Diethmaier 2011

Add Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) to the list of interesting microbes that exert beneficial health effects in humans. Those of you courageous enough to consume the Japanese fermented soybean food, natto, already have some experience with this microbe. Most consume natto to take advantage of the high vitamin K2 content of this food, shown to provide advantage in reducing risk for osteoporotic fractures. But most of us are unwilling to consume natto (including me—my mom was Japanese and I still can’t eat it), given its slimy texture and peculiar flavor.

So here is a method to ferment B. subtilis at almost no cost on your kitchen counter, a method that yields a delightful sparkling juice similar to our Saccharomyces boulardii sparkling juice. We use a low-cost starter called VitaLife Kombucha sold at Aldi grocery stores. (I paid $2.19.) By the way, I would not have labeled this product  “kombucha” as it is really contains just a single fermenting microbe, B. subtilis, not the mix of bacteria and fungi that typically define kombucha, as in the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). Regardless, the VitaLife product is an inexpensive source of B subtilis. Of course, you can obtain the microbe as a probiotic capsule, also.

But let’s first review what the evidence tells us that supplementation with this microbe can accomplish.In human clinical trials, B. subtilis has been demonstrated to:

  • Reduce symptoms of bloating, belching, and flatulence (Garvey 2022; strain BS50)
  • Reduces symptoms of constipation, indigestion, and dyspepsia (Patch 2023; strain BG01-4)
  • Reduces diarrhea (Hatanaka 2018; strain C-3102)
  • Modest improvements in body composition—i..e, reduction in body fat, increased lean muscle mass (Toohey 2020); strain DE111)
  • Preliminary evidence suggests that B. subtilis has impressive ability to bind toxic heavy metals arsenic, chromium, and cadmium, making them less bioavailable (Lenini 2023; strain natto or DG101)
  • B. subtilis has broad antimicrobial properties on multiple bacterial (Gram+ and Gram-) and fungal species. (Lenini 2023; strain natto or DG101)
  • Given to type 2 diabetics at the low dose of 100 million CFUs per day, body weight, fat weight, HbA1c and fasting insulin were reduced over 90 days (Ayala 2022; stain DG101)
  • Significantly amplify markers of intestinal immune response, reduce the inflammatory marker TNF-α (Colom 2022; strain DE11).

In my recipe for SIBO Yogurt, the third microbe is B. coagulans (GBI-30,6086). Given the multiple potential benefits of the various strains of B. subtilis, this species would also be a reasonable replacement for the B. coagulans.

To make B. subtilis sparkling juice, you will need:

VitaLife Organic Kombucha (any flavor)
Any fruit juice—Just make that the juice contains does not contain preservatives such as potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate, as they block the fermentation process. The pulpier the juice, the better. For example, apple cider is better than apple juice.

Gently shake the VitaLife kombucha, then pour 2-3 tablespoons into the juice. Cap and agitate, then loosen cap. (This is important because huge amounts of carbon dioxide will be produced and needs to be vented.) Use your sous vide, yogurt maker, or other device to maintain at 90 degrees F for at least 60 hours or until minimal sweetness remains when you taste it.

Consume 1/4-1/2 cup at a time, up to several times per day. You can also use the juice as the starter culture to make B. subtilis yogurt.