What Is Lactobacillus Plantarum and Why Is It So Good for You?

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Research into the role probiotics play in health has exploded over the last decade or so. We now know more about the how, what, and why of good gut health than we’ve ever known before. Among all the probiotic recommendations, one stands out: Lactobacillus plantarum. The L. plantarum probiotic may be a common beneficial bacterium, but it’s a rising superstar when it comes to your health.

What Are Probiotics Used for?

Woman Smiling While Drinking Glass of Water

Before we dive into the specifics about L. plantarum, let’s discuss why probiotics are essential for your health in the first place. Probiotic means “for life.” In a nutshell, probiotics are “good” bacteria you typically consume via food or supplement form. They support life by protecting you from harmful parasites, viruses, and “bad” bacteria that can cause sickness and disease.

Probiotics and Gut Health

Almost everyone has heard that probiotics are good for digestive health. What you may not know, however, is that probiotics are also essential for:

  • healthy metabolism
  • heart health [1]
  • mental health
  • immune system health
  • balancing hormones [2]
  • managing weight [3]
  • keeping allergies at bay
  • preventing chronic disease
  • supporting your liver
  • …and so much more!

Remember that your digestive system is home to up to 80% of all your immune cells. The result? You simply cannot survive and feel good without the right amount and the right kind of probiotics. And perhaps the most important type of beneficial bacteria for your overall health is Lactobacillus plantarum.

What Makes Lactobacillus PlantarumProbiotic So Special?

Assorted Gut Fermented Foods

A decade ago we heard very little about the gut microbiome and “good” and “bad” bacteria, but all that has changed.

As mentioned earlier, Lactobacillus plantarum, or L. plantarum, has recently been the focus of much research and is a rising “superstar” amongst probiotics. What’s interesting is that it’s a very common kind of beneficial bacteria found in cultured vegetables.

L. plantarum is also a very hardy form of bacteria, which is what makes it so beneficial for your health. It can withstand varying temperatures, from between 1-60 degrees Celsius (33 to 140 degrees F). It also has the ability to stick to the sides of your intestines like icing on a cake, creating a healthy barrier in your colon.

This barrier prevents pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli from penetrating the lining of your gastrointestinal tract and entering your bloodstream.

L. Plantarum Withstands Antibiotics Better Than L. Casei

The Lactobacillus plantarum probiotic is also resistant to most commonly prescribed antibiotics. In an ideal world, taking antibiotics would only kill off the “bad” bacteria your doctor wants to see eliminated. The reality is that antibiotics can’t distinguish between beneficial and harmful bacteria. When you take antibiotics, you also end up killing off protective (good) bacteria in the process.

Doctor Writing Prescription with Pill Bottle in Hand

One Chinese investigation [4] conducted in 2015 compared the survival rate of Lactobacillus plantarum to Lactobacillus casei when introduced to Streptomycin, an antibiotic used to treat many common bacterial infections.

The researchers discovered that L. plantarum was able to stay alive in larger numbers than L. casei in the face of this type of antibiotic. A 2010 clinical study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology [5] also found clear evidence that L. plantarum can help with antibiotic-induced gastrointestinal disorders.

Experts agree that if you need to take antibiotics, an adequate amount of L. plantarum in your intestines will help ensure that opportunistic bacteria such as Candida albicans will not proliferate afterward [6]. This is especially important to keep in mind for those who suffer from chronic conditions, low immune system function, and digestive disorders, as well as the very young and the elderly [7].

Landmark 2017 Study: L. Plantarum Saves Newborn Lives

People of all ages need a healthy amount of L. plantarum in their digestive tract for overall good health. This is especially true for the very young. (Note: If you’re over 60 and want to know why probiotics for seniors are important, go here.)

doctor and nurse gloved hands touching newborn infant

Sepsis is a dangerous and life-threatening blood infection that causes major injury to tissues and organs, often resulting in death. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report (gathering data from the Indian National Neonatal Perinatal Database), sepsis is the most common cause of neonatal death in that country [8].

It is also responsible for 30% to 50% of newborn deaths in all developing countries. While the numbers are smaller, sepsis is the leading cause of neonatal death in the United States as well. Alarmingly, the number of neonatal sepsis fatalities has RISEN in recent years due to antibiotic use in both mothers and premature infants [9].

A recent study sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in conjunction with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and institutions in India had a very promising outcome. Over 4,000 pregnant women participated in the study that found an L. plantarum probiotic regimen lowered the incidence of sepsis in newborns by up to 40% [10].

Other Positive Benefits for Newborns

The researchers also found that the L. plantarum probiotic regime had other positive side effects for the newborns. In addition to reducing rates of sepsis, these babies also had an 82% lower rate of Gram-positive bacterial infections and a 75% reduction in Gram-negative bacteria. This, in turn, led to healthier babies overall, with 34% fewer cases of pneumonia and other respiratory infections.

The researchers stated in a press release for the NIH that the introduction of the probiotic “may have boosted immunity throughout the entire body, not just in the digestive system [11].”

gloved hand holding bacteria culture petri dish

Amongst the common opportunistic Gram-positive bacterium that can create disease states in humans are Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Corynebacterium, Listeria, Bacillus, and Clostridium. Gram-negative bacterial infections are difficult to remedy as they tend to be hardier and more resistant to antibiotics [12].

The NIH study is an amazing testament to the power of one simple probiotic and its ability to literally save lives. Because of this, pregnant mothers may be well advised to discuss with their doctors how to ensure sufficient quantities of L. plantarum during pregnancy.

Lactobacillus Plantarum & Digestive Disorders

In addition to its benefits for babies, L. plantarum can be extremely beneficial for those with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and colitis.

woman sitting on toilet holding toilet paper gastrointestinal issues

In a Polish clinical trial [13], all participants who were given Lactobacillus plantarum in liquid form experienced less abdominal pain and regulation in stool consistency.

The researchers also alluded to the possibility that L. plantarum may someday become part of regular treatment for IBS.

How L. Plantarum Crowds Out Golden Staph and Other Bad Bacteria

One of the reasons why L. plantarum probiotic is so effective against some of the most aggressive opportunistic bacterium as well as the most common digestive complaints has to do with its unique genetic makeup. We stated earlier that one of the unique characteristics of L. plantarum is its ability to “adhere” to the intestinal wall.

The specific type of adhesion, called “mannose-specific adhesions,” makes it possible for L. plantarum to compete for cellular receptor sites with both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterium [14]. In other words, L. plantarum can “crowd out” bad bacteria and prevent it from traveling from one place to another.

staphylococcus-aureus-golden-staph-bacteria-populate-the-cracked-skin-of-patients

Another unique characteristic of L. plantarum is that it has the ability to secrete antimicrobial substances which can wipe out pathogenic colonies. In a February 2019 report published in the journal Microbial Pathogenesis [15], researchers found that anti-microbial properties in both L. plantarum and P. acidilactici were able to inhibit adhesion and growth of the Staphylococcus aureus (aka golden staph) bacteria.

Both of these characteristics and more provide evidence that L. plantarum can be a powerful aide for individuals with specific digestive conditions.

Some research has also discovered that Lactobacillus plantarum can be beneficial for other specific conditions. This includes certain neurotoxin-related conditions such as autism [16] as well as high cholesterol levels [17].

Sources of L. Plantarum

Luckily, L. plantarum can be found in many foods. It is a plant-based bacterium (as its name indicates) and appears in abundance in foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and cultured vegetables.

Still, some experts estimate that only 25% of Americans [18] have L. plantarum colonies in their system, largely due to eating the standard American diet of processed foods, lots of sugar, and unfiltered tap water.

As a result, one of the simplest ways to ensure that you get enough Lactobacillus plantarum into your body is through supplementation with a high-quality probiotic supplement.

You may have grown up thinking that all bacteria are “bad.” Hopefully, now you know better! Opportunistic bacteria can indeed wreak havoc on your system, and even be life-threatening.

What’s going to keep these “bad guys” at bay are probiotics. And L. plantarum is turning out to be one of the most powerful of them all. It’s one of the “good guys” that all of us need throughout our lives. Be sure you’re getting enough Lactobacillus plantarum in food or supplement form every day.


Organixx ProBiotixx+ formula contains a single, super-strain of Lactobacillus plantarum, designed to help alleviate constipation… eliminate gas and belly bloat… support your entire immune system… and give you total digestive protection.

Organixx ProBiotixx probiotic formula

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Article Summary

  • Probiotics are “good” (beneficial) bacteria that support life by protecting you from harmful parasites, viruses, and “bad” bacteria that can cause sickness and disease.

  • One of the most important types of beneficial bacteria for your overall health is Lactobacillus plantarum, a common bacteria found in cultured vegetables.

  • L. plantarum is very hardy and has the ability to stick to the sides of your intestines, creating a healthy barrier in your colon. This barrier prevents pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli from penetrating the lining of your gastrointestinal tract and entering your bloodstream.

  • Antibiotics can’t distinguish between beneficial and harmful bacteria. Lactobacillus plantarum probiotic is resistant to most commonly prescribed antibiotics.

  • People of all ages (especially babies) need a healthy amount of L. plantarum in their digestive tract for overall good health. 

  • Some experts estimate that only 25% of Americans have L. Plantarum colonies in their system. One of the simplest ways to ensure that you get enough Lactobacillus plantarum into your body is through supplementation with a high-quality probiotic supplement.

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