Nearly 70% of our immune system resides in the gut. The goal of adding in probiotics is to promote a balanced microbiome, with a predominant population of beneficial bacteria and strengthen the gut lining. An imbalanced microbiome disrupts overall health and is associated with many undesirable GI symptoms in IBD and IBS. Using probiotics has been gaining popularity, with an increasing amount of scientific research to back up the health benefits. Unlike traditional probiotics that include strains of the lactobacilli and bifidobacteria species, spore-based bacteria are of the bacillus family (Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans).
These soil based organisms found in dirt and vegetation, are delivered to the gut as dormant spores, making them extremely stable and resistant to the stomach acid, enzymes and bile. Our natural consumption of these organisms has decreased with the shift to a more calorie-rich, nutrient-poor diet vs a high fermented, plant based diet.
One benefit of probiotics is the ability to support tight junctions in the gut mucosal lining. Without these tight junctions between cells, the lining becomes more and more permeable, allowing undigested food, toxins, and other molecules to enter into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream these toxins stimulate a highly potent and damaging inflammatory response, which has been shown to be the root cause of the vast majority of chronic diseases.
Research has shown that the Bacillus strains significantly decreased the level of endotoxins in the bloodstream. In addition to decreasing endotoxins, spore biotics produce many beneficial and potent antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds. These go to work in the intestinal tract to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. This is consistent with other findings that show that spore-based probiotics support:
- Healthy digestion and bowel regularity
- Microbial diversity and balance
- Balanced inflammatory response
- Healthy immune function
Spore based probiotics can still be used in combination with traditional probiotics. However, for patients with intestinal permeability concerns, greater outcomes will come from using the spore biotics first. We use both spore based and traditional probiotics in our 17 week GI Repair and Restoration Program.