What is it?
People take Bacillus coagulans for diarrhea, including infectious types such as rotaviral diarrhea, traveler's diarrhea, and diarrhea caused by antibiotics. Bacillus coagulans is also used for general digestion problems, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gas (flatulence), a bowel disorder called Clostridium difficile colitis, and excessive growth of "bad" bacteria in the intestine. It is also used in people with liver cirrhosis, for an infection due to the ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori, for rheumatoid arthritis, and for HIV/AIDS.
Some people use Bacillus coagulans to prevent respiratory infections and ramp up the immune system. It is also used to prevent cancer or the formation of cancer-causing agents. There is also some interest in using it as an additive to vaccines to improve their effectiveness.
Bacillus coagulans produces lactic acid and is often misclassified as lactobacillus. In fact, some commercial products containing Bacillus coagulans are marketed as Lactobacillus sporogenes. Unlike lactic acid bacteria such as lactobacillus or bifidobacteria, Bacillus coagulans forms spores. Spores are an important factor in telling Bacillus coagulans apart from other lactic acid bacteria.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for BACILLUS COAGULANS are as follows:
Possibly effective for...
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Clinical research shows that taking Bacillus coagulans daily for 56-90 days improves quality of life and decreases bloating, vomiting, abdominal pain, and the number of bowel movements in people with diarrhea-predominant IBS. Other clinical research shows that taking a specific combination product (Colinox, DMG Italia SRL) containing Bacillus coagulans and simethicone three times daily for 4 weeks improves bloating and discomfort in people with IBS.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Liver scarring (cirrhosis). People with liver cirrhosis are more likely to develop an infection called spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, or SBP. Early research shows that taking a combination probiotic containing Bacillus coagulans and other bacteria three times daily, along with the drug norfloxacin, does not decrease a person's risk of developing SBP.
- Diarrhea. Early research in babies 6-24 months of age with diarrhea shows that taking Bacillus coagulans twice daily for up to 5 days does not decrease the duration, frequency, or quantity of diarrhea.
- Diarrhea in children caused by a certain virus (rotavirus). Early research in newborn babies shows that taking Bacillus coagulans daily for one year decreases the child's risk of developing rotavirus diarrhea.
- Gas (flatulence). Early evidence in people who have gas after eating shows that taking a specific combination supplement containing Bacillus coagulans and a blend of enzymes daily for 4 weeks does not improve bloating or gas.
- Growth of bacteria in the intestine. Early evidence shows that using a specific probiotic product (Lactol, Bioplus Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd.) containing Bacillus coagulans and fructo-oligosaccharides daily for 15 days of every month for 6 months might modestly decrease stomach pain and gas in people with potentially harmful bacteria in the intestine.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research shows that taking Bacillus coagulans daily for 60 days in addition to normal treatment can reduce pain, but does not reduce the number of painful or swollen joints in people with RA. Bacillus coagulans also does not improve the ability to perform activities of daily living in people with RA.
- Serious infection of the intestines (necrotizing enterocolitis). Babies that are born very early or with a very low weight are at a higher risk of developing a serious infection in the intestines called necrotizing enterocolitis. Early research in these babies shows that taking Bacillus coagulans daily until leaving the hospital does not prevent necrotizing enterocolitis or death. However, taking Bacillus coagulans does increase the number of babies that are able to tolerate food.
- Cancer prevention.
- Clostridium difficile colitis.
- Digestion problems.
- Helicobacter pylori infection.
- Immune system strengthening.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis).
- Respiratory infections.
How does it work?
Are there safety concerns?
Bacillus coagulans is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in infants and children. Some research has shown that Bacillus coagulans can be safely used by infants for up to one year.
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Bacillus coagulans if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Are there interactions with medications?
- Antibiotic drugs
- Antibiotics are used to reduce harmful bacteria in the body. Antibiotics can also reduce other bacteria in the body. Taking antibiotics along with Bacillus coagulans might reduce the potential benefits of Bacillus coagulans. To avoid this potential interaction, take Bacillus coagulans products at least 2 hours before or after antibiotics.
- Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)
- Bacillus coagulans might increase the activity of the immune system. Taking Bacillus coagulans along with medications that decrease the immune system's activity might decrease the effectiveness of these medications.
Some medications that decrease the immune system's activity include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.
Are there interactions with foods?
- There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
- For irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Bacillus coagulans (Lactospore, Sabinsa Corporation) 2 billion colony forming units (CFUs) daily for 90 days. Bacillus coagulans (GanedenBC30, Ganeden Biotech Inc.) 300 million to 2 billion CFUs daily for 8 weeks. Also, a specific combination product (Colinox, DMG Italia SRL) containing Bacillus coagulans and simethicone has been used after each meal three times daily for 4 weeks.
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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