B. subtilis is a probiotic with antioxidant properties and with beneficial effects on the GI tract and the immune system.
What is Bacillus subtilis?
Bacillus subtilis is a spore creating Gram-positive bacterium, found in soil and the gastrointestinal tract of ruminants, such as cattle, goats, and sheep. It is also found in the human GI tract.
Bacillus subtilis can survive in harsh environmental conditions. Its spores can survive up to 6 years in space if coated by dust particles protecting it from solar UV rays .
This bacterium is widely used on an industrial scale by biotechnology companies, for the production of enzymes, pharmaceutical components, and GMOs. As a human probiotic, however, Bacillus subtilis has been somewhat neglected.
Bacillus subtilis cultures were popular worldwide before the introduction of antibiotics when Bacillus subtilis was used as an immunostimulatory agent to aid the treatment of gastrointestinal and urinary tract diseases. After the 1950s, with the introduction of antibiotics, this probiotic declined in popularity.
On the other hand, Bacillus subtilis has been extensively used in the livestock and poultry industries as antibiotic alternatives .
Bacillus subtilis is used in the commercial production of the Japanese food natto, as well as the similar Korean food cheonggukjang. Furthermore, a formulation containing a combination of Enterococcus faecium and Bacillus subtilis has been available and widely used in Asia since 1994 .
Health Benefits of B. subtilis
1) Has Antioxidant Properties
B. subtilis has DNA protective and antioxidant (superoxide scavenging) activity .
A B. subtilis signal molecule induces the heat shock protein Hsp27 in mammalian cells, which protects intestinal cells against oxidant-mediated tissue damage and loss of barrier function .
2) May Be Beneficial in Obesity
3) May be Beneficial in Diabetes
Diabetic patients who develop foot ulcers are at more risk of dying prematurely than those without the complication. B. subtilis shows antimicrobial activity against four diabetic foot ulcer bacterial pathogens .
4) Is Beneficial for the GI Tract
B. subtilis Beneficially Modifies Gut Microbiota
B. subtilis Relieves Constipation
B. subtilis Ameliorates Diarrhea
B. subtilis significantly reduced the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in patients, and prevented nausea, bloating, vomiting and abdominal pain .
In one of the Asian clinical trials, a mixture of E. faecium and B. subtilis improved abdominal pain, distention, and fever in patients with acute diarrhea. However, most of the trials did not find a significant difference with these probiotics in acute diarrhea treatment .
Results were more encouraging in chronic diarrhea patients, where a significant increase in Bifidobacteria levels following therapy was observed. Treatments also prevented diarrhea relapse .
B. subtilis May be Beneficial in IBS
B. subtilis together with E. faecium significantly reduced the severity and frequency of abdominal pain in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in a single Asian clinical trial, however other results are not as convincing, and further studies are needed .
B. subtilis is Beneficial in IBD
In Asian studies involving patients with ulcerative colitis, the addition of a B. subtilis probiotic significantly reduced the number of days with bloody stool, led to complete remission without relapse, and significantly increased the efficacy of mesalazine or sulfasalazine therapy .
A higher dose of B. subtilisis administration ameliorated dysbiosis and gut inflammation by balancing beneficial and harmful bacteria and associated anti- and pro-inflammatory cytokines in mice .
B. subtilis reduces inflammation and suppresses colitis in rats .
5) Is Beneficial in H. pylori therapy
B. subtilis containing probiotics improved H. pylori eradication and decreased diarrhea and total side effects when used in conjunction with triple therapy .
6) Boosts Immunity
B. subtilis spores stimulate the immune response when co-administered with a vaccine for papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) in mice .
7) Combats Infections
B. subtilis inhibits disease transmission in patients with acute non-typhoid Salmonella gastroenteritis .
Metabolites of B. subtilis decrease the resistance of urogenital pathogenic microflora to antibiotics in patients with urinary tract infections, resulting in accelerated elimination .
Spores of B. subtilis attenuate the symptoms of Clostridium difficile infection in mice .
B. subtilis suppresses infection and enteropathy in suckling mice infected with C. rodentium .
8) May be Beneficial in Liver Disorders
B. faecium and B. subtilis shift the intestinal microbiota of patients with liver cirrhosis back towards levels observed in healthy subjects. These probiotics also reduce circulating endotoxin levels in cirrhotic patients with endotoxemia .
9) May Benefit the Skin
Continuous oral administration of B. subtilis alleviates the development of skin lesions in mice with atopic dermatitis .
10) May be Beneficial for Dental Health
Bacillus subtilis reduces periodontal pathogens in humans .
Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis supplementation provided a protective effect against bone loss in rats with periodontitis .
11) May Alleviates Heat Stress
Exposure to extreme heat can cause illnesses and injuries. Bacillus. subtilis was effective in the prevention of complications related to heat stress in rats. When rats were subjected to heat stress (45 °C), adverse effects such as morphological changes in the intestine, bacterial translocation, elevated levels of LPS and IL-10, and increased vesiculation of erythrocytes were observed only in animals not protected with B. subtilis .
12) May Combat Cancer
Components of Bacillus subtilis inhibit colon cancer cell growth [30, 31], hepatocellular cancer cell growth , cervix carcinoma cell growth , and the growth of human leukemia cells  in laboratory experiments.
- Increases IL-8, IL-12  and TGF-β .
- Mostly increases IL-10 [14, 13, 15] (a study where IL-10 is decreased: .
- Increases IgA [20, 17] and IgG .
- Decreases IL-4 , CXCL-1 .
- Both decreases [13, 15] and increases IL-6 .
- Both decreases  and increases TNF-α .
- Both decreases  and increases IL-1β .
- Both decreases  and increases IFN-γ .
- Increases ACP, LDH, NO, and iNOS .
- Decreases glutathione reductase (GR), xanthine oxidase (XO), heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90), and lipid synthesis gene 3β-hydroxysteroid-∆24 reductase (DHCR24) .
- Decreases glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (GOT), and glutamic pyruvic transaminase (GPT) activities .
Bacillus subtilis is safe and well tolerated by healthy adults [36, 37]. However, its use in rare cases can lead to bacteremia (infection) , hepatotoxicity  and heavy exposure to spores can cause allergic asthma .
Buy B. subtilis
A probiotic product containing B. subtilis:
- Probiotics (prescript assist) – great for IBS