The anti-allergenic properties of milk kefir and soymilk kefir and their beneficial effects on the intestinal microflora



Food allergy is now recognized as a worldwide problem, and like other atopic disorders its incidence appears to be increasing. Kefir is reported to possess the ability to reduce intestinal permeation of food antigens; however, no experimental study has clearly evaluated the relationships between kefir consumption, allergen-specific IgE response, and intestinal microflora. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of oral consumption of milk kefir and soymilk kefir on in vivo IgE and IgG1 production induced by ovalbumin (OVA) in mice. The effects of kefir administration on the murine intestinal microflora were also examined. Oral administration of milk kefir and soymilk kefir for 28 days significantly increased the fecal populations of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, while it significantly decreased those of Clostridium perfringens. Milk kefir and soymilk kefir also significantly decreased the serum OVA-specific IgE and IgG1 levels for both groups, but not those of the IgG2a analogues. Consumption of milk kefir and soymilk kefir suppressed the IgE and IgG1 responses and altered the intestinal microflora in our supplemented group, suggesting that milk kefir and soymilk kefir may be considered among the more promising food components in terms of preventing food allergy and enhancement of mucosal resistance to gastrointestinal pathogen infection. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry