Posted on Mon, 4 Dec 17
Regularly taking the fermented food Kefir has been found to help in the treatment of constipation in some people.
Kefir, a traditional fermented milk, has been shown to help relieve constipation in a small number of previous studies, reducing the need for laxative drugs and/ or glycerol enemas. The benefit of kefir is thought to be due to its probiotic effects.
To see if kefir could help treat constipation in people hospitalized with mental and physical disabilities, a research group from Japan compared the effects of 2 g of freeze-dried Kefir with meals to a ‘placebo’ of powdered milk over 12 weeks.
They found that kefir significantly reduced constipation overall. There were important difference in individual responses though, with some individuals experiencing complete relief of constipation, whereas others had no benefit.
“Despite individual variations, consuming kefir daily could prevent constipation,” commented the study investigators. “Alternative methods therefore are needed to relieve constipation in individuals who are unresponsive to kefir,” they noted.
“As probiotic effects differ markedly among individuals, changing the probiotic species could reduce or prevent constipation in individuals who are unresponsive to kefir. Another possibility is to stimulate the Bifidobacterium family in the colon,” they commented. They plan to study the effects of prebiotics - which stimulate Bifidobacterium – in kefir non-responsive people in a future clinical study.
Maki R, Matsukawa M, Matsuduka A, et al. Therapeutic effect of lyophilized, Kefir-fermented milk on constipation among persons with mental and physical disabilities. Jpn J Nurs Sci. 2017 Nov 6. doi: 10.1111/jjns.12189. [Epub ahead of print]