Cultured milk cure.
Drinking kefir milk soothes my sensitive stomach. Is there any research on it for treating IBS?
Laura Edwards, email
Clinical proof is lacking, but preliminary research supports the claim that probiotic bacteria in the creamy beverage ease irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms like bloating and pain by suppressing mild inflammation in the gut. The cultured milk product also delivers healthy doses of magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, and the calming amino acid tryptophan.
Found in the organic dairy section of many grocery stores, kefir milk contains friendly yeast bacteria and a larger variety of probiotics than yogurt, reports Chris McMullen, Pharm.D., R.N., at the Guyer Institute of Molecular Medicine in Indianapolis. The drink is also easy and inexpensive to make at home by adding kefir grains from online retailers to cow's or goat's milk.
"I recommend kefir milk to anyone with IBS, especially when the product is made at home with a high-quality starter-I prefer Yogourmet brand," says Dr. McMullen. He points out that commercial products may be pasteurized after fermentation, a process that reduces the live bacteria content.
For more info on probiotics, read our feature story in this issue on page 26.
For a kefir milk recipe, go to saturdayeveningpost.com/kefir or write to Kefir, 1100 Waterway Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202.