Lactobacillus plantarum is the Latin name for a specific bacterium, or probiotic, that is beneficial to the human body. Although it was originally found and cultivated from saliva, it is also found in many fermented food sources, such as sauerkraut, sourdough, Korean kimchi, and pickles. It works to keep the intestines functioning properly and helps prevent the growth of illness-causing bacteria.
Although the primary function of lactobacillus plantarum is to maintain the intestines, it is also beneficial for several other medical conditions that are related to problems in the large and small intestines, colon, or bowels. For example, it is often used as a treatment for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. It may also lessen some of the symptoms associated with Crohn's disease. It is believed to help treat colitis as well. In a general sense, it is believed to be helpful to anyone suffering from gastrointestinal distress or diarrhea.
Some people claim that lactobacillus plantarum can help keep certain groups of people healthy. For example, women who are pregnant are often encouraged by homeopathic medicine practitioners to use the bacteria to help them maintain the proper bacteria in their birth canal. In addition, some practitioners recommend that infants receive a dose of this bacteria to prevent health conditions, such as colic. Of course, it is essential to consult an experienced practitioner or a medical doctor before beginning a probiotic regimen, especially for infants and children.
Interestingly, research has shown that lactobacillus plantarum is resistant to many antibiotics. Typically, antibiotics kill most bacteria. When this happens, yeast may grow in an over-abundance, which can lead to a yeast infection. Since antibiotics do not kill lactobacillus plantarum, people who use antibiotics are often recommended to take it to prevent yeast infections from occurring.
Lactobacillus plantarum is considered safe to use in most cases. There are some groups of people who should avoid the bacteria because there is some concern that it may cause infection or disease. Specifically, people with weak immune systems should avoid using the bacteria-filled capsules. In addition, people with short bowel syndrome should not use it unless they consult a medical provider.
The dosage of lactobacillus plantarum varies, depending on the age of the person, the severity of the illness, and the number of living bacteria inside each capsule. In general, one billion to ten billion bacteria will be consumed each day. In most cases, a person will need to take several capsules three to four times each day to reach the recommended dosage of bacteria. Again, it is important to consult a health care provider to determine the proper dosage before using lactobacillus plantarum.