Probiotics, meaning “for life,” are the beneficial bacteria and yeast that live in your intestines and keep you healthy and strong. At one time, probiotic-rich foods were a big part of the diets of our ancestors in just about every culture. This is because these beneficial microorganisms could preserve food long before refrigeration was invented.
Taking probiotics early in life could reduce the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders later in childhood.
For centuries, probiotics were abundantly consumed in foods like milk kefir, cultured vegetables (including sauerkraut), miso soup, fermented cheeses, yogurt, and other fermented foods and drinks.
These days, probiotics are increasingly popular in both natural health and medical uses.
Probiotics have been shown to help everything from improving your digestive health to boosting your immunity, even reducing cravings and alleviating allergies.1,2,3 As impressive as this is, when you begin to explore the vast body of probiotic research, you’ll find that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Why You Need More Lactobacillus Plantarum in Your Life (Plus 2 Bonus Lactobacillus Plantarum Benefits)
Boost your digestive health and immunity naturally with Lactobacillus plantarum! The richest source of hardy Lactobacillus plantarum may be found in fermented foods and drinks. You can make your own cultured vegetables and Young Coconut Plantarum “Cheese” with Body Ecology’s Veggie Culture Starter. Just follow the instructions in the box, and you can quickly and easily make your own fermented foods at home in as little as 3-7 days.
Almost a decade ago, in 2008, a study from Sweden changed what we knew about the simple Lactobacillus bacteria. Researchers showed that the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum) was just as effective as a conventional antiseptic in preventing the most common cause of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in hospitals.4 Ventilator-associated pneumonia is a common complication for patients who are on breathing tubes in hospitals because harmful bacteria can enter the lungs from the mouth, throat, or breathing tube.
The study found that Lactobacillus plantarum outperformed the conventional antiseptic in three ways:
- Lactobacillus plantarum provided longer-term protection against harmful bacteria without needing to be constantly re-applied.
- Lactobacillus plantarum did not contribute to antibiotic-resistant strains.
- Lactobacillus plantarum (which is present naturally in your saliva) did not cause side effects, while the antiseptic caused tooth discoloration and other side effects.
At Body Ecology, we have long known the benefits of Lactobacillus plantarum, which we’ve so fondly called the “superstar probiotic” for more than 20 years.
If you're looking for the greatest benefit of adding more Lactobacillus plantarum to your diet, here it is: L. plantarum can live in your gut and keep pathogenic disease-causing microorganisms from flourishing.
And similar to the way icing sticks to a cake, L. plantarum creates a healthy barrier in your colon to keep dangerous bacteria from penetrating the lining of your intestines and entering your bloodstream. In fact, one 2003 study found that regardless of how it was administered, L. plantarum lasted for up to 10 days in the digestive tract of mice with no unwanted side effects, making it an ideal probiotic for inflammatory conditions like IBS and colitis.5
The latest research agrees with these earlier findings, and we think two very important L. plantarum studies stand out above the rest:
- It can help with anxiety. And it all comes back to the gut-brain connection that researchers have recently begun to explore. In 2016, University of Missouri researchers learned that the common probiotic strain L. plantarum could help to decrease anxiety and stress-related behavior.6
- It can protect against poisoning and toxicity. This is pretty amazing when you think of what one little probiotic strain can do. Also in 2016, Chinese researchers confirmed that L. plantarum could benefit people exposed to heavy metals, such as cadmium, by preventing toxicity and poisoning. In the study, L. plantarum in the gut helped to excrete cadmium, while reducing inflammation and intestinal permeability.7
7 People Who Can Benefit from More Lactobacillus Plantarum in Their Diets
Based on the supporting research, we consider L. plantarum to be one of the best probiotics for your digestive and overall health.
Anyone can benefit from L. plantarum, yet some people need it more than others. For example:
- Anyone who has taken or is taking antibiotics – Lactobacillus plantarum is not destroyed by antibiotics, so it can preserve the healthy bacteria that antibiotics often destroy — preventing an overgrowth of yeast (Candidiasis).8
- Anyone who needs to lower cholesterol - Research from 2007 indicates that L. plantarum might be effective as a probiotic with cholesterol-lowering activities.9
- Pregnant women who want to promote healthy bacteria in their birth canal to inoculate their newborn babies against pathogens — and promote the healthy growth of their babies.10
- Newborn babies may benefit from tiny spoonfuls of plantarum-rich cultured vegetable juice soon after birth to prevent colic and to ensure their inner ecosystem is well-established. This enhances immunity.11 We also feel it may be a missing piece in preventing autism.12
- Children with autism may benefit from L. plantarum to clear up common digestive issues.12
- Children with ADD/ADHD often become calmer and are better able to focus when probiotic foods and liquids are added to their diet. Taking probiotics early in life could even reduce the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders later in childhood.13
- Smokers - L. plantarum has been proven to help reduce cardiovascular risk factors and may protect against hardening of the arteries in smokers.14
So, hopefully you are now convinced that you need this potent-but-tiny superstar living inside your inner ecosystem. So what is the best way to get L. plantarum’s support for your overall health? What foods and drinks should you consume?
How to Get More Lactobacillus Plantarum in Your Gut — And Keep It There
As the Swedish study showed, oral application of L. plantarum has benefits to your immunity, and the best way to get L. plantarum orally and in your digestive tract is to eat them:
- Eat fermented foods, like cultured vegetables and a variation of Young Coconut Kefir “Cheese,” what we call “ Young Coconut Plantarum “Cheese.” This is the soft white spoon meat found inside the young green coconut.
- You can make your own plantarum-rich cultured vegetables and Young Coconut Plantarum “Cheese” with Body Ecology’s Veggie Culture Starter. Our Culture Starter is rich in Lactobacillus plantarum, and when you add it to shredded vegetables or to coconut water from the young green coconut, you get delicious and healthy fermented foods and drinks that contain this special probiotic.
- To make your own cultured vegetables using our Culture Starter, try our cultured vegetable recipes.
- To make Young Coconut Plantarum with our Culture Starter, use our Young Coconut Kefir recipe and replace the Kefir Starter with Culture Starter. Or, use 1/2 packet Kefir Starter with 1/2 packet Culture Starter in the recipe.
If you’re wondering why you can’t just eat sauerkraut instead of taking the time to make your own fermented foods at home, there’s a simple explanation for that.
As a study published in Food Chemistry in 2011 revealed, fermenting with Lactobacillus plantarum specifically, as found in our Culture Starter, can keep some of the more dangerous, toxic stuff out of your fermented foods. Fermenting with L. plantarum helped to reduce dangerous biogenic amine contents considerably, essentially eliminating histamine and tyramine that can build up while vegetables ferment on the shelf.15 Without the help of L. plantarum to control these biogenic amines, a fermented food like sauerkraut or cultured veggies could cause an allergic reaction with the potential for itching, rash, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.16 That’s why we always recommend fermenting with the Veggie Culture Starter — which contains several strains of good bacteria, including L. plantarum as the “leader” of the troops — to keep your fermented foods beneficial, delicious, and safe.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Why is Lactobacillus plantarum the probiotic superstar on the rise?
There’s a growing body of research with dozens of new studies to support its use. Most notably, Swedish researchers discovered that Lactobacillus plantarum has the ability to keep pathogenic disease-causing microorganisms at bay. L. plantarum was proven just as effective as a conventional antiseptic in preventing the most common cause of ventilator-associated pneumonia in hospitals, without any side effects. Research also supports L. plantarum’s use to decrease anxiety and protect against heavy metal poisoning.
While everyone can benefit from more Lactobacillus plantarum in their gut, these are the people who may benefit from this probiotic’s support the most:
- Those who have taken or are taking antibiotics.
- Those who want to lower their cholesterol.
- Pregnant women.
- Newborn babies.
- Children with autism.
- Children with ADD/ADHD.
The good news is that getting more Lactobacillus plantarum in your diet (and in your gut) is easy when you ferment your own vegetables at home, using our Veggie Culture Starter. Fermenting with L. plantarum can help to reduce dangerous biogenic amines in your cultured foods, known to cause mild to severe allergic reactions. Once you’ve started inoculating your gut with this Lactobacillus strain, you can continue to support your optimum gut health and encourage bacterial diversity by enjoying other fermented foods and drinks. Rich and creamy milk kefir and tart and tangy probiotic liquids are some of our favorites.
- Valeriano VD, P Balolong M, Kang DK. Probiotic Roles of Lactobacillus spp. in Swine: Insights from Gut Microbiota. J Appl Microbiol. 2016 Dec 3. doi: 10.1111/jam.13364. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 27914202.
- Jonathan Breton, Naouel Tennoune, Nicolas Lucas, Marie Francois, Romain Legrand, Justine Jacquemot, Alexis Goichon, Charlène Guérin, Johann Peltier, Martine Pestel-Caron, Philippe Chan, David Vaudry, Jean-Claude do Rego, Fabienne Liénard, Luc Pénicaud, Xavier Fioramonti, Ivor S. Ebenezer, Tomas Hökfelt, Pierre Déchelotte, Sergueï O. Fetissov. Gut Commensal E. coli Proteins Activate Host Satiety Pathways following Nutrient-Induced Bacterial Growth. Cell Metabolism, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.10.017.
- Roberto Berni Canani, Naseer Sangwan, Andrew T Stefka, Rita Nocerino, Lorella Paparo, Rosita Aitoro, Antonio Calignano, Aly A Khan, Jack A Gilbert, Cathryn R Nagler. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG-supplemented formula expands butyrate-producing bacterial strains in food allergic infants. The ISME Journal, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2015.151.
- Klarin B, Molin G, Jeppsson B, Larsson A. Use of the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum 299 to reduce pathogenic bacteria in the oropharynx of intubated patients: a randomised controlled open pilot study. Critical Care. 2008;12(6):R136. doi:10.1186/cc7109.
- Pavan, Sonia, Desreumaux, Pierre and Mercenier, Annick. Use of Mouse Models To Evaluate the Persistence, Safety, and Immune Modulation Capacities of Lactic Acid Bacteria, Clinical and Vaccine Immunology. July 2003, p. 696-701, Vol. 10, No. 4.
- Davis DJ, Doerr HM, Grzelak AK, Busi SB, Jasarevic E, Ericsson AC, Bryda EC. Lactobacillus plantarum attenuates anxiety-related behavior and protects against stress-induced dysbiosis in adult zebrafish. Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 19;6:33726. doi: 10.1038/srep33726. PubMed PMID: 27641717; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5027381.
- Qixiao Zhai, Fengwei Tian, Jianxin Zhao, Hao Zhang, Arjan Narbad and Wei Chen. Oral administration of probiotics inhibits heavy metal cadmium absorption by protecting intestinal barrier. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2016 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00695-16.
- De Seta F, Parazzini F, De Leo R, Banco R, Maso GP, De Santo D, Sartore A, Stabile G, Inglese S, Tonon M, Restaino S. Lactobacillus plantarum P17630 for preventing Candida vaginitis recurrence: a retrospective comparative study. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2014 Nov;182:136-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2014.09.018. PubMed PMID: 25305660.
- Nguyen TD, Kang JH, Lee MS. Characterization of Lactobacillus plantarum PH04, a potential probiotic bacterium with cholesterol-lowering effects. Int J Food Microbiol. 2007 Feb 15;113(3):358-61. PubMed PMID: 17140690.
- Schwarzer, K. Makki, G. Storelli, I. Machuca-Gayet, D. Srutkova, P. Hermanova, M. E. Martino, S. Balmand, T. Hudcovic, A. Heddi, J. Rieusset, H. Kozakova, H. Vidal, F. Leulier. Lactobacillus plantarum strain maintains growth of infant mice during chronic undernutrition. Science, 2016; 351 (6275): 854 DOI: 10.1126/science.aad8588.
- Pathmakanthan S, Li CK, Cowie J, Hawkey CJ. Lactobacillus plantarum 299: beneficial in vitro immunomodulation in cells extracted from inflamed human colon. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004 Feb;19(2):166-73. PubMed PMID: 14731126.
- Santocchi E, Guiducci L, Fulceri F, et al. Gut to brain interaction in Autism Spectrum Disorders: a randomized controlled trial on the role of probiotics on clinical, biochemical and neurophysiological parameters. BMC Psychiatry. 2016;16:183. doi:10.1186/s12888-016-0887-5.
- Pärtty, A., Kalliomäki, M., Wacklin, P., Salminen, S., & Isolauri, E. (2015). A possible link between early probiotic intervention and the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders later in childhood: A randomized trial. Pediatric Research, 77(6), 823-828. doi:10.1038/pr.2015.51.
- Naruszewicz M, Johansson ML, Zapolska-Downar D, Bukowska H. Effect of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v on cardiovascular disease risk factors in smokers. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Dec;76(6):1249-55. PubMed PMID: 12450890.
- Rabie, Mohamed A., Hassan Siliha, Soher El-Saidy, Ahmed A. El-Badawy, and F. Xavier Malcata. "Reduced Biogenic Amine Contents in Sauerkraut via Addition of Selected Lactic Acid Bacteria."Food Chemistry 4 (2011): 1778-782.
- Naila A, Flint S, Fletcher G, Bremer P, Meerdink G. Control of Biogenic Amines in Food—Existing and Emerging Approaches. Journal of Food Science. 2010;75(7):R139-R150. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01774.x.
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