What is clostridium butyricum (and how does it affect your health)?
Clostridium butyricum is a type of beneficial bacteria that can naturally be found in the gut microbiome.
An increasing amount of evidence suggests that this species of bacteria has the potential to protect us from a wide range of health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and even depression and anxiety.
Here, we explore what’s known about this small, but impactful, bacterium.
- Clostridium butyricum is a common type of bacteria found in soil and in the human gut
- It’s best known for its ability to produce butyrate—a molecule that helps people regulate their blood sugar levels, prompt serotonin release, and strengthen the gut barrier.
- When added to probiotics, Clostridium butyricum may help people manage conditions ranging from type 2 diabetes to depression and anxiety.
- Pendulum Glucose Control is a medical probiotic that contains safe strains of Clostridium butyricum and has been shown in a clinical trial to be both safe and effective at managing blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What are the benefits of clostridium butyricum?
- So how does clostridium butyricum work
- How to increase clostridia in the gut
- Final Thoughts
What are the benefits of clostridium butyricum?
Clostridium butyricum helps protect us from a wide range of health conditions, including:
In the next few sections, we’ll highlight some of the studies that demonstrate the many potential benefits of Clostridium butyricum.
Clostridium butyricum and diabetes
This was highlighted in 2017 when a team of researchers studied how Clostridium butyricum would affect mice that are prone to developing type 2 diabetes.
Researchers found that Clostridium butyricum had many promising effects on the mice, including:
- Reduced blood sugar levels
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Decreased levels of inflammation
- And a changed microbiome profile, showing a diversity of species that is typically associated with good health
This study came on the heels of previous research (published in 2016) that reported similar findings in mice who were prone to obesity and high blood sugar—both of which are common in type 2 diabetes.
Together, these studies suggest that Clostridium butyricum has potential to help people prevent type 2 diabetes.
But these studies were done in mice. What effect does Clostridium butyricum have in humans?
One group of researchers set out to explore this question by studying the gut microbiome 291 people with and without type 2 diabetes.
Researchers found that the 98 individuals with type 2 diabetes had, on average, almost half the amount of Clostridium butyricum compared to what was found in participants without type 2 diabetes.
This strongly suggests that the lack of Clostridium butyricum may leave people vulnerable to type 2 diabetes.
Another recent clinical trial sought to evaluate what benefits could come from restoring multiple bacteria species, including Clostridium butyricum, in the gut microbiome of people with type 2 diabetes.
Pendulum Glucose Control—a medical probiotic that contains Clostridium butyricum—was given to 23 adults with type 2 diabetes for 12 weeks, after which researchers took several measurements related to blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.
The results showed that Clostridium butyricum—in combination with the 4 other bacterial species in Pendulum Glucose Control—reduced blood A1C measurements by as much as 0.6% and reduced blood sugar spikes by 33%.
Though research is ongoing, the evidence so far suggests that Clostridium butyricum plays a protective role in the gut and can be used to help manage type 2 diabetes.
Clostridium butyricum for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Clostridium butyricum may also help defend against Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
IBS is a condition where a person feels severe discomfort or pain in their gut and it often comes with constipation, diarrhea, or both.
The potential beneficial impact of Clostridium butyricum on IBS was spotlighted in a 2018 clinical trial in which 200 patients with IBS were given either Clostridium butyricum or placebo for four weeks.
The severity of their symptoms were tallied up at the beginning of the study and after 4 weeks of treatment.
Clostridium butyricum treatment led to 50% more improvement in overall symptoms compared to placebo, showing an even stronger effect in those experiencing moderate to severe symptoms.
The specific effect of Clostridium butyricum on various symptoms has varied from study to study, but an overall trend has shown that Clostridium butyricum is likely to improve patients’ quality of life.
Clostridium butyricum and anxiety
The benefits of Clostridium butyricum may also extend to treating anxiety and depression.
Between 2008 and 2010, researchers assessed whether Clostridium butyricum could help to reduce some of the anxiety that patients feel prior to cancer related-surgery.
After 14 days of treatment with Clostridium butyricum, patients showed significantly lower levels of a stress hormone (referred to as CRF) and reported almost 50% less anxiety relative to patients treated with placebo.
There’s also evidence from other studies that Clostridium butyricum may help alleviate symptoms of depression.
In 2018, 40 people with major depressive disorder (who were also taking antidepressants) were given either Clostridium butyricum or a placebo.
After 8 weeks, the vast majority of patients who took Clostridium butyricum reported a 50% decrease in depressive symptoms compared to those who were given a placebo.
Clostridium butyricum, the immune system, and inflammation
Regardless of whether the study was focused on Clostridium butyricum’s effect in allergic reactions, type 2 diabetes, or obesity, each study reported a reduction in various inflammatory signals after the mice took Clostridium butyricum.
So how does clostridium butyricum work?
Clostridium butyricum’s wide ranging effects on the body come from its ability to convert dietary fiber into butyrate.
Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that’s known to:
- Reduce inflammation
- Boost your immune system
- Manage blood sugar levels
- Improve sleep
- Improve memory
- Fuel your gut cells
- Strengthen your gut barrier (and prevent ‘leaky gut’ syndrome)
Without butyrate, our bodies would have a much harder time in keeping inflammation levels low and preventing pathogens from entering our blood through the gut lining.
But because our body isn’t able to produce any butyrate on its own, it depends on microbes like Clostridium butyricum to produce butyrate for us.
How to increase clostridia in the gut
Research has shown that taking probiotics containing Clostridium butyricum is the most effective way to increase c. butyricum levels in our gut.
And while there are natural sources of Clostridium butyricum—such as soil, certain vegetables, and spoiled dairy products—there’s no evidence suggesting that a certain food or diet would help increase Clostridium butyricum levels.
Clostridium butyricum probiotics
For people looking to supplement their diet with a Clostridium butyricum probiotic, there are several options.
One of them is Pendulum Glucose Control.
The results showed that treatment with Pendulum Glucose Control resulted in improved measures of blood glucose and A1C levels.
How many CFUs of clostridium butyricum should you take?
There is no set number for the amount of Clostridium butyricum that should be taken.
If you are looking for guidance, consider talking with your healthcare provider and not exceeding the amount suggested by the probiotic manufacturer.
Over the past decade, scientists have come to see Clostridium butyricum as an important part of the gut microbiome with significant potential as a probiotic.
Research is ongoing, but the evidence so far suggests that Clostridium butyricum may be able to help people manage a wide range of conditions, from type 2 diabetes to depression.
For those looking to boost their Clostridium butyricum levels, probiotics are currently the only demonstrated method for increasing Clostridium butyricum in the human gut microbiome.
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