Arerra, Augat, Bifidobacteria-Fermented Milk (BFM), Buttermilk, Cultured Dairy Foods, Cultured Dairy Products, Cultured Milk Products, Dadhi, Dahi, Ergo, Fermented Dairy Product, Ititu, Matzoon, Mazoni, Ropy Milk, Traditional Fermented Curd.
Fermented milk products are created when milk ferments with lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacilli or Bifidobacteria spp. The fermentation process makes the fermented milk product easier to digest, especially for people who have milk allergies or are lactose-intolerant. Fermentation also increases the shelf-life of the milk product.
People take fermented milk by mouth for diarrhea caused by rotavirus, hay fever caused by ragweed, diarrhea caused by antibiotics, arthritis, asthma, biliary disorders, bladder cancer prevention, breast cancer, child growth, colitis, colon cancer prevention, constipation, Crohn's disease, dental cavities, diabetes, diarrhea, indigestion, gas, gallbladder disease, stomach cancer, stomach flu, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), iron deficiency anemia, heart disease, Japanese cedar pollinosis, lactose intolerance, obesity, osteoporosis, infection of the pancreas, stomach ulcers, inflammation in an artificial rectum created after surgery for ulcerative colitis (pouchitis), side effects cause by radiation that affect the stomach, respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, ulcerative colitis, and urinary tract infections (UTI).
People apply fermented milk to the skin for canker sores, sunburn, skin ulcers, vaginitis, and wrinkled skin.
How does it work?
Fermentation of milk involves adding lactic acid bacteria to the milk product. The bacteria break down milk proteins. This helps people with allergies to milk protein digest milk. Also, the bacteria break down lactose. This helps people who are lactose intolerant digest milk. Fermented milk also seems to help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and prevent cancer from growing. These improvements might be due to the antioxidant or immune-stimulating effects of fermented milk products.
Possibly Effective for...
- Diarrhea caused by rotavirus.Some evidence suggests that drinking a fermented milk product containing Lactobacillus GG for about 5 days reduces the duration of diarrhea in children with diarrhea caused by rotavirus.
- Hay fever caused by ragweed. Some research shows that drinking fermented milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus can reduce nasal, but not eye-related symptoms, associated with hay fever in adults. Other research suggests that drinking fermented milk containing other types of Lactobacillus bacteria as well as Streptococcus thermophiles might decrease the occurrence of hay fever in both children and adolescents. However, some conflicting evidence exists.
- Diarrhea caused by antibiotics. Some evidence shows that taking fermented milk containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species by mouth daily reduces the risk of developing diarrhea while taking antibiotics. Other research suggests that taking fermented milk containing two Lactobacillus species by mouth daily for 2 days and continuing until the end of antibiotic treatment reduces the risk of developing diarrhea in people who are hospitalized.
- Diarrhea. Early research suggests that drinking milk fermented that contains Lactobacillus casei for one month reduces the severity of diarrhea in infants and children. There is mixed evidence about whether drinking this fermented milk reduces the number of times that diarrhea occurs in infants and children. Other early research shows that using a specific fermented milk product (Actimel) containing Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophiles reduces the length of time needed to stop diarrhea in children 6 months to 5 years-old.
- Ulcers caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Research shows that drinking a fermented milk beverage containing Streptococcus thermophiles and Bifidobacterium bifidum or Lactobacillus johnsonii daily for 12-16 weeks improves stomach symptoms caused by H. pylori infection. Other research shows that adding a specific fermented milk product (Actimel) to standard antibiotic therapy improves H. pylori infections faster than antibiotics alone.
- Lactose intolerance. Some research shows that taking fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus acidophilus reduces bloating, diarrhea, and pain in people with lactose intolerance. Other research suggests similar effects when fermented milk products are consumed by lactase-deficient people along with meals that contain lactose.
- High blood pressure. Some evidence shows that taking tablets containing powdered fermented milk by mouth for 4 weeks lowers systolic but not diastolic blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Other research shows that taking a fermented milk product containing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) by mouth for 12 weeks decreases blood pressure in women with slightly high blood pressure.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some early research suggests that drinking a specific probiotic fermented milk (AB100, Jiannend, Bright Dair, Shanghai, China) twice daily for 4 weeks decreases IBS symptoms, including pain and gas. Other research found similar findings for another fermented milk product (Activia, Danone) containing Bifidobacterium animalis.
- Gastrointestinal radiation side effects. Research suggests that drinking fermented milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus daily for 5 days before radiotherapy and continuing for 10 days after reduces diarrhea and other stomach side effects caused by radiation. Other research suggests that drinking fermented milk containing Lactococcus species might improve stomach discomfort after radiation of the pelvic area.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). Some research shows that drinking fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus acidophilus daily for up to one year decreases ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Asthma. Research shows that taking fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophiles by mouth once daily for 12 months does not reduce asthma attacks in preschool children.
- Japanese cedar pollinosis. Drinking fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei daily for 8 weeks does not reduce nasal allergy symptoms in people with Japanese cedar pollinosis.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Breast cancer. Early research suggests that drinking fermented milk daily for one year is linked to a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
- Constipation. Early research suggests that taking a specific fermented milk product (BIO, Danone, Shanghai, China) containing Bifidobacterium lactis, Streptococcus thermophiles, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus by mouth daily for 2 weeks reduces constipation in women.
- Child growth. Early research suggests that giving preschool children a fermented milk beverage containing iron for 101 days improves nutrition status, but does not affect weight or height.
- High cholesterol. Some research suggests that taking a specific fermented milk product (Gaio) containing Enterococcus faecium and Streptococcus thermophiles by mouth daily while following the American Heart Association diet for 8 weeks lowers total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol. However, other early research suggests that taking fermented milk might not lower cholesterol levels.
- Stomach ulcers. Early evidence from a population study shows that consuming more fermented milk products is linked to a lower risk of stomach ulcers in adults.
- Inflammation in an artificial rectum created after surgery for ulcerative colitis (pouchitis). Early research suggests that taking a specific fermented milk product (Cultura Daries BA, Oslo, Norway) containing lactobacilli and bifidobacteria by mouth daily for 4 weeks improves symptoms of pouchitis.
- Biliary disorders.
- Bladder cancer prevention.
- Colon cancer prevention.
- Crohn's disease.
- Dental cavities.
- Stomach gas.
- Gallbladder disease.
- Stomach cancer.
- Stomach flue.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- Iron deficiency anemia.
- Heart disease.
- Pancreas infection.
- Respiratory tract infections.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Canker sores.
- Skin breakages.
- Wrinkled skin.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Fermented milk is LIKELY SAFE when taking by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods.
Fermented milk is POSSIBLY SAFE when taking by mouth in amounts used for medicine for up to one year.
There is not enough information available to know if fermented milk is safe when applied to the skin.
Children: Fermented milk is LIKELY SAFE when taking by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods. Fermented milk is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts for up to 5 days.
Low blood pressure: Fermented milk might reduce blood pressure. In theory, taking fermented milk might cause blood pressure to become too low when used by people who already have low blood pressure.
Weakened immune system: Some fermented milk products contain live bacteria. There is some concern that the bacteria in fermented milk might grow too well in people whose immune systems are weakened. This includes people with HIV/AIDS or people who have taken medicines to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ. Lactobacillus, one type of bacteria found in fermented milk products, has caused disease (rarely) in people with weakened immune systems. To be on the safe side, if you have a weakened immune system, talk with your healthcare provider before taking fermented milk products.
Antibiotic drugsInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Antibiotics eradicate many different types of bacteria. Fermented milk products contain some types of bacteria. Taking antibiotics with fermented milk might eradicate the bacteria in fermented milk. This might decrease how well the fermented milk product works. To avoid this, antibiotics and fermented milk should be taken at least 2 hours apart.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Drinking fermented milk might reduce blood pressure in some people. In theory, taking fermented milk with medications for high blood pressure might increase the risk of blood pressure dropping too low.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Fermented milk can stimulate the immune system. In theory, taking fermented milk might decrease the effects of medications that decrease the immune system.
Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), and other corticosteroids (glucocorticoids).
- For hay fever: 100 mL of heat-treated fermented milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus daily for 8 weeks has been used.
- For diarrhea caused by antibiotics: 250 mL of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium daily for 14 days has been used. 49 grams of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei (Bio-K+ CL1285, Bio-K+ International Inc, Canada) daily for 2 days followed by 98 grams daily until the end of antibiotic treatment has been used.
- For ulcers caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori): 100 mL of a fermented milk beverage containing Bifidobacterium bifidum and Streptococcus thermophiles daily for 12 weeks has been used. Fermented milk containing Staphylococcus thermophiles and Lactobacillus johnsonii daily for 16 weeks has been used.
- For high blood pressure: Six tablets containing powdered fermented milk with Lactobacillus helveticus daily for 4 weeks has been used. Also, 500 mL of fermented milk daily for 8 weeks has been used. Fermented milk containing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) daily for 12 weeks has been used.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): 200 grams of a specific probiotic fermented milk (AB100 Jianneng, Bright Dairy, Shanghai, China) containing Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum, twice daily for 4 weeks has been used. Also, 125 grams of a specific fermented milk product (Activia, Danone) containing Bifidobacterium animalis and yogurt strains twice daily for 6 weeks has been used.
- For lactose intolerance: A single dose of 480 mL of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus acidophilus has been used. A single dose of specific fermented milk products (Ofilus, which contains Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, or Bulgofilus, which contains Lactobacillus bulgaricus) has been used.
- For gastrointestinal radiation side effects: 150 milliliters of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus daily for 5 days before radiotherapy and continuing for 10 days after has been used.
- For inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis): 100 milliliters of fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus acidophilus daily for up to one year has been used.
- For diarrhea caused by rotavirus: 125 grams of a fermented milk product containing Lactobacillus GG twice daily for 5 days has been used.
- For hay fever: 100 mL of a fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophiles once daily for 12 months has been used. Also, 200-400 mL of fermented milk containing Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactobacillus paracasei daily for 30 days has been used.
- For diarrhea: 125 or 250 grams of milk fermented by yogurt cultures and Lactobacillus casei daily for one month has been used in infants and children. 100 grams of milk fermented with Lactobacillus casei has been use in children 6 to 24 months-old.
- For ulcers caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori): A specific fermented milk product (Actimel) containing Lactobacillus casei, along with standard antibiotic therapy, daily for 14 days has been used.
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