digestive health

Spore-forming probiotics and postbiotics

by Bruce Polack, Pure Integrative Pharmacy Corporate Trainer

researcher looks into microscope in clean and light lab


It seems every few months, new discoveries are being made in the natural health field. When I get asked about the most current new products, I have to say, it’s spore-forming probiotics and postbiotics. 

These are exiting new tools we now have available to us, for severe IBS, uncontrollable diarrhea, and highly immune compromised systems. 

Spore-forming probiotics could be called spore form probiotics. These probiotics are found naturally in spore form. Spores form can be thought of as a seed that can sit for years in the soil, until the environment is correct for it to sprout and grow. 

As with spore-forming probiotics, the spore form is protected from the stomach acids, temperature changes, and digestive enzymes until it reaches the small intestine. The small intestine has the correct number of sugars, amino acids and purines (common chemical compounds found in foods and drink) for the spore to germinate and grow. 

Some probiotics have as little as a 5% survival rate, because of the stomach acids, and digestive enzymes. 

Spore-forming probiotics are beneficial in many ways; they eat the same food as many of the bad bacteria, therefore limiting the resources for the pathogenic bacteria to grow. They create an anaerobic (oxygen free,) as well as an acidic state where the probiotics can thrive, and the bad bacteria cannot. 

The spore-forming bacteria Bacillus Coagluans, is a well-known antimicrobial, antibacterial compound, it works as a natural antibiotic that only targets the bad bacteria in the gut. Bacillus Coagluans also prevents dybisoisis and related issues, ie diarrhea, with antibiotics use. 

Bacillus Coagulans can also promote digestion, increase nutrient absorption, and reduce inflammation by producing a variety of enzymes and Short Chain Fatty Acids necessary for healthy digestion. 

There are many issues this strain of probiotic can help with, constipation (including gas and bloating,) IBS in adults and children. Improved protein absorption, as well as improved exercise recovery, to name a few. 

Spore-forming probiotics are transient strains of bacteria, (they totally leave the body in 7 days, excreted through the feces,) yet they only need to be taken for a limited amount of time in order to realize the benefits. 

After 1-3 months, it’s recommended to switch over to more traditional multi-strain probiotics with lactobacillus and bifidobacterium species. 


Prebiotics are special plant fibers that help healthy bacteria grow in your gut. This makes your digestive system work better. 

Prebiotics are a source of food for your gut’s healthy bacteria. They’re carbs your body can’t digest. So they go to your lower digestive tract, where they act like food to help the healthy bacteria grow. 

When prebiotics are fermented or “digested by probiotics,” many things your gut needs to be healthy are created. Short Chain Fatty Acids, butyrate, and amino acids to name a few. Without these we can’t have a healthy gut. 


Postbiotics are “heat-killed” probiotic bacteria. Why would we want to take a heat-killed probiotic? These specific probiotics are grown for this very purpose and harvested when they are in their prime. 

These heat-killed bacteria still contain compounds, which activate immune cells within the gut, and feed the good bacteria in our gut. Yet they do much more. 

When the postbiotics are harvested, all the nutritional compounds from the prebiotic and fibre digestion are harvested as well, so your gut is getting all the benefits of the prebiotic probiotic fermentation without having to do the work. 

As mentioned above, (a word about Prebiotics,) Short Chain Fatty Acids, butyrate, and amino acids are a few but there are more. Antimicrobial peptides, B vitamins and vitamin K, are also created. 

This means if a gut is very unhealthy and not able to create these compounds, by taking postbiotics, the gut will receive all the health benefits, as if the prebiotic and probiotic fermentation had occurred. 

Postbiotics are heat stable and will not aggravate dysbiosis, (a condition caused by microbial imbalances within the body). 

They are responsible for preventing colonization of pathogenic (bad) bacteria and helping to regulate and balance microbial populations of the microbiome. Postbiotics are food for GI Sensitive Patients, Immuno-compromised and those with intestinal permeability issues and or SIBO. 

I am so excited about Spore-forming probiotics, and Postbiotics. These new tools will help to improve and heal the gut, improving quality of life for people suffering from serious digestion issues. 

If you have any further questions, please drop by a Pure Pharmacy, and speak to one of our Natural Health Advisors. 

Bruce would like to thank Dr. Collin O’Brien ND. Medical Director for Cyto-Matrix for his help and insight with this article. 

Bruce Polack is passionate about natural health, and has been involved in the field, for over 20 years. He is the Natural Health Manager of the West Vancouver Pure Integrative Pharmacy on Marine Drive. He is also Pure’s Corporate Trainer.