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Learn about the Importance of Good Bacteria, Part II: Lactobacillus Plantarum

Friday, January 01, 2010 by: Dr. David Jockers
Tags: probiotics, health, health news

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(NewsTarget) Good bacteria are absolutely critical to human life and health. Many of these bacteria live directly in the mucosal membranes within the respiratory, digestive, and genital regions. These symbiotic bacteria have a few key functions: to help metabolize food particles and aid in the digestive processes, to eliminate certain waste particles, to help stabilize and protect the intestinal cell wall, and to build a healthy immune response.

Lactobacillus plantarum is a resilient and highly adaptive bacterium that can survive at vast temperature ranges (1-60 degrees Celsius) and a wide scale of atmospheric pressures. The name "plantarum" indicates that this bacterium is a "species of the plants." According to several specialists, including Dr. Bengmark, the adhesive properties of L plantarum make it a powerful tool to fight off pathogenic bacteria such as E Coli, while repairing the intestinal lining.

Mannose-specific adhesions are common among gram negative strains, but not gram positive (lactobacillus). Interestingly, according to Dr. Bengmark's research, L-plantarum uses mannose-specific adhesions, which makes it possible that L plantarum can compete with both gram- positive and gram-negative pathogenic strains for receptor sites and valuable nutrients in the mucosal membrane. It also secretes anti-microbial substances that help to inhibit the formation of pathogenic gram-positive & negative colonies.

These characteristics make L plantarum a potent aide for irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, and Colitis. In fact, several studies have shown that L plantarum is able to survive through harsh environments including rounds of antibiotics. This is especially important for emergency situations when someone may have to take an antibiotic. According to Donna Gates, Body Ecology Diet, the L. plantarum in your intestines will survive the antibiotic onslaught, maintaining long-term health by ensuring that a yeast overgrowth will not occur.

Dr. Bengmark notes that only 25% of the Western population eating the typical American diet has L Plantarum colonized in their gastrointestinal system. However, it is the predominate species in many of the African tribes and the Seventh Day Adventists who are known to eat a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables.

While everyone will benefit from the inclusion of L Plantarum in their diets, certain individuals have a greater need for healthy strains of bacteria. Pregnant women need healthy doses of probiotic cultures in order to line their mucous membranes to effectively inoculate their newborn child on its way out of the birth canal. These cultures give the newborn its first meal in a sense and immediately function to build the infant's immune system and digestive function. Infants should continue to use Probiotics such as L plantarum, whether through supplementation or naturally fermented foods in order to prevent colicky symptoms, boost immunity, and aid in digestive function and nutrient absorption.

Other populations that have shown benefit include children with Neurobehavioral and Neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADD/ADHD and Autism. Digestive complaints, poor detoxification pathways, and lowered immunity are common to all of these conditions and are heavily associated with dysbiosis.

L. Plantarum is found in abundance in many fresh vegetables and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and brined olives. However, be careful of store-bought processed alternatives which use cheap vinegars to pickle vegetables. The real cultural dishes use natural fermentation or salted foods and/or put them in a brine solution, all methods which allow Lactobacillus plantarum to survive and thereby be ingested.
Many of these dishes can easily be made at home on a continual basis.

2.Bengmark, S. Immunonutrition: Role of biosurfactants, fiber, and probiotic bacteria. Nutrition 1998:14: 585-594.

About the author

Dr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga. He is a Maximized Living doctor. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition & exercise, & structural corrective chiropractic care. For more information go to www.exodushc.com To find a Maximized Living doctor near you go to www.maximizedliving.com

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