Evidence Based
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Top 3+ Health Benefits of Clostridium butyricum Probiotics

Written by Puya Yazdi, MD | Last updated:
Jonathan Ritter
Medically reviewed by
Jonathan Ritter, PharmD, PhD (Pharmacology) | Written by Puya Yazdi, MD | Last updated:

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Note that each number in parentheses [1, 2, 3, etc.] is a clickable link to peer-reviewed scientific studies. A plus sign next to the number “[1+, 2+, etc...]” means that the information is found within the full scientific study rather than the abstract.

C. butyricum

Clostridium butyricum is a potentially beneficial gut bacterium that may promote gut health and suppress H. pylori, but there may be some safety concerns. Learn more here.

What is Clostridium butyricum?

Clostridium butyricum is a butyric acid-producing, Gram-positive bacteria found in soil and the intestines of healthy animals and humans [1].

Butyrate (butyric acid) is a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) that serves as energy for colonic epithelial cells, plays a key role in maintaining gut immunological homeostasis, and exerts anti-inflammatory effect [2].

Furthermore, butyrate is not restricted to the intestinal tract but can be disseminated systemically and is detected in the brain. Butyrate in the brain can exert neuroprotective effects on neurodegenerative disorders and improve behavioral deficits via the inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDACs) [3].

Clinical research about C. butyricum is still pretty limited, but you can check out the benefits of butyrate here.

C. butyricum has been used as a probiotic for non-antimicrobial induced diarrhea, antimicrobial-associated diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome [1].

Tablets containing C. butyricum were approved from the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare for human clinical use since 1970 [1] and are widely used in Asia.

Health Benefits of C. butyricum

C. butyricum probiotic supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use. Supplements generally lack solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.

Possibly Effective For

1) Gut Health

Diarrhea

Concomitant administration of C. butyricum with antibiotics normalizes the intestinal microbiota, prevents the decrease of Bifidobacteria, effectively prevented antibiotic-associated diarrhea in 110 children [4].

IBD

In 80 ulcerative colitis (UC) patients with food allergy, specific immunotherapy (SIT) and C. butyricum significantly improved UC clinical symptoms, reduced the use of UC-control medicines, and suppressed the Th2 response [5].

Probiotic therapy with C. butyricum achieved favorable results with minimal side effects in 17 pouchitis in patients with UC who had undergone ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) [6].

Mouse Studies

C. butyricum prevents acute colitis in mice through induction of IL-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokine [7].

C. butyricum effectively prevents bloody diarrhea and mucosal damage in rats with IBD, with or without prebiotics [8, 9].

C. butyricum increases Lactobacilli and Eubacterium, increases n-butyrate, propionate, and acetate concentrations, and alleviates colitis in rats [10].

Treatment with C. butyricum is at least as efficient as treatment with mesalamine in rats with colitis [11].

C. butyricum beneficially modifies the intestinal microbiota in mice by increasing Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli and reducing the populations of unwanted bacteria [12].

C. butyricum increased survival in E. coli infected mice [13].

Insufficient Evidence For

The following purported benefits are only supported by limited, low-quality clinical studies. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of C. butyricum probiotics for any of the below-listed uses. Remember to speak with a doctor before taking probiotics, and never use them in place of something your doctor recommends or prescribes.

2) H. pylori

The combined use of C. butyricum reduced the changes in the intestinal flora and decreased the incidence of gastrointestinal side effects in patients going through H. pylori eradication therapy [1].

C. butyricum prevented the side effects of H. pylori eradication therapy, including antibiotic-associated diarrhea, in 19 patients [14].

C. butyricum inhibited the growth of H. pylori and eradicated persistent H. pylori infection in mice [15].

C. butyricum alleviated gastric mucosal damage and ameliorates symptoms in mice with gastric ulcers, through its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities. This bacterium alleviates oxidative stress by increasing the activity of superoxide dismutase and catalases and decreasing malondialdehyde levels [16, 17].

3) Allergies

C. butyricum improved asthma and serum specific IgE in the patients treated with specific immunotherapy (SIT), increases IL-10, and converts antigen-specific B cells to regulatory B cells [18].

C. butyricum markedly enhanced the efficacy of SIT on allergic rhinitis in 158 patients with allergies [19].

Administration of C. butyricum enforced the inhibitory effect of SIT on allergic inflammation in the mouse intestine [20].

Animal & Cell Research (Lacking Evidence)

No clinical evidence supports the use of C. butyricum for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.

4) Neuroprotection

C. butyricum restores butyrate in the brain, increases BDNF levels, reduces neuronal cell death, and significantly attenuates the cognitive dysfunction and histopathological changes in mice with vascular dementia [3].

C. butyricum exerts neuroprotective effects against ischemia/reperfusion injury in mice through antioxidant and anti-apoptotic (cell-death-preventing) mechanisms, and by increasing butyrate contents in the brain [21].

C. butyricum attenuates cognitive impairment, cell damage and prevents cell death in diabetic mice with cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury [22].

5) Obesity

C. butyricum reduced fat accumulation in liver and blood, lowered insulin levels and improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in obese mice. Furthermore, C. butyricum administration ameliorated GI and fat tissue inflammation [2].

C. butyricum can reduce lipogenesis (fat production) through its metabolites such as butyrate [23].

6) Liver Health

C. butyricum increases cholesterol degrading enzymes and improves non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in rats on a high-fat diet [24].

7) Immunity

C. butyricum stimulates IgA, IgM and IgG production and activates local immunity in mice [25].

Cancer Research

Heat-inactivated C. butyricum displays antitumor activity against sarcoma in mice [26] and inhibits the metastasis of melanoma by stimulating natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxic activity [27].

Furthermore, in mice, co-treatment with C. butyricum and Bacillus subtilis inhibits the development of colorectal cancer [16].

C. butyricum was also shown to kill bladder cancer cells. However, cell studies very rarely have any relevance for cancer therapies in animals or humans [28].

Mechanism of Effect

Researchers have investigated the potential mechanisms of C. butyricum’s benefits in cell and animal studies. They have found that this probiotic:

Safety

Note that not all C. butyricum strains are safe for consumption. Whereas non-toxigenic strains are currently used as probiotics in Asia, other strains have been implicated in pathological conditions, such as botulism in infants or necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm neonates [30].

C. butyricum MIYAIRI 588 (or CBM 588) are safe for use as a probiotic in humans [31].

To avoid adverse effects, talk to your doctor before using C. butyricum probiotics.

About the Author

Puya Yazdi

Puya Yazdi

MD
Dr. Puya Yazdi is a physician-scientist with 14+ years of experience in clinical medicine, life sciences, biotechnology, and nutraceuticals.
As a physician-scientist with expertise in genomics, biotechnology, and nutraceuticals, he has made it his mission to bring precision medicine to the bedside and help transform healthcare in the 21st century.He received his undergraduate education at the University of California at Irvine, a Medical Doctorate from the University of Southern California, and was a Resident Physician at Stanford University. He then proceeded to serve as a Clinical Fellow of The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine at The University of California at Irvine, where he conducted research of stem cells, epigenetics, and genomics. He was also a Medical Director for Cyvex Nutrition before serving as president of Systomic Health, a biotechnology consulting agency, where he served as an expert on genomics and other high-throughput technologies. His previous clients include Allergan, Caladrius Biosciences, and Omega Protein. He has a history of peer-reviewed publications, intellectual property discoveries (patents, etc.), clinical trial design, and a thorough knowledge of the regulatory landscape in biotechnology.He is leading our entire scientific and medical team in order to ensure accuracy and scientific validity of our content and products.

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