Lactobacillus Plantarum: Probiotic Superstar
What does it take to view a microorganism as a superstar? It takes strength, efficiency, and fortitude—all characteristics that describe one of the most important microbiota that inhabits (or should
inhabit) your gut.Lactabacillus plantarum
is the superstar of anyone’s microbiome. Fortunately, it’s easy to give this superstar a prime spot in your colon, where it will work hard for you and your health.L. plantarum
is one of many species of the lactic acid bacteria family (Lactobacillus), each of which plays important roles in the human microbiome. But L. plantarum, in particular, rises to the top as a powerhouse of a healthy, balanced microbiom
A Quick Primer on the Microbiome
Your microbiome is the collection of trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and archaea that inhabit your gut and every other part of your body and create a positive symbiotic relationship—internal and external. These microbiota are so essential for your survival that the three-pound collection of microbiota in your gut could almost be called another organ. Its actions help produce essential vitamins, regulate chemical reactions between cells, and boost overall health.The microorganisms that make up the collection of microflora in your digestive tract and colon are vastly important. The diversity of the bacteria that line your digestive tract and colon directly affects your overall health—from how efficiently food is digested to the amount of vitamins manufactured in your gut, and even to the cravings you have for sugar and carbs.Bacteria make up the bulk of the microbiome. When the bacteria are balanced, they work for your good. When they become imbalanced (when only one or two strains gains ascendancy), your gut gets slowly less efficient, which causes your health to suffer. Some scientists now believe that a laundry list of chronic and inflammatory diseases can all be traced back to an imbalance in the microbiome. When the gut is healthy, however, the human body thrives.
What’s So Great about Lactobacillus plantarum?
Only about 25% of Americans can claim L. plantarum
as the main microorganism in their microbiome, what with our love for processed foods, sugar, prescription medications, and the constant state of stress that we live in. Those who eat a plant-based diet high in fiber are much more likely to enjoy a microbiome dominated by L. plantarum
.Our Western lifestyle and diet are terrible for creating and maintaining a healthy and diverse microbiome, and because L. plantarum
is so beneficial to human health, anyone wanting to improve health, feel more energy, and even lose weight should consider making the necessary lifestyle changes that promote the proliferation of L. plantarum
in their guts.L. plantarum
originated in the human gut, so this is a symbiotic relationship that is a perfect match in every way. This powerful microorganism is the king of multi-taskers.One of the great things L. plantarum
does is act in the gut like icing on a cake: it binds to the lining of the gut, which creates a defensive barrier to pathogens that come through the digestive tract. As it also promotes the growth and maintenance of the mucosal lining, this bacteria helps prevent leaky gut syndrome, where cracks appear in the gut lining and allow tiny, undigested food particles to creep into the bloodstream (which causes all sorts of inflammatory issues within the body).L. plantarum
laughs at stomach acids. It also laughs at toxins, pathogens, and at non-beneficial bacteria. Hosting L. plantarum
by the trillions means your gut pH level makes your digestive tract uninhabitable for pathogens, including molds, yeasts, and bad bacteria. And while L. plantarum
is preventing pathogens from making you sick, it’s also promoting a healthy balance in your microbiome.What else does L. plantarum
Healthy Digestion and Nutritional SupportL. plantarum
loves a good meal of fiber, and when fed the proper prebiotic foods, it will go crazy metabolizing fiber and sugars into vital nutrients the body needs, including SFCAs (short-chain fatty acids that are particularly good at controlling high blood pressure), polyamines (molecules that regulate and promote healthy cell growth), vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids.In studies, L. plantarum
has been shown to reduce the inflammation of the epithelial lining that is present in Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Even if you don’t have Crohn’s or IBS, L. plantarum
also heals chronic diarrhea or constipation. L. plantarum
can easily withstand stomach acid, so it’s easy to get this beneficial bacteria into your gut via the foods you eat or supplements you take.
Immune and Cognitive Health
Leaky gut syndrome occurs when an imbalance in the gut flora allows pathogenic microorganisms to flourish. When this happens, the gut lining breaks down, and this can eventually allow the gut wall to crack. Microscopic food particles can slip through these cracks into the bloodstream, which alerts the body’s immune system to attack. A constant state of inflammation promotes all kinds of chronic diseases.Because L. plantarum
helps build and maintain the gut lining while attacking pathogens, the immune system can rest, allowing the body to heal from many chronic inflammatory issues.Proper immune function has been shown to benefit cognitive function by enhancing the memory and learning behavior.
How to Boost Your Levels of L. plantarum
Fortunately, getting L. plantarum
into your diet is not difficult. The bacteria is unaffected harsh stomach acid and will move happily into your gut, ready to rebuild and replenish a balanced, healthy microbiome.The key to maintaining a balanced and healthy microbiome is to eat the foods that nourish beneficial bacteria like L. plantarum
. These foods are called prebiotics. Just remember that prebiotics feed probiotics, the beneficial microorganisms that make up the microbiome.
The best way to get L. plantarum
is to eat fermented plant-based foods. If you love sauerkraut and pickles, this is good news; however, the fermented foods you eat must actually be fermented and not merely brined (commercial sauerkraut and pickles are usually brined, not fermented).Load up your plate with sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), pickles, fermented olives, kimchi (Korean fermented spicy cabbage), and sourdough breads. This is a great time to sample fermented foods from global cuisines, as most cultures have created and perfected a range of fermented foods. Fill your glass with kefir, kombucha, kvass, or fermented natural sodas.By eating two or three servings of fermented foods per day, you greatly increase your L. plantarum
population.Many fermented foods are easy to make in your home, with minimal cost or effort. Sauerkraut, for instance, requires you to mix only cabbage, salt, and caraway seeds (if you like them) before packing the mixture into a jar and letting it sit for several days, happily fermenting in its own brine. Try this recipe
to see how easy it can be.
Probiotic supplements are one of the easiest ways to increase the diversity and health of your microbiome. As long as the probiotics contained in the supplement are alive, getting a good, healthy dose is as easy as popping a capsule two or three times a day.Quality probiotic supplements (such as this one
, which contains L. plantarum
and other Lactobacillus species) are especially important if you are taking antibiotics, which kill all bacteria in your gut—good and bad—and can contribute to an imbalanced microbiome.
Avoid the Foods That Damage Your Microbiome
It’s not enough to take probiotic supplements or eat the occasional bratwurst with a mound of sauerkraut; you must also be willing to avoid processed foods and sugar in order to allow your microbiome to replenish and heal. The great thing is that if you eliminate processed, junk, and sugary foods from your diet while getting regular doses of beneficial probiotics, your cravings for sugar and processed foods will very quickly disappear. Your body wants to be healthy, and it will lead you to the foods that will feed a healthy, balanced microbiome.For a comprehensive program that helps you replenish and rebuild your healthy microbiome, check out our IN.FORM Metabolic Age Support Systems