Bacillus subtilis is a rod-shaped, Gram-positive bacteria that is found in soil and the gut of humans and some types of animals. Also known as Bacillus uniflagellatus, Bacillus globigii, and Bacillus natto, Bacillus subtilis is commonly included in probiotic supplement formulations.

It’s a useful and beneficial probiotic that supports digestion, enzyme production, and helps maintain a healthy gut.

Gut Health and Strain Survivability

The main health benefit of Bacillus subtilis is its ability to help balance the gut,[1] a trait it shares with other probiotics. Bacillus subtilis is a robust strain that’s not only able to withstand the gastrointestinal tract but flourish and positively affect the composition of the microbiota. It does this by forming endospores—durable protein envelopes that protect it from heat, light, and other stressors.[2] Because Bacillus subtilis is so vigorous, it’s especially valuable in probiotic supplement formulas where it’s able to remain viable during manufacturing, packaging, and shipping. In fact, the survivability of this species is so great that Bacillus subtilis is used to study the behavior of microorganisms in space.[3] One study reported that Bacillus subtilis could survive up to six years in space when protected from UV rays.[4]

Resists Harmful Organism Overgrowth

Studies have shown that this probiotic can produce compounds that are naturally disruptive to harmful organisms. In essence, Bacillus subtilis helps displace unfriendly organisms in the body by affecting their ability to colonize.[5]

Supports Enzyme Production

Enzymes and probiotics have a symbiotic relationship. Both are critical for digestive and gastrointestinal health. Individually, not only do enzymes promote intestinal integrity, they help create an environment that’s favorable to probiotic bacteria.[6] In turn, Bacillus subtilis supports the production of beneficial enzymes in the gut, including amylase, protease, pullulanase, chitinase, xylanase, and lipase.

Other Health Benefits

Bacillus subtilis offers other incredible health benefits. It may support a healthy immune system, especially in older adults.[7] It also protects the integrity of its DNA—a trait that makes it resistant to mutation.[8] And, perhaps best of all, Bacillus subtilis contributes to a healthy digestive system.[9]

Bacillus subtilis History and Safety

Originally called Vibrio subtilis by Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg, a prolific German scientist, Bacillus subtilis was given its current name in 1872 by Ferdinand Cohn, a botanist and one of the founders of bacteriology. In the early 20th century, the strain was popular as a natural means for supporting gastrointestinal health. Since then, it has been used in animal feed, probiotic supplements, and food production. Bacillus subtilis is used in Japan and Korea to produce fermented soybean dishes.[10] This bacteria is considered safe and beneficial for human consumption by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Best Forms of Bacillus subtilis

Bacillus subtilis is readily found in soil—a testament to its ability to withstand environmental stressors. But, that doesn’t mean you need to eat a plate of dirt to introduce Bacillus subtilis to your gut. Some fermented foods, such as natto—a fermented soybean dish that’s popular in Japan—are a source of Bacillus subtilis and other probiotics. Many people find that the easiest and most consistent way to reliably strengthen their gut with Bacillus subtilis is with the help of a trusted, high-quality probiotic supplement.

This article originally appeared at Global Healing Center.

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