Probiotic Kefir Grains and Crohn's Diseaes / IBD
Many suggest that kefir may help people with Crohn's disease (and other
inflammatory bowl syndromes). To understand its effect we need to better
understand the basis for Crohn's Disease .
The gut hosts trillions of bacteria which cause no reaction. These so called commensal bacteria are harmless, and play an vital role in food digestion, production of micronutrients, and maintenance of a healthy immune system. In fact it is estimated that the number of bacteria in the human gut is 10 TIMEShigher than actual human cells, thus, making us more bacteria than human!
So what goes wrong in Crohn's disease?
The truth is that no one really knows, but some clues do exist. For example, an acute injury to the gut lining can cause a sever form of inflammation in animal models of the disease. It is believed that a breaking of the gut lining leads to a rapid invasion of these otherwise harmless bacteria, which lead to an immune activation. Normally, these bacteria are sequestered outside our body (in our gut), but once they invade our body the immune system reacts (as it should!). In most people these acute injuries are resolved quickly, but in some individuals chronic activation may occur. This leads to chronic inflammation and autoimmune attack on the gut leading to Crohn's disease.
So how may kefir help? Good question.
If bacteria are the source of the disease, introducing new bacteria may be the answer. By consuming kefir, we can change the gut flora (or bacterial
composition) in the gut. New evidence suggest that the beneficial effects of kefir are even more profound that initially thought. In a recent report an Argentinian group demonstrated that yogurt (kefir) can induce immune tolerance and resolve gut inflammation in mice. Immune tolerance is a process of immune "reeducation", whereby "bad" immune cells learn to live again with our body. This tolerance can potentially resolve gut inflammation altogether, but it requires perseverance and time.
I hope this is not too lengthily, but I thought that sharing this info may
explain some of the discussion in this wonderful thread.
Feedback would be greatly appreciated!
All the best!