Fermented milk

background

Fermented milk is made when bacteria change lactose (the sugar in milk) into lactic acid, which causes the tangy taste.
Fermented milk has calcium, protein, phosphorus, and riboflavin (or vitamin B2) and may improve nutritional status in children.
Bacteria present in fermented milk increase and balance the flora in the gut. These bacteria may decrease stomach problems, improve immunity, and shorten infections.
Fermented dairy foods have less lactose than milk and therefore are commonly used by lactose-intolerant people.
Fermented milk has been studied for allergies, diarrhea, infections in the gut, and improving immune function.

Related Terms

Actimel®, arerra (Ethiopia), augat (Ethiopia), ayib, ayran, bifidobacteria, bifidobacteria-fermented milk (BFM), Bifidobacterium, buttermilk, casein phosphopeptides, Causido®, cultured dairy foods, cultured dairy products, cultured milk products, dadhi, dahi (India), Enterococcus, ergo (Ethiopia), fermented dairy product, Gaio®, ititu (Ethiopia), kibe (Ethiopia), koumus, Lacto™, Lactobacillus, Lactobacillusacidophilus, Lactobacillusbulgaricus, Lactobacilluscasei, Lactobacillushelveticus, Lactobacillusjohnsonii, Lactobacillusparacasei, Lactococcuslactis, Lactococcuslactiscremoris, Leuconostoc lactotripeptides, Leuconostocmesenteroidescremoris, matzoon, mazoni, probiotic, ropy milk, Streptococcusbulgaricus, traditional butter, traditional fermented curd, verum, yoghurt, yogurt.
Note: Kefir, a specific type of fermented milk, is not covered in this monograph. Yogurt is not covered in detail in this monograph.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Allergy (Grade: B)
According to limited research, drinking fermented milk may help with allergies. Further research is needed in this area.
Diarrhea (Grade: B)
Specific types of fermented milk have helped to prevent antibiotic-caused diarrhea. Fermented milk has been given to children recovering from acute diarrhea and to children that lacked proper nourishment and had diarrhea. Further studies are needed in this topic.
Helicobacter pylori infection (in the stomach) (Grade: B)
Ferment milk may have activity against
Immune function (Grade: B)
Certain types of fermented milk may improve the immune system's ability to respond quickly. In poorly nourished people, the elderly, and children, fermented milk may help improve immune system function. Further research is needed in all age groups.
Lactose intolerance (Grade: B)
Fermented dairy foods are commonly used by lactose-intolerant individuals. In fermented milk, lactose is broken down to glucose and galactose by bacteria. Further studies are needed to confirm this.
Antibacterial (Grade: C)
Fermented milk may stop the growth of bacteria that causes stomach disease. Antibacterial effects of fermented milk become stronger when combined with gastric juice. Limited research has shown that regular use of fermented milk may decrease bacteria in the nose and throat but not in the genital area. Further research in this area is required.
Breast cancer prevention (Grade: C)
Limited research has shown that women taking fermented milk have a reduced risk of breast cancer in women. Further research is needed to arrive at a conclusion.
Heart disease prevention (Grade: C)
Regular intake of a specific type of fermented milk may decrease the risk of heart disease. More evidence is needed to arrive at a firm conclusion.
Constipation (Grade: C)
Some research suggests that fermented milk may help alleviate long-term constipation. More studies are needed to determine whether fermented milk helps with constipation.
High cholesterol (Grade: C)
There is conflicting evidence on whether fermented milk helps reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels. Higher-quality research is needed before any conclusion may be reached.
High blood pressure (Grade: C)
Limited research has shown that fermented milk products may lower blood pressure, while other research had conflicting results. Further research is necessary for a conclusion to be reached.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (Grade: C)
Fermented milk may help alleviate certain symptoms of IBS (a disorder of the stomach). More research in this area is needed.
Nerve disorders (Grade: C)
Limited research showed that fermented milk was beneficial for human T cell lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1) myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), which is a rare disease involving inflammation of nerves. Further research is required.
Nutritional deficiencies (in children) (Grade: C)
Limited research showed that children were better nourished after consuming fermented milk. Further research is needed.
Peptic ulcer (damage of the stomach lining) (Grade: C)
Limited research has shown that intake of large amounts of fermented milk decreased ulcer (stomach lining damage) risk, while intake of large amounts of regular milk increased this risk. Further studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
Pouchitis (intestinal pouch inflammation) (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that fermented milk may reduce the risk of pouchitis. Pouchitis is an inflammation of the intestinal pouch made after colon removal in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients. Further research is necessary before conclusions can be made.
Premature labor prevention (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that drinking fermented milk during pregnancy may prevent vaginal infections and therefore prevent infection-caused preterm labor. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be reached.
Reducing side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy (Grade: C)
Fermented milk may prevent radiotherapy-associated diarrhea. Further research is needed.
Sleep quality (Grade: C)
Certain fermented milk may improve quality of sleep in elderly people. Further research in this area is required.
Ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the large intestine) (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that fermented milk may treat and reduce flares of ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the large intestine). Further research in this area is necessary.