Lactobacillus plantarum, like all probiotics, is a beneficial bacterium that can be used for improved health. Lactobacillus is the largest genus of the lactic acid bacteria group. Lactobacillus plantarum is one of over 50 Lactobacillus species. It was first isolated from human saliva.
- One of the most versatile probiotics, Lactobacillus plantarum is found in plant material and the gastrointestinal tract of animals, including humans. It is used in the fermentation of foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and sourdough bread. It has been used for this purpose for hundreds of years, and is a healthier option in food preservation. Along with promoting normal digestive health, Lactobacillus plantarum has been shown to be an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and colitis. It has the ability to destroy pathogens and to preserve critical nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. It has also shown the rare ability to produce L. lysine, a beneficial amino acid. One of the most exciting uses for Lactobacillus plantarum involves using it to deliver therapeutic compounds and proteins to the body. This area of research using the bacteria is new and ongoing.
- When a healthy colony of Lactobacillus plantarum lives in the intestines, it prevents harmful bacteria from attaching to the mucosal lining and competes for the nutrients the bad bacteria need to survive. With no food and no room to live, the harmful bacteria pass harmlessly through the body.
- In a related factor, Lactobacillus plantarum has been shown to be highly resistant to most antibiotics. Though antibiotics are often necessary, they cause yeast overgrowth in adults and children. This often results in an upset stomach and a disrupted digestive system. When a healthy colony of Lactobacillus plantarum lives in the intestines, it prevents the overproduction of the yeast and eliminates this common problem that is often the result of antibiotic use.
- As with most probiotics, supplements of Lactobacillus plantarum are available at health food stores and online. Another way to introduce a larger amount of this healthy bacteria to the digestive system is by preserving food using a starter culture, also available at most health food stores.