If you haven’t tried kefir, now is the time to do it. Not only do you get the benefits of it being loaded with probiotics, here Andrew explains that kefir benefits fatty liver disease.
In case you didn’t have enough reasons to drink the delightfully-effervescent yogurt-like drink that is better known as kefir, here is another one to add to your list. Researchers at the Da-Yeh and National Chung Hsing Universities in Taiwan have found that chemicals found in kefir help prevent non-alcoholic, fatty liver disease.
Background on Fatty Liver Disease
Even if you have never heard of this disease before, it is shockingly common. According to the Mayo Clinic, somewhere between 80-100 million Americans suffer from this disease. That is almost a third of the population of the United States!
Fatty liver disease is just that—a condition in which your liver has an abnormally high level of fat stored in it. Left untreated, this disease can lead to inflammation of the liver, scarring, and even liver failure. In case it has been a few years since your last biology class, your liver is an organ that you can’t live without, so if it fails, well, your whole body goes with it.
We should note that there are multiple paths that lead to the disease. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol leads to one form of fatty liver disease (called alcoholic liver disease), while obesity, viral hepatitis, and even some medications, can lead to the other form (called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). If you need more information on the disease, check out the Mayo Clinic website or the WebMD website.
What the Researchers Did
Please note, the researchers did not conduct this study on humans; they used an animal model, instead. However, this method is common as other mammalian bodies react to diseases in much the same way that our bodies do. It also provides better control since they can control variables that might have an effect on the results (such as type of food, amount of food, and living conditions, to name a few). Obviously, it would be difficult to have so much control over a group of humans!
The researchers split mice into six different groups and gave each group a different drinking solution. The control group was given only water. The other five groups were given high-fructose corn syrup mixed in with their water. The purpose of this solution was to make all of these groups acquire non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, three of these groups were also given three different doses (low, medium, or high) of a special chemical found in kefir. This regimen was followed for an 8-week period.
At the end of the 8-week period, scientists examined the mice for signs of disease. The group that was given only the high-fructose corn syrup solution (without the kefir compounds) was found to have full-blown, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, the groups that were given the addition of kefir compounds showed a reduction in the severity of the disease. Also, the reduction was directly proportional to the amount of kefir compounds given (meaning that the group given the largest dose had the greatest reduction in disease symptoms). Weight gain, triglyceride levels, cholesterol levels, free fatty acid levels, inflammatory compounds, and other signs of fatty liver disease were all reduced by these kefir compounds.
What Does this Mean for You?
In a nut shell, kefir is good for you and can help prevent or mitigate the effects of some diseases, namely fatty liver disease. This provides some more hope for those of us who would rather use food to heal ourselves than prescription medications which often have less-than-desirable side effects. And for those of use who love kefir anyway, this gives us one more reason to keep making it and once again return to our soapboxes so we can further declare the wonders of this amazing gift called fermentation.
Are you sold? Want to give kefir a try? Check out the following posts for more information on making and using kefir:
- How to Make Milk Kefir, Simply
- Fresh Fruit Kefir Ice Pops
- Homemade Water Kefir Gummies
- How to Make Water Kefir
- Book Review: Water Kefir Handbook
Andrew and Michelle are the new owners of a 12-acre homestead in rural America. They are just embarking on this journey that is far removed from their city-life upbringing, so they realize that they have a lot to learn in order to succeed in this new place.Come along with them and read more about what they learn as they make this transition at simplelifehomestead.com.