Bacillus Coagulans: The Health Benefits of Good Bacteria

Is Bacillus coagulans the strongest probiotic? Find out what makes it so powerful.

Bacillus coagulans is a probiotic bacteria that can greatly benefit your digestive tract and your body’s immune response. How does Bacillus coagulans directly improve the microbiota profile of your gut? We have the answers.

What Is Bacillus Coagulans?

There are good and bad bacteria keeping a delicate balance in our bodies, and probiotic strains of beneficial bacteria (whether consumed naturally via cultured dairy products like kefir or taken in via dietary supplement) can help improve the health profile of our gastrointestinal tracts. One clinical study after another has found that consuming probiotics not only contributes to the frontline of our immune systems, but also helps manage inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Bacillus coagulans, aka B. coagulans, is unique because while it is a lactic acid bacteria, unlike Lactobacillus and other bifidobacteria, it’s a spore-forming probiotic. This allows Bacillus coagulans to lie dormant under harsh conditions such as high amounts of stomach acid or antibiotic treatment. So, when other probiotics die off, Bacillus coagulans can survive and repopulate to help keep harmful bacteria in check even during your most vulnerable times.

Bacillus coagulans is included in the VeggieShake formula for this reason: among probiotics it’s one of the strongest. Where is it found naturally and what are the Bacillus coagulans health benefits? Read on to find out.

The health benefits of Bacillus coagulans.The Health Benefits of Bacillus Coagulans

Classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS list, Bacillus coagulans is found naturally in kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt. Bacillus coagulans is a beneficial gut bacterium that can be grown outside the body and consumed medicinally in probiotic shakes and supplements, but how exactly does it affect human health? Scientific studies have revealed the specifics.

1. Relief for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder of the large intestine that causes gas, bloating, cramping, abdominal pain, and sometimes constipation or diarrhea. A chronic, long-term condition, IBS is far too common, but Bacillus coagulans can help improve its symptoms, as shown in this 2014 study that found that Bacillus coagulans “improved abdominal pain and diarrhea in IBS patients” significantly over the placebo group.

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis Aid

Another condition that can be improved by Bacillus coagulans is rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a progressive chronic disease that causes inflammation in the joints, including the ankles, wrists, and the smaller joints in the feet and hands.

A 2010 study shows that when Bacillus coagulans is added to the standard medications of adults with RA, it can improve the symptoms of the disease and increase the movement abilities of patients, allowing them to participate more energetically in daily activities like walking. Researchers in the clinical trial also found that Bacillus coagulans reduced the inflammation marker C-reactive protein in the patients’ lab results, another sign of the anti-inflammatory abilities of this probiotic bacterium.

3. Reduce Gas and Constipation

Studies show that Bacillus coagulans can help relieve intestinal gas, flatulence, and stomach distention when ingested after a meal. Similarly, by improving the microbiome of the gut, Bacillus coagulans can also reduce the instances of constipation in those who experience it regularly. These types of digestive discomforts can derail your enjoyment of daily life, but they can potentially be neutralized with the introduction of Bacillus coagulans to your regular diet.

4. Prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea

Traveler’s diarrhea is an umbrella term describing the intestinal infections that can come from drinking contaminated water or food while traveling in developing parts of the world. By arming your gut’s community of bacteria with strong and vigilant defenders like Bacillus coagulans, you can prevent these opportunistic viruses from taking hold in the first place. Additionally, you can potentially keep in check the bad bacteria of the gut in circumstances like antibiotic treatment that can otherwise decimate the beneficial bacteria in your body.

5. Block Flu and Respiratory Tract Infection

The effect of Bacillus coagulans on the immune system of participants in this 2009 study revealed that it has an ability to increase the T-cell production response to adenovirus and influenza A exposure, strengthening the body’s ability to neutralize infectious contaminants before they detrimentally impact your health. Bacillus coagulans in practical terms is like a flu vaccine without the needle.

Potential Side Effects of Bacillus Coagulans

Any supplement that has such a strong impact on your body should be taken with care. Ask a health care professional before introducing it to your regimen if you are on any medications (especially immunosuppressant drugs), and keep in mind that probiotics in general can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Women who are pregnant or nursing are advised to avoid it only because there is not sufficient data to know the impact Bacillus coagulans may have on a pregnancy, but otherwise it’s considered generally safe. Be sure to listen to your body when introducing any new supplement: if it improves your condition, fantastic, but if it causes any ill effect, give it a pass.

Bringing Back Bacteria

We’re taught from an early age that bacteria and germs are bad, but there are some good bacteria out there, and Bacillus coagulans is one of them. The microorganisms in your gut both defend you from harmful bacteria and help strengthen the cells of your colon, potentially preventing the development of colon cancer. This is why we include the Bacillus coagulans probiotic strain in our health formulas here at VeggieShake, to help introduce the best kind of beneficial bacteria to your body.

Pectinase: An Optimal Enzyme for Digestive Health

Pectinase: the plant enzyme and food additive that helps improve gut health.

Pectic enzymes are a group of enzymes made up of polygalacturonase, pectozyme, and pectin lyase, with the most widely used and studied of commercial pectinases being polygalacturonase. Found naturally in plant materials, this enzyme has many benefits for your digestive health. Read on for the whats, hows, and whys!

What Is Pectinase?

Pectin is a polysaccharide molecule found in plant cell walls. Pectic substances are used in industrial applications to break down pectin, which helps to degum plant fibers, ferment coffees and teas, treat waste water, make paper and pulp products, and for retting (softening) hemp fibers and for fruit juice extraction from fruit purée to increase juice yield. It also reduces the cloudiness in juice and wine mixtures.

Pectinase enzyme production is done via solid-state fermentation (SSF), a harvesting practice that uses a solid medium to capture and culture enzymatic material from the cell wall components of plant tissues.

Not only does pectinase work as an industrial enzyme, but the food industry applications of pectinases can be quite beneficial to health, particularly gut health, and it is for this reason that pectinase is found in our VeggieShake formulas.

What Is Pectinase?

The Health Benefits of Pectinase

Found in fruits and vegetables and commonly used as a thickening agent in jellies and jams, pectinase (like the enzymes cellulase and hemicellulase) aids our digestion thanks to its prebiotic and nutritional contributions.

Prebiotics are foods containing dietary fiber that we can’t digest but our good gut bacteria can, strengthening the health of our gut flora and contributing directly to colon health. Pectinase as a digestive enzyme helps with the breakdown of that fiber.

In nature, pectinase is used to break down the pectin in cell walls to make them soft enough to be edible. For perspective, that’s essentially the difference between a hard green tomato and a soft but firmly ripe red one.

Like the amylase in our saliva, pectinase helps to start the digestion process early, and when that enzyme activity is harnessed for commercial applications in our food products, we’re able to absorb more nutrients and benefits from our food. Here are some scientific findings that show the health benefits of pectinolytic enzymes.

1. Promotes Healthy Gut Bacteria

The gut is one of the most active sites of immune system functioning. There is a constant balancing act going on between our good gut bacteria and harmful bacteria that will overgrow if not held in check. Those who have ever needed a strong course of antibiotics may know that the antibiotics wiping out your infection are also wiping out both the good and the bad bacteria indiscriminately. Often it’s the bad bacteria that comes back first, making the patient sick all over again.

One study found that apple pectin improved the pH condition of the gut, allowing beneficial bacteria to grow and thrive and increasing the production of specific short-chain fatty acids useful for colon health. While this was an animal study done on rat models, it’s nevertheless an indication of how pectin may benefit human digestion, because we have the same microbiota noted in the study. Rats and humans are vastly different, but the bacteria is not, and it thrives with the pectinase commonly found in food processing techniques.

2. Increases the Safety and Absorption of Plant Nutrients

Absorption is an extremely important component of digestion, because while you may be eating all the right foods, if there is a malabsorption issue once the food is consumed, you aren’t getting those nutrients. Absorption problems are ongoing for those with gut disorders like IBS, Crohn’s disease, or gastritis, but malabsorption can be an issue in anyone’s digestive tract. Vitamin D for example is needed to help calcium absorb, and if one of these nutrients is deficient, the other isn’t getting where it needs to be in your body. Creating the optimal conditions to maximize nutrient absorption is imperative, and pectinase can help with that.

One study showed that adding pectinase enzymes (among others like beta-glucanases, cellulases, and xylanases) to livestock animal feed allows for a better utilization of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Not only that, but pectinase enzymes used in food processing helps improve bacteria separation from leafy green vegetables, specifically isolating Salmonella from spinach and lettuce before we consume it.

Pectinase not only cleans our plants foods, but it also helps increase our ability to absorb their nutrients.

3. Improves Colon Health

By creating a flourishing environment for our gut bacteria, pectinase also contributes to colon health. When our beneficial gut bacteria are thriving, they produce short-chain fatty acids like butyrate that improve the health and functioning of our colon cells, including blood flow, permeability, and intestinal motility (independent movement). By improving these aspects of colon health, we’re better able to resist diseases, better able to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from our food, and better able to resist the absorption of more harmful elements like cholesterol, preventing some portion of it from entering the bloodstream in the first place.

Pectinase Nutrition Facts

Pectinase activity is often measured in foods as Apple Juice Depectinizing Units (AJDUs), which notes the hydrolysis (breakdown) of various polymers into sugars and short-chain molecules. A higher number of AJDUs means more enzyme activity.

A vegan source of pectinase can come from fermenting Aspergillus niger, a fungus that in nature blights plant foods like onions, peanuts, and various fruits, but in a laboratory setting can be isolated and harvested for its beneficial elements.

Protection with Pectinase

However it comes to your food, pectinase enzymes are plant compounds that improve the foods they’re used to process and benefit the gut health of those who consume them. That is why pectinase is a natural part of VeggieShake blends, and why you should welcome its inclusion in the ingredients list of your foods.

Phytase: The Key to Usable Phosphorus in Your Food

Phytase: the enzymatic key to digestible plant sources of phosphorus for humans.

Plant foods like seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes contain plenty of the nutrient phosphorus, but a great deal of it is locked up as phytic acid, which humans can’t digest. In order to release usable phosphorus from plant foods, you need an enzyme that can break it down. That enzyme is phytase, and it’s included in the VeggieShake formula for this very reason. Find out how it works, where it comes from, and why phytase activity and accessible phosphorus are so important for your health.

What Is Phytase?

A phytase is a type of enzyme with the ability to hydrolyze (break down) phytic acid, which is an organic form of phosphorus that is indigestible to humans and animals. When phytase breaks down phytic acid (which is found in oil seeds, grains like wheat bran, legumes, nuts, and some tubers and root vegetables), it releases a useable inorganic phosphorus that we can then absorb.

There are bacterial phytases like Escherichia coli phytase (E. coli) that upon review have proven to be more effective than fungal phytases like Aspergillus niger phytase (A. niger), but regardless of the phytase production origins it’s true that when microbial phytase is added to a diet, whether in human food or as an animal feed additive, it increases the breakdown of phytate and the release of usable plant phosphorus. How does this matter to your health? Read on to learn about the importance of phosphorus.

The Health Benefits and Plant Sources of Phosphorus

The addition of phytase is widely used as a feed enzyme in animal science for the diets of poultry (broilers raised for meat production) and pigs to help control phosphorus pollution from animal waste and increase phosphorus nutrient uptake in the animals.

Phytase is also included in our VeggieShake blends for about the same reason: phytase can improve the digestibility of plant foods and increase the mineral absorption and availability of phosphorus, amino acids (like histidine), and calcium in human nutrition too. Which plant foods contain phosphate groups and why is phytase enzyme activity so important for phosphorus utilization? We have the answers.

The Importance of Phosphorus

After calcium, phosphorus is the most plentiful mineral circulating in your body. It’s necessary for filtering waste through your digestive tract, and it’s needed for cell and tissue repair.

In the modern world, people are more likely to have too much phosphorus in their bodies than a phosphorus deficiency, which is closely related to calcium levels in the body (insufficient calcium can lead to excessive amounts of phosphorus). Too-low levels phosphorus can be caused by alcoholism, diabetes, or taking medications like antacids. Both of these situations are detrimental to human health, contributing to fatigue, joint pain, and heart disease.

Phosphorus helps us move our muscles, maintain strong bones and teeth, support kidney filtration, and keeps our heart beating regularly, among so much more.

Phosphorus Plant Foods

Humans are monogastric animals with just one gastrointestinal tract, the same as birds and dogs. The total phosphorus we receive is dependent on our digestive health. In animal nutrition that means either soybean meals or phytate-phosphorus supplementation, but for us it means getting a proper amount of foods containing phosphorus. Outside of animal foods like chicken, turkey, seafood, and organ meats, the plant sources of phosphorus include the following.

  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds: Full of inositol phosphates that under normal circumstances we cannot digest, these seeds consumed alongside phytase can cause useful phytate degradation and release phosphorus for absorption.
  • Nuts: Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, and pine nuts (among others) are active sites of phosphorus concentration, and much like seeds these nuts store their phosphorus in phytic acid that is indigestible to humans without an enzyme like phytase.
  • Whole grains: Rice, oats, wheat, and other whole grain foods cannot release phosphorus for human absorption without special treatment like soaking or germination, which employs the catalytic properties of acid phosphatases to help break down the storage form of phosphorus for human absorption.
  • Quinoabuckwheatand amaranth: These ancient pseudocereals are gluten-free sources of protein, important for those on a plant-based diet. They to contain myo-inositol hexakisphosphate phosphohydrolases which, like sodium phytates, need to be broken down before humans can effectively absorb their nutrient content.
  • Beans, lentils, and soy: Heart healthy and full of important protein, these legumes must be sprouted, soaked, or fermented to access their rich phosphorus reserves.

Foods with Added Phosphates

Because phosphorus is so hard to absorb from natural sources, digestible phosphates are added into foods and drinks like:

Phosphorus Needs

We all need some amount of phosphorus in our diets, from infants who only need 100 milligrams per day, to developing children who need as much as 1,250 milligrams each day, to grown adults who need a basic maintenance of at least 700 milligrams daily. While phosphorus is plentiful in our food, it requires a breakdown process to be accessible to us, and that is where an enzyme like phytase is needed.

Food Chem 101: Phytase Edition

Most people get the proper amount of phosphorus from the the foods they eat, but for vegetarians and vegans especially, it’s important to change organic non-digestible phosphorus into inorganic phosphate that can be absorbed by humans. Enzymatic phytase is the key to releasing these plant sources of phosphorus, which is why it’s a part of the VeggieShake formula to optimize dephosphorylation for the benefit of human nutrition and health.