Kefir, a mildly alcoholic, fermented milk drink containing a variety of live microorganisms, has been shown to reduce allergic responses in mice.
Already popular as a health food in Eastern and Central Europe, kefir is now gaining fans among Western European consumers because it is easily digested and has probiotic and neutraceutical properties.
After consuming kefir for three weeks, mice injected with an egg allergen during a study in 2006 showed a reduction of 66 and 50 per cent respectively in levels of the allergy-specific Immunoglobin E (IgE) and G1 (IgG1).
Also of potential significance from this study was the finding that the kefir had changed the microflora of the intestines, increasing numbers of the beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, while decreasing levels of the potentially harmful bacterium Clostridium.
Furthermore, the researchers reported that kefir prevented food antigens passing through the intestinal wall, and that the fermented milk is also thought to stimulate macrophage (scavenger cell) production, thus improving immunity.
NB: This post is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment