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The impact of Milk Kefir on Seasonal Allergies

The impact of Milk Kefir on Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies can be a bane for many Australians and this year has been one of the toughest yet for sufferers like me. I've tried everything from anti-histamine tablets to corticosteroid nasal sprays etc. But still no respite. 

What is a Seasonal Allergy?

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)  indicates that pollen from grasses, weeds or trees can trigger symptoms of allergic rhinitis (commonly known as hay fever) and asthma. Pollen seasons can last for several months and exposure is difficult to avoid.  Allergic rhinitis symptoms are caused by the body's immune response to inhaled pollen, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes and nasal passages. In moderate to severe cases, allergic rhinitis can even trigger an asthma attack.

Could Milk Kefir be the key to alleviating seasonal allergy symptoms?

Over the past month, I have been reviewing research papers to find a solution. Surprise, surprise, it seems like gut health may yet again be the key as with many allergy related ailments.

There have been numerous studies (1, 2, 3) indicating the anti allergic effect of milk kefir via suppression of the body's inflammatory mechanism. Inflammation in this context is the body's reaction to a foreign material namely allergens like pollen. In response, the gut cells produce reactive oxygen metabolites (4) like hypochlorite (household bleach) and hydrogen peroxide (common sanitising chemical).

My hypothesis is that an overactive immune system and production of reactive oxygen metabolites may significantly disrupt the gut microbiome by indiscriminately killing commensal bacteria or old friends (as coined by Dr Michael Mosley) subsequently weakening the gut and making things worse over time. We are investigating further via our Gut Explorer - Microbiome Analysis Project at Allele Microbiome and closely reviewing all inflammatory foods and lifestyle practices.

 

Recalibrating the Immune System 

Based on these findings, I began to substantially increase dosage of homemade milk kefir to 600 ml (200ml X 3 times a day). I began to notice that my seasonal allergy symptoms were substantially reduced and much more bearable. Again I hypothesise that this is like turning down the inflammatory thermostat allowing our old friends to repopulate and strengthen the gut.

 

References:

1) Lee et. al, Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects of kefir in a mouse asthma model,
Immunobiology. 2007;212(8):647-54. Epub 2007 Jul 10.

 

2)  Wong et.al, The antiallergic effect of kefir Lactobacilli, J Food Sci. 2010 Oct;75(8):H244-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01787.x. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

 3)  Adiloğlu AK, et al. The effect of kefir consumption on human immune system: a cytokine study,  Mikrobiyol Bul. 2013 Apr;47(2):273-81.

4) Simmons NJ et al. Chemiluminescence assay of mucosal reactive oxygen metabolites in inflammatory bowel disease, Gastroenterology. 1992 Jul;103(1):186-96.

 

Kriben Govender

Nourishme Organics

Instagram: @kribengovender

Facebook: @kribengee

 

9 thoughts on “The impact of Milk Kefir on Seasonal Allergies

  1. avatar Ivanka says:

    Three members of the family were on home made milk kefir. The first effects were favourable, especially with rinitis. However, things got worse through time. The first noticed gut bloating and stomach trouble and stopped eating it. The second became helpless with inflammation of the finger tissue around nails as allergy to antibacterial cleansers which would not stop. He refrained from kefir but so far with no good effect. The third got all the skin of the intimate part red. Even there, it has not stopped with prescribed medication. Evidently, disruption of the gut flora needs time to reestablish.
    My advice: take care, stop with it in time when it still shows favourable results. The gut cannot be outwitted.

  2. avatar Kriben Govender says:

    Hi, Emmeline, I noticed the difference within a few days of consumption. You can also ask in our Gut Health Gurus Facebook group

  3. avatar Emmeline Yeo says:

    Hi Kriben,

    I have a seasonal allergy called chronic rhinitis (hay fever) which causes my nose to act up very badly (runny and itchy nose, non stop sneezing, watery eyes) during summer and spring mostly. I am just wondering if you know of anyone (or yourself) who has taken milk kefir or any kind of kefir and it helped that person significantly alleviate or eliminate their symptoms completely? I’m trying to find reviews posted by such persons but not really found any on your website yet…..

  4. avatar Jane Deerfield says:

    I purchased kefir grains a little over a month and a half ago and started making and drinking kefir (2nd fermentation) as soon as I received them. I have seasonal allergies which cause a cough so severe and continuous that you would think I was coughing up a lung. I was on prescription medication of a daily tablet (made me very drowsy) and a nasal spray. I stopped the tablets after two weeks of drinking kefir milk and the nasal spray a few days after that. My allergy cough is practically non-existent. Maybe I could have stopped the prescription medication sooner, but I wanted to give the kefir milk a chance. Now, I simply no longer need the allergy medication and I continue to drink kefir milk daily, 3-4 cups a day, divided between two 16 oz. mugs. I have learned of the many wonderful health benefits of kefir milk, but I wanted to comment on how it has helped my season allergies.

    Thank you.

    Jane D, Dayton, Ohio
    USA

  5. avatar Tristan Waller says:

    Hi Kriben,
    I too have experienced severe allergies (at my worst extreme I’ve had blisters in Sinuses and roof of mouth!). I’ve experienced that when I’m in the midst of an attack, I can gargle a mouth full of kefir and it instantly alleviates all symptoms for about 30 mins, indicating to me that the anti-inflammatory properties may also be topical (i.e. I’m reacting instantly before it reaches gut)? Just thought this may help you with your research.

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