What are Spore-Based Probiotics? Let’s Dig in!

I’m sure the vast majority of us have had at least one family member who used to eat sand. I’m not talking about mud pies, or playing pretend, no, just straight-forward handfuls of soil. Now before we question little Johnny’s acquired taste, he might have been onto something. 

What Johnny may have eaten and added to his diet, are tiny organisms that may have benefitted his overall health. Let’s read on and discover more...A close up of a lady kneeling, her hands holding farm soil seeping through her fingers containing spore-based probiotics.


Spore-based probiotics
or SBOs ( Soil-based organisms)  are the names given to these tiny organisms found naturally occurring in the soil. These SBOs can survive in harsh conditions and have a natural resistance to stomach acid, making
spore-based probiotics a perfect choice when dealing with our digestive tract.

In today’s fast-paced world, filled with fast foods and processed meals, gut disorders are common and sadly almost becoming the norm. It’s most likely either you, a family member or a friend has been prescribed some form of probiotics or are currently taking them. 

Spore-based probiotics colonizing habits, resilience to stomach acid and resistance to heat and light, it's no surprise they are fast becoming the probiotic of choice. Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why...

WHAT ARE SPORE-BASED PROBIOTICS?

“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.

MAHATMA GANDHI, Indian activist.

Before today’s modern technologies and various sterilization techniques and farming methods, it was only natural to see some soil on the foods we produced or picked. SBOs were abundant in our daily lives, whether it was in the fresh produce we harvested or simply from the water we drank from fresh springs or wells.

Our gut was exposed to a wide variety of these different species of spore-based probiotics and unless we are consuming our own homegrown, or at least organic raw produce, very little of these bacteria are left on the foods we are eating.

As opposed to the conventional probiotics, which recolonize the gut by reproducing and forming a stable, replicating population, you have to marvel at spore-based probiotics.

Remarkably spore-based probiotics :

  • Recondition the gut by increasing microbial diversity.
  • They promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.
  • They stay in the gut between 21-28 days, where they utilize quorum sensing (the sharing of information between individual bacteria within colonies to coordinate colony-wide activity) to understand their microbial environment and identify pathogenic and beneficial bacteria.
  • They can destroy harmful gut bacteria and produce metabolites that encourage the regrowth of helpful bacteria.
  • Their bacteria spores leave your body through your faeces about 21-28 days after entering and go back to their dormant state.

Spore-based probiotics or soil-based probiotics are made from soil bacteria and contain endospores. These endospores encase the probiotic strains and are highly resistant to stomach acid. Unlike many other probiotics on the market, this evolution allows spore-based probiotics to survive the journey in our digestive tract potentially resulting in better delivery of probiotics to the intestines.

So how do these SBOs protect themselves?

Think of your SBOs as a tortoise with his thick exterior shell. When the tortoise is threatened he simply retreats into the safety of his shell. Once his surroundings have become safe again, he simply exits his shell and once more becomes active.

Just like that tortoise, when the environment becomes unfavourable, such as the heat stored on a store shelf, or our harsh stomach acids, these bacteria go through sporulation. This multi-step process causes the cell to divide within itself creating an endospore. This endospore contains all the active material from the active cell and is released once the vegetative cell degrades.

So while these SBOs remain inactive within their shells in unfavourable conditions such as the store shelf, or within your supplement bottle. Research on spore-based probiotics reveals that within 8 minutes of the bacilli attaching themselves to your intestinal epithelium, these SBOs become active and start colonizing within the large intestine. 

Unlike many other probiotics on the market, this evolution allows spore-based probiotics to survive the journey in our digestive tract potentially resulting in better delivery of probiotics to our intestines where they are needed most.

WHAT ARE SPORE-BASED PROBIOTICS GOOD FOR?

Spore-based probiotics support tight junctions in the stomach lining. Without these tight junctions, the intestine becomes permeable and allows molecules to enter the bloodstream that should be contained in our GI tract. This intestinal permeability often due to inflammation is known as "leaky gut." A 2017 study concluded that spore-based probiotics reduced the symptoms of "leaky gut syndrome."

Probiotics are generally known for gut health, but a healthy gut leads to benefits way beyond just appropriate bowel movements. Healthy digestive systems have been linked to improved immune response and mental health.

Probiotics that are spore-based have the following benefits:

  • Helping cognitive function in the elderly Over recent years, the link between cognitive function and healthy gut microbiota has been observed, especially in the elderly. Currently, studies into probiotics have shown a premise that may improve cognitive function, highly beneficial to the elderly population.

  • Improving IBS Probiotics have been shown to improve the symptoms of IBS, namely fighting inflammation, slowing down bowel movements, reducing gas production by balancing gut flora, and enhancing the immune system's barrier functions.

  • Decreasing leaky gut syndrome The imbalance of the flora in the gut can cause a leaky gut. By restoring the gut environment and rebalancing microbiota, spore forming probiotics can help repair your gut lining.

  • Treating diarrhoea Studies have shown probiotics to improve antibiotic-associated diarrhoea as well as to provide relief from travellers’ diarrhoea.

  • Improving post-exercise muscle soreness  The spore-based probiotic strain Bacillus coagulans has been studied for assisting in the recovery time of sore muscles.

  • Decreasing incidence of respiratory tract infection  Research studies of spore-based probiotics administered to elderly adults showed positive effects on the immune system to decrease infections.

  • Improving your Gut-Brain Connection The gut-brain axis refers to chemical and physical connections between your gut and brain. Millions of nerves and neurons travel between the gut and brain; however, many of these neurotransmitters and other chemicals which affect your brain, are produced in the gut. Studies have found that by altering the bacteria in your gut, you may be able to improve your overall brain health. These probiotics have been likely named ″psychobiotics″ and have been shown to improve cases of stress, depression, and anxiety.

 

WHY IS A HEALTHY GUT IMPORTANT FOR THE BODY AND MIND?

A chalk drawing showing the brain titled "Your Mood" with an double sided arrow connecting the gut filled with probiotic strains titled "Your Gut bacteria".


The importance of a healthy gut microbiome can not be ignored and researchers and health practitioners are doing their best to educate consumers. There are more immune cells in your gut than anywhere else in the body 
70% of the immune system is located in the gut.

Most chronic diseases can not only be associated with dysfunction of the gut but can be greatly reduced through dietary corrections, namely dementia, Parkinson’s diabetes type II, rheumatoid arthritis, and Lupus.

Currentlystudies are examining the benefits of probiotics for both oral and dermatological health. As mentioned above we see how important a healthy gut is to a healthy state of mind.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A PROBIOTIC IS SPORE-BASED?

Spore-based probiotics begin with the word "Bacillus" namely Bacillus subtilis HU58, Bacillus coagulans SC208 and Bacillus clausii SC109.  However further studies and research in 2009 By Dr. Hong ( London University, Royal Holloway) show that the concentration of Bacillus endospores in the human gut are found in higher concentrations than natively found in the soil. 

This suggests that although bacillus endospores use the soil as a means of transport from host to host, their actual home is located within the gut itself. Any strains listed without "Bacillus" at the start of them, are non-spore and the more "fragile" bacteria, likely to perish in our stomach acid. This is because the probiotic strain itself is not encased in an outer shell (the endospores in spore-based probiotics) making them very delicate and easily destroyed.

Bacillus subtilis HU58

Professor Simon Cutting of Royal Holloway University ( why this spore-based strain carries the letters HU), was the spore expert who first isolated Bacillus subtilis HU58 from the human microbiome. At Royal Holloway College of University London, Prof. Simon Cutting and his team have studied Bacillus subtilis strain HU58 extensively and in detail. There has been extensive research on the genetics and physiological properties of Bacillus subtilis. Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) manufactures it under license.

This spore-based probiotic strain treats digestive disorders, antibiotic-induced diarrhoea, ulcerative colitis, bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and candida vaginal infections. Moreover, it can add nutritional benefits to a wide variety of foods (biscuits, bread, dairy products, etc. ), supplements (tablets, capsules), and beverages.

Several studies have demonstrated greater sporulation and germination efficiency with HU58TM. Despite its stability at extreme pH levels and high temperatures, it is resistant to desiccation, antibiotics, and even the stomach's environment.

What was previously known as Vibrio subtilis (in 1835), then renamed Bacillus subtilis in 1872. It is one of the most recognized bacterial organisms and produces endospores enabling it to persist in harsh environments of heat, acid, and salt. Studies have shown it to have strong immune system benefits. In the 1950’s it was used as a basis for topical antibiotics in the treatment of abrasions.

Bacillus clausii

For over 55 years Bacillus clausii is resistant to both physical and chemical conditions (due to its endospores) It is the most widely used spore-based strain worldwide and is highly resistant to most antibiotics during antibiotics treatment.

Bacillus coagulans

Bacillus coagulans produce lactic acid and are often misclassified as lactobacillus, however, unlike its counterpart, Bacillus coagulans form spores, making them robust and able to stand against extreme environments such as high levels of acid in the stomach. Studies have shown this spore-based probiotic strain relieves symptoms of IBS, such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and constipation. 

A small study also showed this spore-based strain lessens the disability of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and improves their daily activities such as long walks. It can be found in natural food sources such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and yoghurt.  Another small study showed increased immune system response upon supplementation of Bacillus coagulans.

 

SPORE-BASED PROBIOTICS VS PROBIOTICS  

An glass bottle lays open exposing probiotics capsules to the light.

 

The main concern with these traditional probiotic strains is their limited shelf life. We may all be aware of the fragile state of normal probiotics as the labels often tell us to keep them cool or refrigerated; keep away from direct light and protect from moisture. So be very aware that your kitchen and bathroom cabinets with possible changes in temperature and moisture are not ideal places to store them.   

Many traditional probiotic supplements start degrading after manufacture, which results in a much lower number of live organisms at the actual time of purchase. Always look for probiotics that ensure CFU count (colony forming unit) at expiry, rather than manufacture time.

The second concern is that most traditional probiotics are vulnerable to stomach acid meaning they never make it into the GI tract where they are most effective.

Reasons why they may be superior to their counterparts.

  1. Spore-based probiotic supplements have a natural ability to protect themselves from the harsh environment of the stomach. With their seed-like shape spore probiotics are more resilient to our digestive enzymes, bile acids and stomach acid. It gives you peace of mind knowing that they will be fully alive and active for colonizing the gut when they reach your large intestine.

  2. SBOs are also heat and light resistant unlike many of their traditional counterparts, making them shelf-stable. This natural resistance makes spore-based probiotics the ideal choice, for those of us who travel constantly, or always on the go.

  3. Spore forming probiotics don’t require any preservatives or synthetic coatings, unlike their traditional counterparts. Their natural spore structure preserves the probiotic until it reaches the lower intestine, where the bacteria then becomes active.

  4. Spore-based probiotics recondition the gut by improving microbial diversity and by promoting beneficial bacteria. Conventional probiotics reproduce and form a stable population but spore-based probiotics go one step further.

  5. Spore-based probiotics are likely more effective for treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, also known as SIBO since they do not colonize the small intestine and remain dormant until they reach the large intestine. Since spore-based probiotics don't feed the native bacteria in the small intestine, SIBO symptoms won't be worsened.

ARE SPORE-BASED PROBIOTICS SAFE?

If you are of good health and you are reasonably fit you could give spore-based probiotics a try as the strains that feature in our supplement are well-researched ones.

Spore-based probiotics colonize very quickly and are far more resilient than their traditional counterparts. They have even shown resistance to most antibiotics.  While all these benefits can act in your favour, if you are immune-compromised this may not agree with your microbiome.

Due to their resilient nature, it may be difficult to flush SBOs from your system. People with dysbiosis or a compromised gut may need to stick to more traditional probiotic strains.

When selecting a spore-based probiotic supplement, it is very important to consider the specific strains of bacteria before making your choice. We have taken the utmost care ensuring all our spore-based strains are listed for the consumer, and that only well-researched strains namely, bacillus coagulans, bacillus subtilis, and bacillus clausii were used. Be wary of trusting brands that will not disclose which strains they are using, on the product labels.

Although most studies show safety in infants, these studies point to use in healthy infants and no medical body has endorsed their use for this age group. Please speak to your healthcare practitioner before considering them.

Even our four-legged friends are trying to get their paws onto spore-based or soil-based probiotics. Maybe that's why our dogs pull up our grass so often. Although they are safe for use in pets and will provide the benefits that probiotics do, they may benefit more from species-specific supplements. It is noted that bacteria that are specific to dogs can coexist with similar strains that are present in human supplements.

SPORE-BASED PROBIOTICS THE SIDE-EFFECTS AND RISKS

Although probiotics are considered safe for most people, the most commonly reported side effects are gas and bloating, with the more severe reaction being abdominal pain. If any of these symptoms are experienced, reduce your intake and gradually increase it again over time.

As with any form of supplementation, always consult with your healthcare practitioner before use. Consult with your family paediatrician before starting use in your children and avoid use in premature infants.

Due to their nature spore-based probiotics might not be recommended in those with chronic illness or weakened Immune systems.

It is recommended that you take your spore-based probiotics with food to help them germinate in the intestine.

IN CONCLUSION

“Essentially, all life depends upon soil… There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.

DR. CHARLES E KELLOGG, Soil Scientist and Chief of USDA’s Bureau for Chemistry and Soils.

For millennia, humans, and the human gut, in particular, have been exposed to spore-based probiotics. Modern lifestyles, unsustainable farming practices, and the potential risk of contracting diseases ( such as listeria, E.coli, salmonella) from contaminated or commercially grown vegetables, have virtually eliminated our exposure to these beneficial microorganisms.

As we age, we can all appreciate the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome and reaping the benefits thereof. Spore-based probiotics ensures that we give our bodies back those healthy microorganisms that were always naturally present in your gut.

Pay close attention to our virtual store, for our soon-to-be-released Spore-Based Probiotic supplement containing Bacillus subtilis HU58, Bacillus coagulans SC208, and Bacillus clausii SC109

Spore-based probiotics will provide you with a probiotic packed with heat-stable components, stomach acid resistant, and shelf-stable. You can rest assured that they will offer you high bioavailability ensuring that you get your recommended daily dose. 

So, isn’t it time you get Spore-Based probiotics and dig in?

The content of this article is for informational purposes only.
It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or health provider before starting a new health regime or program.
Do not ignore medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you’ve read on this site or any Youth & Earth product.