- Is a widely used super bacteria with amazing probiotic properties
- Fights off harmful bacteria
- Improves the digestive system
- Enhances immunity
- Prevents against bacterial and fungal infections
- Improves the health of mother and baby
- Relieves colic in newborns
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels
- Improves the health of autistic children and children with ADHD
- Protects against the development of peptic ulcers
Lactobacillus plantarum is a gram-positive bacteria, and is found in diverse niches like dairy, meat, and vegetable fermentation. It belongs to the genus Lactobacillus and is a lactic acid bacterium. L. plantarum is a probiotic with the ability to colonize the human mucosa because of its ability to adhere to epithelial cells. Attachment to mucosa prolongs the time probiotics can influence the gastrointestinal immune system and microbiota of the host. Thus, the ability to adhere to intestinal surfaces is thought to correspond to the efficacy of the probiotic strain (O’Halloran et al., 1997).
L. plantarum has many health benefits. Park et al. (2015) reported a decrease in adipocyte size in diet-induced obese mice. L. plantarum is useful in lowering cholesterol levels as well. In a study of the consumption of L. plantarum 299v by individuals with moderately high levels of cholesterol, researchers observed a reduction in the levels of both LDL cholesterol and fibrinogen in the blood (Bukowska et al., 1998). In another study conducted on heavy smokers, an increase in the dose of L. plantarum produced a more prominent effect: an 11.7% decrease in LDL cholesterol and 21% in fibrinogen was reported. Independent of each other, LDL-cholesterol and fibrinogen are both risk factors for coronary artery disease (Naruszewicz et al., 2002).
Various research studies have been performed to observe the effect of L. plantarum consumption of different diseases. These clinical trials mainly focus on the ability of L. plantarum and its influence on the immune system. In one case, a group of children exposed to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), L. plantarum 299v, was able to colonize and they reported induction of specific immune response and an increase in weight (Cunningham-Rundles et al., 2000).
Consumption of L. plantarum resulted in a decrease in anaerobic and gram-negative bacteria. Anaerobic and gram-negative bacteria are commonly found in infected sites after an intestinal surgery (Nichols and Smith, 1994). Johansson et al., reported individuals who had a daily intake of oatmeal soup for 11 days (which contained different strain of Lactobacilli strains) had a decrease in the count of anaerobic and gram-negative bacterium. The most common Lactobacillus strains, L. plantarum 299 and 299v, were found in both the jejunum and the rectum (Johansson et al., 1993).
Several studies were conducted to learn about the role of L. plantarum in inhibiting the effect of pathogenic microbes. L. plantarum produced antimicrobial chemicals that are used as preservatives in the food and agriculture industry (Niku-Paavola et al., 1999). It was demonstrated that several strains of L. plantarum played an important role in the treatment of peptic ulcers (Rokka et al., 2006). L. plantarum strains showed high levels of anti-Helicobacter activity. In another group, Lactobacillus strains showed anti-Helicobacter activity against six pathogens (Hütt et al., 2006).
L. plantarum is also used as a food preservative. A study showed that Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogen which affects the quality of the food. It can grow on food at low temperatures and also in an acidic pH environment. But L. plantarum produces a bacteriocin which inhibits the growth of this pathogen, and is resistant to heat while being tolerant of a wide range of pH levels. Food poisoning is a major problem in the tropical areas (Olasupo, 1998). The good news is that L. plantarum is found naturally in fermented foods. Clostridium difficile is a pathogen which causes diarrhea due to the overgrowth of this pathogen in the gut, and especially after prolonged antibiotic use. Clinical trials have shown that L. plantarum stain 299v enhances the effects of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the gut, which inhibit the growth C. difficile (Wutt et al., 2007).
Johansson, M. L., Molin, G., Jeppsson, B., Nobaek, S., Ahrne, S., & Bengmark, S. (1993). Administration of different Lactobacillus strains in fermented oatmeal soup: In vivo colonization of human intestinal mucosa and effect on the indigenous flora. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 59(1), 15–20.
O’Halloran, S., Feeney, M., Morrissey, D., Murphy, L., Thornton, G., Shanahan, F., O’Sullivan, G. C., Collins, J. K. (1997). Adhesion of potential probiotic bacteria to human epithelial cell lines; Poster in conference: Functional Foods: Designer Foods for the Future; Cork, Ireland.
Park, S. Y., Cho, S. A., Lee, M. K., & Lim, S. D. (2015). Effect of lactobacillus plantarum FH185 on the reduction of adipocyte size and gut microbial changes in mice with diet-induced obesity. Korean Journal for Food Science of Animal Resources, 35(2), 171–178.
Bukowska, H., Pieczul-Mroz, J., Jastrzebska, M., Chelstowski, K., & Naruszewicz, M. (1998). Decrease in fibrinogen and LDL-cholesterol levels upon supplementation of diet with Lactobacillus plantarum in subjects with moderately elevated cholesterol . Atherosclerosis.
Naruszewicz, M., Johansson, M.-L., Zapolska-Downar, D., & Bukowska, H. (2002). Effect of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v on cardiovascular disease risk factors in smokers. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 76(6), 1249–55.
Cunningham-Rundles, S., Ahrné, S., Bengmark, S., Johann-Liang, R., Marshall, F., Metakis, L., … Cervia, J. (2000). Probiotics and immune response. In American Journal of Gastroenterology (Vol. 95).
Nichols, R. L., & Smith, J. W. (1994). Anaerobes from a surgical perspective. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 18, S280–S286.
Johansson, M. L., Nobaek, S., Berggren, A., Nyman, M., Björck, I., Ahrné, S., Molin, G. (1998). Survival of Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 9843 (299v), and effect on the short-chain fatty acid content of faeces after ingestion of a rose-hip drink with fermented oats. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 42(1-2), 29–38.
Niku-Paavola, M. L., Laitila, A., Mattila-Sandholm, T., & Haikara, A. (1999). New types of antimicrobial compounds produced by Lactobacillus plantarum. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 86(1), 29–35.
Rokka, S., Pihlanto, A., Korhonen, H., & Joutsjoki, V. (2006). In vitro growth inhibition of Helicobacter pylori by lactobacilli belonging to the Lactobacillus plantarum group. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 43(5), 508–513.
Hütt, P., Shchepetova, J., Lõivukene, K., Kullisaar, T., & Mikelsaar, M. (2006). Antagonistic activity of probiotic lactobacilli and bifidobacteria against entero- and uropathogens. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 100(6), 1324–1332.
Olasupo, N. a. (1998). Inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes by plantaricin NA, an antibacterial substance from Lactobacillus plantarum. Folia Microbiologica, 43(2), 151–155.
Wullt, M., Johansson Hagslätt, M.-L., Odenholt, I., & Berggren, A. (2007). Lactobacillus plantarum 299v enhances the concentrations of fecal short-chain fatty acids in patients with recurrent clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 52(9), 2082–6.