Alternavita Magazine© Feature Article
The Champagne Of Milk
the metabolic miracles of kefir
Why is kefir gaining clinical popularity as an emerging nutra-ceutical?
The interest in developing functional foods is increasing because people want to improve their health and prevent diseases.
Kefir is a mildly acidic fermented beverage with high probiotic activity, produced by the addition of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts to milk. The composition of kefir varies according to factors such as milk type and the microbiological composition of culture types; kefir grain or commercial starter culture.
The microorganisms in kefir produce vitamins, degrade protein and hydrolyse lactose, resulting in a highly nutritious and digestible functional food.
Kefir has well demonstrated antimicrobial, immunological, anti-tumour and hypocholesterolaemic, anti-hypertensive, and anti-diabetic effects, as well as microbiome modulation and β-galactosidase activity.
Kefir grains show β-galactosidase enzyme activity, which stays active when consumed. β-galactosidase enzymes found in kefir and yogurt are able to convert gc globulin protein to macrophage activating factors during the fermentation process. β-Galactosidase treatment is a common first-stage modification of the three major subtypes of Gc protein to GcMAF (a popular and effective immune therapy treatment).
Kefir room temp. cultured is preferred to create β-galactosidase.
β-galactosidase, also called lactase is important for organisms as a key provider in the production of energy and a source of carbons through the break down of lactose to galactose and glucose. It is also important for the lactose intolerant as many adult humans lack the lactase enzyme, which has the same function of beta-gal, so they are not able to properly digest dairy products. Kefir is a good option for lactose-intolerant individuals, who cannot digest significant amounts of lactose, which is the predominant sugar in milk. As in yogurt, lactose content is reduced in kefir while that of β-galactosidase is increased. Lactose as a pre-biotic does not cause necrosis in premature infants and reduces H2S (hydrogen sulfide). Lactase enzyme deficiency correlates with immune deficiency.
Why is kefir different than yogurt?
Kefir grains have a complex composition of microbial species with the predominance of lactic acid bacteria and including acetic bacteria, yeasts, and fungi.
Kefir grain fermentations have been evaluated and a wide variety of bioactive compounds have been observed, such as organic acids, CO2, H2O2, bioactive peptides, exopolysaccharides (kefiran), and bacteriocins. These compounds act independently and together to produce various health benefits. The microbiological and chemical composition of kefir indicates that it is a very complex probiotic, with Lactobacillus species, generally the predominant microorganisms. Kefiran as found in kefir favors the activity of peritoneal macrophages and it also increases peritoneal IgA along with many other benefits including significant anti inflammatory benefits. IgA deficiency is an increasingly common immune deficiency syndrome and is associated with high risk for SIBO and IBD.
Blend plain, home made whole fat milk kefir, yogurt and fruit together with milk and bovine colostrum and let it refrigerate overnight to maximize benefit of each component while easing digestion
What are some of the health benefits associated with kefir as compared to yogurt?
The microorganisms in the kefir grains produce lactic acid, antibiotics and bactericides, which inhibit the development of pathogens. Kefir acts against the pathogenic bacteria salmonella, helicobacter, shigella, staph, e coli, enterobacter, listeria, streptococcus p. , streptococcus f., the fungus Candida albicans and many others. A mixture of kefir isolated bacteria and yeast is able to prevent diarrhea and colitis triggered by C. difficile. A combination of Lb. plantarum, K. marxianus, isolated from kefir grains and S. thermophilus isolated from yogurt starters, was able to inhibit the cytopathic action of Shiga toxins. Kefir (lactic acid bacteria) inhibits spore formation and aflatoxin produced by Aspergillus, a toxic compound formed in the field or during food storage. Kefir is a promising, safe alternative natural food preservative. The cell-free fraction of kefir or lactic acid bacteria isolated from kefir has been demonstrated to be anti tumoral against gastric, colon, breast, lymphatic and lung cancer. Kefir’s anti cancer effects are generating intense research today as a safe and effective cancer treatment. Lactic acid bacteria are critical for detox and energy creation as well as having well demonstrated anti inflammatory properties. Probiotic mediated modulation of host glutathione system is helpful in disease conditions like acute pancreatitis, lead induced oxidative stress and treatment of radiation induced enteritis and colitis. Probiotic intervention is useful for treatments and conditions that are known to rapidly decrease mucosal glutathione levels like radiation therapy and H. pylori infection.
More bio active nutritional benefits of kefir
Kefir microorganisms produce many vitamins. Yeasts in kefir provide essential growth nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins and favorably alters pH. The essential amino acid contents in kefir are valine, isoleucine, methionine, lysine, threonine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan. Tryptophan, one of the most important amino acids in kefir is of key importance in the nervous system. Kefir contains complete proteins that are partially digested, facilitating digestion by the body. Phosphorus, which is the second most abundant mineral in the human body, aids in the utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy, is abundant in kefir. Fermented milk products lead to a significant increase of butyrate, propionate and total SCFA, in the ascending, transverse and descending colon. Butyrate was the SCFA with the largest increase.
Many vitamins and important elements can be found in kefir. They include group B vitamins, vitamin A, C, D, E, K2, folic acid, biotin, macro elements such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and chloride; micro elements such as copper, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, cobalt and molybdenum. One cup of low fat kefir provides 7-14 grams of protein with about 140 calories. Kefir is beneficial to people who are trying to lose weight.
The benefits of consuming kefir are numerous, including nutritional, antibacterial, immunological, anti-tumoural, anti-carcinogenic, anti diabetic, hypocholesterolaemic effects and β-galactosidase activity.
How can you use kefir and yogurt to optimize nutritional benefits?
Lactic Acid Bacteria & Bifidobacteria Natural Health-Promoting Dairy Foods
LAB and bifidobacteria provide an effective way to increase vitamin levels in milk. Some bacterial strains in the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium provide an additional source of B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, cobalamin, folate, and biotin) during dairy fermentation. Deficiencies in vitamin B2 or vitamin B1 can lead to both liver and skin disorders and alterations in brain glucose metabolism
Folate (vitamin B9) deficiency is linked to neural tube defects, some cancers, poor cognitive performance and heart disease. Instead of synthetic folate, foods can be naturally fortified with folate synthesized by LAB and bifidobacteria. Streptococcus thermophilus and L. bulgaricus are suitable for yogurt naturally enriched in this vitamin. High folate concentration can be reached in yogurt as a result of the ability of S. thermophilus to produce this vitamin.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, particularly in vegetarians. Animals, plants and fungi cannot produce B12, it is exclusively produced by microorganisms. Cobalamin can be synthesized by bacteria such as L. reuteri, Propionibacterium freudenreichii and B. animalis Bb12.
Biotin (vitamin B7) deficiency can be caused by poor diet or genetic disorders that affect its metabolism. Biotin can be made by some LAB in dairy products. L. helveticus increased biotin content in fermented milks.
A Healthy Microbiome Is Necessary For Mental Health
Most GABA-producing strains are lactobacilli; L. brevis, L. paracasei, L. delbrueckii, L. buchneri, L. plantarum, L. helveticus, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Lactococcus lactis. Some, Bifidobacterium spp. were also reported to produce GABA, although with lower capacity than LAB. Yogurt enriched with GABA was produced using the strain S. thermophilus. Cheese Lactococcus lactis as source of GABA have been produced.
Particular species from the gut microbiome stimulate gut endocrine cells to produce serotonin, serotonin acts as a neuro transmitter. As a result of stimulating gut serotonin, research results observed more serotonin in the colon, and also more serotonin that is picked up by blood platelets and circulated systemically.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. Important functions of GABA are neurotransmission, induction of hypotension, diuretic effects, antidiabetic, relaxing and tranquilizer effects.
You can add specific probiotic strains from capsules to kefir and milk to increase vitamin content and offer other benefits like anti inflammatory and anti obesity. Current research provided evidence that probiotic therapy with L. plantarum and B. animalis can effectively attenuate MS progression as well as reinforce the polarization of regulatory T-cells.
Bifidobacterium animalis in combination with human origin of Lactobacillus plantarum ameliorate neuroinflammation in experimental model of multiple sclerosis by altering CD4+ T cell subset balance.
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