagulans versus a placebo.

Rheumatoid arthritis

A small study analyzed the anti-inflammatory abilities of B. coagulans on a group of 45 men and women with rheumatoid arthritis. Participants were given the probiotic in addition to their standard medication regimen for two months.

Compared with the placebo group, participants who took B. coagulans reported less disability. They also had an improved ability to participate in daily activities, such as long walks. Participants also showed a reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation.

Constipation

A Japanese study analyzed the bowel movements and fecal properties of participants for two weeks. These participants had a self-defined tendency toward constipation. Participants were given either a proprietary strain of B. coagulans lilac-01 containing soy okara powder or a placebo of soy okara powder only. Those who received B. coagulans showed improved bowel function. They also reported less incidents of incomplete evacuation.

Intestinal gas

A small study of 61 participants examined a proprietary strain of B. coagulans on post-meal intestinal gas-related symptoms versus a placebo. The symptoms included flatulence, stomach distension, and abdominal pain. Those who received the probiotic showed significant improvement in pain. They also had strong improvement in abdominal distension when compared with the placebo group.

Respiratory tract infection

A small study of 10 men and women looked at the effects of a patented strain of B. coagulans on the immune system. Participants given the probiotic showed increased T cell production in response to influenza A and adenovirus exposure. These cells fight off diseases.

Are there any side effects and risks?

As with any supplement, discuss whether or not you should take B. coagulans with your doctor before you begin taking it. There are also some risks and side effects to consider:

  • Probiotics of all kinds may trigger allergic reactions.
  • Pregnant and nursing women are recommended to avoid taking the supplement since there hasn’t been enough research on its effects.
  • B. coagulans may interfere with antibiotics and with immunosuppressant medications. Discuss your use of these drugs with your doctor before taking this supplement.
  • B. coagulans is possibly safe when taken orally for a period of six months or less. Currently, there are no reported side effects when taken as directed.

The takeaway

B. coagulans is a probiotic that may have valuable health benefits. It’s been studied sporadically in multiple areas, such as rheumatoid arthritis and IBS, but more research is needed in all areas. Discuss your use of this probiotic and any other supplement with your doctor before you begin taking it.