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24+ Health Benefits of Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum)

Written by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Last updated:

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L. plantarum has an astonishing amount of health benefits. This probiotic reduces anxiety, lowers both blood pressure and cholesterol, combats allergies and cancer, reduces wrinkles and improves skin hydration.

What is Lactobacillus plantarum?

Lactobacillus plantarum is a widespread species of lactic acid bacteria. It is commonly found in many fermented plant products such as sauerkraut, pickles, brined olives, and Korean kimchi.

L. plantarum is an antioxidant with anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiobesity and antidiabetic properties [1].

Health Benefits

1) Produces B vitamins

L. plantarum isolated from raw cow milk is able to produce B-group vitamins riboflavin (B2) and folate (B9) [2].

2) Increases Iron Absorption

L. plantarum can increase iron absorption from a fruit drink in healthy women by approximately 50% [3].

L. plantarum can increase iron absorption from an oat base in women by over 100% [4].

3) Increases Calcium Absorption

Fermented milk containing L. plantarum showed higher calcium retention uptake [5].

4) Can Combat Pollutants

L. plantarum alleviates cadmium (Cd) – induced cytotoxicity in the human intestinal cells and mice in the laboratory [67].

L. plantarum protects against aluminum toxicity in mice, by reducing intestinal aluminum absorption and tissue accumulation, and ameliorating liver damage, kidney, and brain oxidative stress [8].

Treatment with L. plantarum alleviates copper toxicity, by increasing copper excretion and reducing the accumulation of copper in tissues. L. plantarum also reversed oxidative stress induced by copper exposure, recovered the ALT and AST blood levels and improved the spatial memory of mice [9].

5) May Improve Cognitive Abilities

L. plantarum fermented soymilk extract improves learning and memory in rats with vascular dementia, by acting as a blood pressure-lowering and neuroprotective agent [10].

6) May Reduce Anxiety

Chronic ingestion of L. plantarum increased locomotor activity, dopamine, and serotonin levels while reducing anxiety-like behaviors in mice. It also reduced depression-like behaviors, and inflammatory cytokine levels, and increased anti-inflammatory cytokine levels in the serum of mice subjected to early life stress [1112].

7) Beneficial in Cardiovascular Diseases

L. plantarum Lowers Blood Pressure

L. plantarum fermented soymilk extract acts as a blood pressure-lowering agent [10].

Blueberries fermented with L. plantarum lower blood pressure and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases [13].

L. plantarum May Lower Cholesterol

In rats with diabetes, L. plantarum reduces blood triglyceride and “bad” LDL-cholesterol rates, while increasing the level of “good” HDL-cholesterol [14].

Total serum cholesterol and triglycerides were significantly reduced in mice with elevated cholesterol, after ingestion of L. plantarum [15].

Double-coated L. plantarum lowers cholesterol levels in mice on high-fat-diet [16].

L. plantarum May be Beneficial in Atherosclerosis

Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) from L. plantarum inhibits the production of proinflammatory cytokines and suppresses atherosclerotic plaque inflammation in mice [17].

8) Suppresses Inflammation

L. plantarum significantly decreases the production of proinflammatory cytokines in mice and rats [18, 19]. It also alleviated oxidative stress and adrenaline levels [18].

9) Beneficial in Obesity

A hypocaloric diet supplemented with a probiotic-enriched cheese containing L. plantarum reduced the BMI and blood pressure in Russian adults with obesity and hypertension [20].

L. plantarum protects from diet-induced obesity. This bacterium lowers body weight, fat mass, fasting blood glucose, serum insulin, and leptin levels and pro-inflammatory markers in obese mice [212223].

L. plantarum fermented barley reversed glucose intolerance, ameliorated elevated insulin, decreased levels of triglycerides and total cholesterol in rats on a high-fat-diet [24].

L. plantarum improved the hepatic and urinary functions of obese rats by inducing decreases in alanine aminotransferase (ALT), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), plasmatic triglycerides, total cholesterol concentrations, creatinine, urea, and body weight [25].

10) May be Beneficial for the Liver

Treatment of obstructive jaundice in rats with L. plantarum returned active liver barrier function [26].

L. plantarum protects against oxidative stress and inflammatory injury of the liver in mice [27].

L. plantarum alleviated liver damage in hyperlipidemic mice [28].

Treatment of L. plantarum for 5-weeks restored liver function in rats with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and decreased the levels of fat accumulation in the liver. In addition, the bacterium significantly reduced proinflammatory cytokines [19].

11) Beneficial in Type 2 Diabetes

L. plantarum reduces glucose levels in postmenopausal women [20].

L. plantarum decreased food intake, blood glucose level, glycosylated hemoglobin level and leptin levels in mice. This bacterium also favorably regulated insulin level and increased “good” (HDL) cholesterol [29].

L. plantarum caused a significant reduction of blood glucose levels in response to insulin in mice on a high-fat-diet [30].

Treatment with L. plantarum favorably regulates blood glucose, hormones, and lipid metabolism in the diabetic rats [31].

L. plantarum significantly improved immunological parameters and protected the pancreatic tissues in rats with diabetes. Furthermore, this probiotic treatment markedly reduced pancreatic and plasmatic lipase activities and serum triglyceride and LDL-cholesterol rates and increased the level of HDL-Cholesterol. It also exerted efficient protective effects on the liver and kidney functions [14].

Soy milk containing L. plantarum has antioxidative properties and decreases the risk of DNA damage among patients with T2D [20].

12) Beneficial for the GI Tract

L. plantarum reduces inflammation in intestinal epithelial cells [32].

Intake of L. plantarum can counteract unwanted bacteria in the intestine [3].

L. plantarum enhanced gastrointestinal transit in mice with loperamide-induced constipation [33].

L. plantarum May Ameliorate Ulcers

Oral administration of L. plantarum ameliorates ulcerative colitis in mice via both anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities [34].

L. plantarum Alleviates IBS

L. plantarum reduces gas problems and pain in people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome [35].

L. plantarum Combats H. pylori

L. plantarum prevents gastric mucosal inflammation and gastric microbiota alteration induced by H. pylori infection in mice [36].

L. plantarum delays the colonization of H. pylori in rat stomachs attenuates gastric inflammation and ameliorates gastric histopathology [37].

13) Induces Wound Healing

L. plantarum reduced infected chronic venous ulcer wound bacterial load, neutrophils, apoptotic and necrotic cells, and induced wound healing in both diabetics and non-diabetics [38].

14) May be Beneficial for Growth in Infants

L. plantarum strain maintains the growth of infant mice during chronic undernutrition [39].

15) Beneficial for Dental Health

Heat-killed L. plantarum can decrease the depth of periodontal pockets in patients undergoing supportive periodontal therapy [40].

16) Amazing for the Skin

L. plantarum improves skin hydration has anti-photoaging effects on the human skin [4142].

L. plantarum inhibits the degradation of collagen and promotes its synthesis, decreasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) production [43].

In hairless mice, L. plantarum decreased UVB-induced epidermal thickness, suppressed water loss and increased the ceramide level [4445].

In clinical trials, L. plantarum significantly increased the skin water content in the face and hands. Volunteers in the probiotic group had a significant reduction in wrinkle depth at week 12, and skin gloss was also significantly improved by week 12. Skin elasticity in the probiotic group improved by 13.17% after 4 weeks and by 21.73% after 12 weeks [46].

17) Alleviates Atopic Dermatitis

Daily intake of citrus juice containing heat-killed L. plantarum alleviates symptoms of atopic dermatitis in humans [47].

L. plantarum isolated from Kimchi improves mouse atopic dermatitis [48].

18) May Improve Athletic Performance

L. plantarum significantly decreased body weight and increased relative muscle weight, grip strength and endurance swimming time in mice [49].

19) Boosts Immunity

L. plantarum improves immune activity and decreases stress markers [50].

L. plantarum enhances the immunity of the small intestine in immunosuppressed mice [51].

Even heat-killed L. plantarum activates innate and acquired immunity in humans [40].

L. plantarum Protects Against Viruses

In mice infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), oral administration of L. plantarum significantly delayed the development of skin lesions in the early phase of infection and reduced the amount of virus in the brain [52].

L. plantarum isolated from the fermented Korean cabbage conferred 100% protection against lethal infection with influenza A viruses, prevented significant weight loss and lowered lung viral loads in mice [53].

20) Combats Allergies

L. plantarum reduces the allergenicity of soy flour [54].

Citrus juice fermented by L. plantarum can improve the symptoms of Japanese cedar pollinosis [55].

Oral administration of L. plantarum alleviated airway hyperresponsiveness and the allergic responses in mice [56].

21) Combats Candida

L. plantarum kills Candida in the laboratory [57].

In patients with vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), L. plantarum reduces vaginal discomfort after conventional treatment, improves vaginal bacteria content and the vaginal pH value [58].

In a clinical trial, L. plantarum use was associated with a three-fold reduced risk of recurrence of vulvovaginal candidiasis [59].

22) Combats Cancer

L. plantarum enhances the anti-tumor immune response and delays tumor formation in mice with intestinal adenocarcinoma [60].

Long-term administration of L. plantarum is effective against breast cancer in rats [6162].

L. plantarum inhibits the development of rat colon carcinogenesis [63].

Nano-sized L. plantarum exhibits anti-colorectal cancer activities in mice [64].

L. plantarum significantly inhibited the proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma cells, gastric cancer cells and colorectal adenocarcinoma cells [65].

23) May be Beneficial for Female Fertility

L. plantarum ameliorated inflammation induced infertility in mice [66].

L. plantarum reinforced natural microflora and lead to a resurge of fertility in mice infected with E. coli [67].

24) Helps With Histamine Intolerance

L plantarum is able to degrade biogenic amines [68] and can potentially help with histamine intolerance.


  • Decreases the production of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1) [32­.]
  • Increases the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10) [18].
  • Decreases ALT and AST [27].
  • Decreases NF-κB [27].


No adverse effects of any kind were observed in rats, even after consuming large quantities [69]. However, as with other probiotics, use in patients with organ failure, immunocompromised status, and dysfunctional gut barrier mechanisms can lead to infections.


Theses probiotic products contain L. plantarum:

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About the Author

Biljana Novkovic

Biljana received her PhD from Hokkaido University.
Before joining SelfHacked, she was a research scientist with extensive field and laboratory experience. She spent 4 years reviewing the scientific literature on supplements, lab tests and other areas of health sciences. She is passionate about releasing the most accurate science & health information available on topics, and she's meticulous when writing and reviewing articles to make sure the science is sound. She believes that SelfHacked has the best science that is also layperson-friendly on the web.

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