Author Topic: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?  (Read 2379 times)

Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« on: October 17, 2010, 12:57:31 pm »
My other half has had a major problem with allergic asthma, now thankfully improved by boosting her immune system (well, that was the theory, at least). In part this has been through the use of Kefir as a pro-biotic. (The other part was "enzyme-potentiated desensitisation", EPD).

The Kefir culture usually goes bad after c. a week, so we get through a starter culture pack every month or so. And the packs are not that cheap (£26).  I was just re-odering Kefir from the web, when my eye fell on the description (in the link) and I wondered if anyone here could comment on the microbiology? To me it seems a mixture of opinion, "science" and pseudo-science.

The point of using these methods at all is that the NHS doesn't do this stuff well. It's not in the mainstream, probably not yet subjected to double-blind trials or peer-review of papers. But it's probably not just the placebo effect (powerful though that is). But how to tell the fact from the fantasy?


clarion

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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2010, 08:46:10 pm »
Desensitisation is a perfectly respectable therapy, and I underwent several courses under Dr Harold Morrow Brown of Derby Chest Clinic, who was the leading expert at the time.  It fell out of favour for a while, after a couple of cases of anaphylaxis, but it's now recognised they were pretty rare, so it re-emerged.

However, that website seems to add a layer of 'woo' to it, and I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them.

Kefir, in particular, seems to be snake oil. 
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2010, 09:18:22 pm »
Kefir is just another cultured dairy product, like yoghurt, as far as I can see. I like it. You can get it in every supermarket here in Poland, I can't remember the price off hand but 26 pounds to make 6 litres seems way over the top, even allowing for the obvious international price difference. However, I've not heard of people making their own at home - I expect some people do though. It had never occurred to me that it was possible to make non-dairy kefir, either! Presumably the bacteria or whatever it is will also grow on soya milk etc. Sorry, I know nothing of it being used to treat asthma. I'd imagine you'd be just as well with yoghurt, really.
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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2010, 11:23:16 pm »
I may be being over simplistic here but don't probiotics add bacteria to your digestive system and isn't asthma a lung and respiratory tract issue. I don't see how a probiotic would help.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 03:52:23 pm »
I picked up some kefir grains y'day, will taste my first fermentation this evening. My grains were free, I contacted somebody local using this site. They do kambucha too so I might pay another visit when i've mastered the kefir.

andygates

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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 04:28:33 pm »
If it was a wonderstuff, ubermench fuelled by it would be marching on London.  Or something.  Anyone selling wonderstuff who isn't just saying it's wonderfully tasty is shilling.  The bumf as written is pure sales flannel; if it truly adds flora permanently, why would you need to buy it more than once?

I note that the wiki article on EPD makes the distinction between it and the desensitisation Clarion mentions.
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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2013, 08:58:07 pm »
Desensitisation is a perfectly respectable therapy, .
My stepfather had it for his hay fever, in the 1970s. He found it effective, but by no means permanent. He got at least one good hay fever season out of each treatment, though.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2020, 08:55:57 am »
I'll resurrect this thread.

My daughter has been an evangelical advocate of kefir for quite some time. She's also pursuing a course in ayeurvedic (sp?) medicine, which is also one of the bees that buzzes inside her rather voluminous bonnet. She's been trying to persuade me to partake in one or the other, if not both. She is utterly convinced that gut biome is a Very Important Thing and is convinced that mine is All Wrong and that could well account for my obesity.

Anyway, I've been resisting her persuasive forces for quite a long time, but she mentioned the other day that she had over-ordered and it would be a shame if it went to waste. Now this could genuinely be accidental, but she also knows my frugal nature and that I hate waste (an attitude which probably has a lot more to do with my obesity than the wrong gut biome) so I have a bottle in the fridge. I've had a couple of tablespoons full so far, one yesterday and one today. I think it's utterly revolting but I'll see this bottle out.

She gets it from this lot: https://www.chucklinggoat.co.uk/product/live-goats-milk-kefir/

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Blimey, no wonder the goats are chuckling at that price. They are based in Llandysul. Do you have any interesting local gossip on them, Basil?
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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2020, 08:59:44 am »
1 Litre of kefir from my local polish sklep, £0.99.

Tastes good, too.

Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2020, 09:23:26 am »
Kefir has always struck me as one of the less offensive Eastern European off-milk products, though that doesn't mean that I'd go out of my way to drink it. I can imagine that goat's milk kefir would be pretty rank, though.

Obviously you should try kumys. Described as the world's most refreshing drink, it is often said that you don't need a second glass. This is absolutely true, I've drunk a glass of kumys and felt no desire whatsoever for a second. Ever. Rancid feta cheese is the best description I can come up with for the taste, but this really doesn't do it justice.

Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2020, 10:13:22 am »
There does seem to be some evidence that gut biome is important, but there are a whole bunch of snake oil salesmen (and women) out there. Best advice seems to be plenty of fibre and veg, varied diet and a bit of blue cheese. Or you could eat the barely cooked entrails of freshly killed porcupine;)

Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2020, 10:16:37 am »
I was going to mention blue cheese. Much underrated.
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Karla

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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2020, 10:22:57 am »
Obviously you should try kumys. Described as the world's most refreshing drink, it is often said that you don't need a second glass. This is absolutely true, I've drunk a glass of kumys and felt no desire whatsoever for a second. Ever. Rancid feta cheese is the best description I can come up with for the taste, but this really doesn't do it justice.

You made it to the end of the glass?  Chapeau!

Kumys  :sick:

Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2020, 11:29:54 am »
It can be had very cheaply at the various european supermarkets and even mainstream ones such as Asda and Waitrose for not very many pennies. 

As for it's health-giving qualities:  if it was genuinely as good as the claims then it would be a massive success.  Snake oil is truly marvellous stuff you know ...

Nothing beats a properly balanced diet free from excesses and a decent amount of physical exertion for the vast majority of us.

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2020, 11:30:45 am »
There does seem to be some evidence that gut biome is important, but there are a whole bunch of snake oil salesmen (and women) out there. Best advice seems to be plenty of fibre and veg, varied diet and a bit of blue cheese. Or you could eat the barely cooked entrails of freshly killed porcupine;)

Notably supported by the fact that faecal transplants have cured gut problems in some people.

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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2020, 11:38:44 am »
Obviously you should try kumys. Described as the world's most refreshing drink, it is often said that you don't need a second glass. This is absolutely true, I've drunk a glass of kumys and felt no desire whatsoever for a second. Ever. Rancid feta cheese is the best description I can come up with for the taste, but this really doesn't do it justice.

You made it to the end of the glass?  Chapeau!

Kumys  :sick:

Only because it contained alcohol.

Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2020, 11:51:17 am »
There does seem to be some evidence that gut biome is important, but there are a whole bunch of snake oil salesmen (and women) out there. Best advice seems to be plenty of fibre and veg, varied diet and a bit of blue cheese. Or you could eat the barely cooked entrails of freshly killed porcupine;)

Notably supported by the fact that faecal transplants have cured gut problems in some people.

...I could imagine putting blood donor on a CV.

I am led to believe that they are smelly, messy and that you need to be confident in the donor’s health. Blue cheese remains my preference.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2020, 12:59:37 pm »
There does seem to be some evidence that gut biome is important, but there are a whole bunch of snake oil salesmen (and women) out there. Best advice seems to be plenty of fibre and veg, varied diet and a bit of blue cheese. Or you could eat the barely cooked entrails of freshly killed porcupine;)

Effectively few of the bacteria you eat won't survive your stomach, which is a big bag of acid. I am sure someone, somewhere is offering a kefir enema. I'll pass.

A healthy gut microbiome seems to be a function of variety, the more diverse the population of microbes, the better your intestinal (and other health) is likely to be. This is a reflection of overall diet and dietary diversity, so the same practical nutritional advice applies: eat plenty – and a wide range of – fruit and veg, cut down on meat, refined and processed foods. Not as exciting as a wonder drink, of course, but tastes a lot better.
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2020, 01:19:03 pm »
I don't believe in the concept of superfoods but kefir is very tasty and, I'm sure, quite good for you. Dairy products as slimming aid is a concept I'm not entirely convinced though.
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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2020, 07:12:02 pm »
As post above. I picked up some Milk Kefir grains in March 2013 and they are still in production. Homemade is more superior than shop bought.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2020, 08:36:29 pm »
I checked so you lot don't have a browser history like mine, but probiotic enemas are a thing. I'd probably avoid the more effervescent kombuchas though.
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Gattopardo

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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2020, 08:45:02 pm »
There does seem to be some evidence that gut biome is important, but there are a whole bunch of snake oil salesmen (and women) out there. Best advice seems to be plenty of fibre and veg, varied diet and a bit of blue cheese. Or you could eat the barely cooked entrails of freshly killed porcupine;)

Eating things like fermented foods like saurkraut, kimichi etc helps too.
 

Gattopardo

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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2020, 08:46:37 pm »
I checked so you lot don't have a browser history like mine, but probiotic enemas are a thing. I'd probably avoid the more effervescent kombuchas though.
Maybe a coffee enema first thing in the morning.

Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2020, 03:34:43 pm »
kefir is very tasty. I'm 100% sure it's a healthy drink. many people who drink it for the first time cannot understand what it is. one friend was surprised that I drink kefir. for him it's like sour milk. but this drink creates a healthy flora in the intestines.
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citoyen

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Re: Kefir the wonder food. True or False?
« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2020, 05:36:29 pm »
Fizzy milk. :sick:

No thanks. I have no intention of learning to like it. I do like yoghurt, it's mostly the fizziness that puts me off kefir.

Kimchi and sauerkraut, on the other hand, I could eat by the bucketful. I quite like kombucha as well.

A couple of people have alread said upthread that the best way to support your gut microbiome is to eat a healthy, varied diet ("eat a rainbow" as they say) with lots of fibre. This is exactly right. Gut bugs feed on fibre.

It's still a developing area of science but there's a lot of evidence these days to support the importance of healthy gut flora, with proven links to other aspects of health seemingly unconnected with the gut (eg depression, joint inflammation, skin allergies).

I think the jury is out on probiotic supplements though*, and on the supposed health benefits of things like kefir and kombucha. I know in some countries they prescribe kefir following a course of antibiotics to help replenish gut microbes, but drinking a daily dose of fizzy milk won't do you any good if you live off Coco Pops and KFC.


*as ian said, the acid in your stomach will kill most of the bugs in your food, which is a really, really good thing on the whole, and probably one of the main reasons the human race didn't die out hundreds of thousands of years ago
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