Kefir grains are a type of SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), it’s this colony that forms the kefir grains. Several metabolic products are generated during kefir production and account for its distinct flavour and aroma: Lactic acid, ethanol, carbon dioxide, and aroma compounds such as
acetoin and acetaldehyde. During the storage process, microbiological, physicochemical, and sensory characteristics of kefir can further undergo changes, some of which improve its shelf life.
Kefir exhibits many health benefits due to its antimicrobial, anticancer, gastrointestinal tract effects, gut microbiota modulation and anti-diabetic effects. Because it is very difficult to instigate the production of new grains, most grains are acquired from an established colony. Kefir grains are available to buy online and in health food stores and can be reused indefinitely. Kefir grains are very robust and will thrive under ideal conditions and survive under adverse conditions.
Kefir grains can only be damaged by extreme heat above +85 degrees temperature. A temperature between 65 – 85 degrees is ideal for Kefir grains.
Kefir comes with a range of health benefits associated with probiotics, kefir contains many more strains of good bacteria than yogurt, and it colonises the digestive tract more comprehensively and for longer. The presence of these healthy bacteria in the digestive tract aids digestion, boosts immunity, and can ease the symptoms of IBS and many more ailments. The Kafir bacteria also produce lactic acid which soothes the gut lining. Kefir is rich in vitamin A, B2, B12, D, K, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Making it very good for your health, and well being.
Kefir grains are made up of proteins, lipids, and sugars, and are a catalyst for the fermentation process just like barley or wheat grains in beer. When added to cow’s milk, goat’s milk or sheep’s milk, kefir grains will ferment the milk and will also grow allowing them to be reused over and over. Kefir grains can also ferment milk substitutes such as soy or almond milk, but these milk types don’t increase/grow the grains.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by coronavirus termed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Several studies have tested antiviral drugs and compounds to overcome COVID-19. Kefir and its probiotic contents can modulate the immune system to suppress infections from viruses (e.g., Zika, hepatitis C, influenza, rotaviruses).
The antiviral mechanisms of kefir involve enhancement of macrophage production, increasing phagocytosis, boosting production of cluster of differentiation-positive (CD4+), CD8+, immunoglobulin (Ig)G+ and IgA+ B cells, T cells, neutrophils, as well as cytokines (e.g., interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12, interferon gamma-ƒÁ).
Kefir can act as an anti-inflammatory agent by reducing expression of IL-6, IL-1, TNF-ƒ¿, and interferon-ƒÁ. kefir is a significant inhibitor of the cytokine storm that contributes to COVID-19. Several studies show the effect of kefir consumption and their microbial composition against viral infection, Kefir protects against SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Zika, hepatitis C, influenza and rotaviruses infections via modulating the immune response.
Natural products like Kefir can enhance the immune system and suppress viral infection. ‘Kefir’ is a fermented milk drink, it also comes in the form of Kefir Water it has gained global acceptance as a healthy probiotic live microorganism which provides health benefits when consumed by improving/restoring the gut biome. Kefir has antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory potential, to people, animals and plant life. Kefir has been shown to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) levels, cholesterol metabolism, accelerate wound healing, suppress tumour growth, and cause alterations in the immune system to improve asthma symptoms and allergy. Kefir and it’s derivatives like polysaccharides, protein, peptides can suppress viral activity by modulating immune-system responses and/or causing disruption of viral adhesion.
Kefir also act as anti-inflammatory agents by inhibiting the activity of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1ß, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-a and IL-6 . Hence, kefir and its by products could be employed as protective agents against viral infections. Researchers review the antiviral mechanism of kefir and its by-products. Given the current Covid pandemic scientists are testing the potential of kefir against viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 to help to screen antiviral activity based on this natural product.
Kefir and its components have a crucial regulatory role in the immune response. In this respect, activity has been reported against the Zika virus, HCV, hepatitis-B virus, influenza virus (H1N1), HSV, rhinoviruses and retroviruses. It’s thought that some COVID-19 patients die due to the massive inflammatory response resulting from a cytokine storm involving 1 L-6, IL-1, TNF-a, and IFN-?. A proposed initial solution to protect patients from the cytokine storm is blockade of IL-6 function or administration of a compound to suppress inflammation. Kefir can inhibit the activity of proinflammatory cytokines. Using kefir (and its byproducts) as an inhibitor of expression of proinflammatory cytokines in COVID-19 patients could be a viable policy.
SARS CoV-2 replication is dependent upon pH, so elucidating the link between kefir consumption and its ability to change the pH would be worthwhile. Studies have reported the pH of kefir to be acidic (pH 4.6). This acidity is related to different populations of acidic bacteria. Rea et al. reported that the acidic pH of kefir grains may interfere with pathogenic activities. Because of its ability to produce acidic secondary metabolites and for them to not be degraded, kefir might change the pH in a specific area when it is consumed. Fusion of CoVs occurs in mildly alkaline pH, so ascertaining the connection between kefir consumption and pH alterations in a specific body site and viral infection would be worthwhile. Based on studies undertaken on kefir and its probiotic microbes.
Gut Microbiota and The Gut-Brain Axis Gut microbiota refers to the various bacterial species that reside in the gastrointestinal tract. This bacterial community is diverse and each division has their own role. Bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract mainly consists of phyla Firmicutes and phyla Bacteriodietes. These species are referred to as beneficial flora and have many beneficial roles in regulating immunity and nutrition. Beneficial flora have the ability to ferment carbohydrates, produce short-chain fatty acids, metabolise various substances such as drugs, and protect the gastrointestinal tract from various pathogens. In contrast, opportunistic bacteria also reside in the gut and have the ability to cause infection. Gastrointestinal disorders can begin to arise when dysbiosis occurs, which is characterised by an imbalance in beneficial flora and opportunistic bacteria.
The gut-brain axis refers to the intimate relationship between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. Recent studies have revealed an intricate bidirectional neuroendocrine system that allows both systems to communicate with each other. The main contributors to the gut-brain axis involve the enteric nervous system (ENS), the central nervous system (CNS), and the gut microbiota. These systems essentially come together to keep the gut and the mind healthy and at equilibrium. Disruption of this system have been suggested to cause various diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease.
It’s vital to restore a healthful balance in the gut microbiome after taking a course of antibiotics. You can do this by eating probiotics, prebiotics, fermented foods, and fiber. Probiotics and prebiotics can also help to reduce the side effects of antibiotics, most chemist and doctors will advise using probiotics, ask for their advice.
Kefir protects against SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Zika, hepatitis C, influenza and rotaviruses infections via modulating the immune response.
Obesity is fast becoming the biggest killer in every country worldwide. Excessive body fat accumulation can result in obesity, which is a serious health concerns. Kefir, a probiotic, has recently shown possible health benefits in fighting obesity. This study investigated the inhibitory effects of 0.1 and 0.2% kefir powder on fat accumulation in adipose and liver tissues of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice. Kefir reduced body weight and epididymal fat pad weight and decreased adipocyte diameters in HFD-induced obese mice. This was supported by decreased expression of genes related to adipogenesis and lipogenesis as well as reduced proinflammatory marker levels in epididymal fat.
Along with reduced hepatic triacylglycerol concentrations and serum alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase activities, genes related to lipogenesis and fatty acid oxidation were downregulated and upregulated, respectively, in liver tissue. Kefir also decreased serum triacylglycerol, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein–cholesterol concentrations. Overall, kefir has the potential to prevent obesity.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) , stated recently(June 2021).
The enteric nervous system’s (ENS) is a network of nerves, neurons and neurotransmitters extending along our entire digestive tract – from the esophagus, through the stomach and intestines, and down to the anus. The ENS uses the same type of neurons and neurotransmitters found in the central nervous system, medical experts call it our “Second Brain.” The “second brain” in our gut, it’s a constant connection to the brain. The “Enteric Nervous System” plays a key role in certain diseases in our bodies and in our overall mental health.
The gut-brain axis. This system is mainly composed of the central nervous system, enteric nervous system, and gut microbiota. Neuronal membrane formation can be influenced by dietary phospholipid precursors and cofactors, reducing inflammation. Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics can also improve gut health by improving the composition of the gut microbiota. Relationship of Parkinson’s disease and the Gut-Brain Axis There are many factors that contribute to the relationship between PD and the gut-brain axis. PD has been linked environmental stressors, diet, and emotional stress. Environmental toxins, such as pesticides, can be found in the food humans consume and the environment we surround ourselves in. Age is a large factor in abnormal gut function.
As we age, the cellular defense mechanisms in the gut weaken and damage is more likely to be occurring as the body is exposed to opportunistic bacteria and stressors. These various stressors can eventually cause disruption in the gut microbiota. Proportions of phyla Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes also fluctuate with age. When dysbiosis occurs within the gut, the imbalance can result various gut dysfunction processes. This can lead to changes in the gut microbiota, oxidative stress and chronic low-grade inflammation. Additionally, accumulation of alpha-synuclein neurons in the gastrointestinal tract has been discovered in patients with PD. Dysbiosis occurring within the gut can lead to many changes in the gut microbiota. With constant dysbiosis, these changes can become chronic and lead to long-term complications.
A study including 72 patients diagnosed with PD and 72 healthy control patients showed there was a decreased amount of Prevotellaceace species in the faeces of those who were diagnosed with PD compared to the healthy control patients.
The mechanisms responsible for cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases have been the focus of experimental and clinical studies for decades. The relationship between the gut microbiota and the organs and system tissues represents the research field that has generated the highest number of publications. Homeostasis of the gut microbiota is important to the host because it promotes maturation of the autoimmune system, harmonic integrative functions of the brain, and the normal function of organs related to cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
On the other hand, when a gut microbiota dysbiosis occurs, the target organs become vulnerable to the onset or aggravation of complex chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular (e.g., arterial hypertension) and neurodegenerative (e.g., dementia) diseases. The main mechanisms involved in those disturbances and the promising beneficial effects that have been revealed using functional food (nutraceuticals), such as the traditional probiotic Kefir.