Feature: Beyond Nutrition©


Alternavita Magazine© Feature Article

Beyond Nutrition

The Metabolic Miracles Of Kefir

Cardiovascular Disease, Metabolic Syndromes, Cancer And Liver Disease

Kefir has attracted the attention of doctors and pharmacists due to its health benefits including, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antimutagenic, anti-allergic, anti-diabetic, hypercholesteremic, anti-inflammatory and immunostimulatory and immune modulating effects.

Kefir is a synbiotic with ability to treat a myriad of conditions

While it is difficult to isolate the most beneficial properties of kefir as it is a fermented synbiotic product with a variety of host mediated response mechanisms, some isolates have been suggested to offer greater therapeutic potential. Among them are kefiran, lactic acid bacteria and beneficial yeasts.

Kefiran, the EPS (exo-polysaccharide) of kefir, has important physicochemical properties. Kefiran properties suggest its use as antioxidant, antitumor agent, antimicrobial agent, and immunomodulator, among other roles.

Metabolic syndromes have far exceeded infectious disease in importance

While infectious diseases were the most important health issue in the world until the beginning of the 20th century cardiovascular and metabolic diseases gradually became the largest contributors to global morbidity and mortality. These problems are expected to continue for several more decades. Research has confirmed that there is a reciprocal interaction between gut microbiota and the function of different organs. Gut dysbiosis contributes to the onset or worsening of systemic abnormalities. This current scenario has resulted in growing interest in probiotic nutraceuticals, which are known to maintain gut homeostasis and to prevent or reverse gut dysbiosis.

Drug resistant cancers show kefir has significant anti-cancer properties

Cancer is a major health problem in many parts of the world. Conventional anticancer treatments are painful, expensive, and unsafe. Therefore, demand is increasing for cancer treatments in the form of functional foods. Kefir has significant antimutagenic and antitumor properties. Many investigations approved its anticarcinogenic, and antitumoral activities against many cancers such as skin, stomach, colon, breast, leukemia, lung cancers and sarcomas. Some deadly cancers have become drug resistant, kefir bio activities have shown significant potential against these types of cancers due to the inability of cancer to evade or spread and the ability to increase this potential via various fermentation techniques while not harming normal cells.

Diet associated conditions are becoming more deadly and costly

Kefir and its related products have also attracted the attention of nutritionists due to the effects of increasing diet associated chronic malnutrition syndromes and non alcoholic liver disease worldwide that can begin at birth and greatly affect higher disease and mortality rates thereafter.

In recent years, people have changed their eating habits, and high-fructose-containing foods have become widespread. High-fructose intake is suggested to be a key factor that induces non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Kefir has demonstrated numerous biological activities, including antibacterial, antioxidant and immunostimulating effects. Recent studies have evaluated the effects of kefir peptides on high-fructoseinduced NAFLD and have shown great therapeutic while proposing exact mechanism of benefit.

Kefir’s superior anti oxidant potential is well above previous well known antioxidants in the form of vitamins or other common drugs and appears to work by amplifying inherent intracellular and mitochondrial responses of the host while not harming normal cells. Kefir has shown liver regeneration effects.

Many factors influence kefir production

Many factors influence kefir production to either increase or decrease its potential. Fermentation conditions, substrates, ph, denaturing of proteins, temperature, storage conditions the addition of raw milk vs. pasteurized or heat treated milk, the addition or subtraction of various probiotics and yeasts and the effects of freeze drying are among the many of the factors that influence the final kefir product. However, all kefir products have shown significant potential in preventing, modulating and alleviating a myriad of conditions whether kefir is produced from grains or a starter culture. There are no two kefir grain formulations that are exactly alike, making kefir a very localized product with exponentially increasing research outcomes and applications.

Cancer and child studies on the effects of kefir are very difficult to perform for obvious reasons, therefore the desire for a high safety profile before undertaking large clinical studies is crucial. Kefir has a high safety and tolerability profile in the majority of subjects but use is restricted for some severe genetic conditions. Commercial kefir is produced from well studied starter cultures shown to be beneficial in the majority.

In conclusion

Beyond extensive nutritional value via modulation of the gut/immune system and further effects to the systemic immune system kefir has been shown to have bio active properties that address a myriad of costly health problems from metabolic syndromes to cardiovascular disease, liver failure and cancer. Increasing clinical results show its large scale potential as a viable nutraceutical.

6 thing you should know about kefir, the metabolic miracle

  1. Probiotic kefir must be administered for at least 30 days to achieve a significant reduction of hypertension. An important mechanism by which kefir causes a reduction of BP is through the inhibition of the excessive generation of reactive oxygen species. Elevated oxidative stress contributes cardiovascular abnormalities; vascular inflammation, disturbed blood flow or abnormal shear stress, endothelial dysfunction, and arterial wall remodeling.
  2. Kefir lowers cholesterol. Friendly yeast strains in kefir present high levels of bile salt hydrolase activity, which deconjugates bile acids and increases its excretion in the feces, helping to lower cholesterol.
  3. Kefir can increase anti-inflammatory cytokines and decrease pro-inflammatory responses, justifying its anti-atherosclerotic potential.
  4. Although lifestyle changes and pharmacotherapy are main strategies to control MS (Metabolic Syndrome) progression, these actions show only partial success. It has been shown that healthy gut microbiota helps to control obesity and insulin resistance. The intestinal microbiome differs in lean and obese subjects and insulinresistant patients developed an improvement in the metabolic profile after transplantation with ‘healthy gut microbiota’ from lean donors.
  5. Proteinuria and azotemia observed in rats with type I diabetes mellitus were reduced by treatment with kefir.
  6. Data have demonstrated that kefir peptides can improve the symptoms of NAFLD, including body weight, energy intake, inflammatory reaction and the formation of fatty liver.

A Healthy Microbiome Is Necessary For Cancer Protection

  • Kefir as a probiotic-containing fermented milk product has been shown to exert cytotoxic effects on tumor cells. A notable decrease in tumor size and weight, a considerable enhancement in helper T cells and cytotoxic T cells as well as significant decreases in metastasis to lung and bone marrow were detected after kefir treatment.
  • Probiotics have been shown to influence all cell types and pathways implicated in metastasis. The beneficial effects of lactobacilli in cancer therapy are not confined to their immunomodulatory effects. They have been shown to alter expression of several genes involved in cell transformation, migration and invasion.
  • LAB (lactic acid bacteria) can induce cancer cell death through the mechanism, apoptosis. There are two major pathways of apoptosis; these are the extrinsic and intrinsic pathways. The former is mediated by activation of death receptors and caspase 8, while the latter involves mitochondria and caspase. The mitochondrial pathway appears to be the main route for the induction of apoptosis against gastric cancer cells by different types of probiotics. LAB induces the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis in myeloid leukemia as well.

Significant Improvement In Severity Of Fatty Liver

Researchers found a significant improvement in the severity of fatty liver and a significant decrease in (BMI) of
children with NAFLD treated for 4 months with bifidobacteria, lactobacilli and S. thermophilus strains. These data suggest that probiotics could reduce liver fat and thus prevent the progression of NAFLD. Similar results were obtained with the association L. acidophilus and B. lactis for 8 weeks in adult patients with NAFLD: at the end of treatment, there was a significant improvement of transaminases and cholesterolaemia compared to the control group.

Today many doctors are recommending kefir to their patients, how can you increase benefit of fermented dairy foods like kefir, yogurt and buttermilk?

Alternavita – Right Track News

The higher protein concentration of infant formulas compared with breast milk has been suggested to be a source of metabolic stress on tissues such as the liver and kidneys in the still-developing infant. It is also thought to be a contributing factor to growth differences observed between formula-fed and breastfed infants. In a double-blind randomized controlled trial, 21 fed infants standard formula or α-lactalbumin–enriched formula (25% of total protein vs 11% in the standard formula) from 6 weeks to 6 months of age and compared them with breastfed infants. The protein content of each formula was 13.1 g/L. Compared with infants fed the standard formula, infants fed the α-lactalbumin–enriched formula had a growth pattern more similar to that of breastfed infants and plasma amino acid concentrations similar to or higher than those of breastfed infants.


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