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Fermented Milk offers protection against allergies in infants

According to researchers from Taiwan, babies can be protected from certain food allergies by feeding them fermented milk//.

Kefir, a traditional fermented drink, is generally used as a weaning food. The researchers found that it has "friendly" bacteria that may function in obstructing the pathway involved in allergic responses.

The risk of food allergy in kids below the age of 3 is 5-8% and the only remedy is not to give that particular food. Consumption of kefir seems to reduce the levels of allergen specific antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE). Kefir is commonly had as a health food in Eastern Europe.

Ig E is a part of the defense mechanism of the body, which inactivates the invading organisms that may cause disease. But, when allergens are involved, Ig E also activates cells releasing histamines. Histamine causes allergic responses like inflammation and constriction of airways.

Ji-Ruei Liu and his team from the National Formosa University conducted a study on mice. These mice were fed with the milk drink. After a period of 3 weeks, there was a 3-fold reduction in the amount of ovalbumin (OVA) specific IgE . Ovalbumin is an allergenic protein found in egg white, which is the major cause of allergies in kids.

Milk drink also prevented the antigens found in food to pass through the intestinal wall.

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