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Fermented milk products are created when milk ferments with specific kinds of bacteria called Lactobacilli or Bifidobacteria. Fermentation means the milk is partially digested by the bacteria. This makes the milk product easier to digest, especially for people who have milk allergies or are lactose-intolerant. Also, fermentation increases how long the milk product will last on the shelf. Fermented milk is very popular in countries like Japan.

People take fermented milk by mouth for diarrhea caused by a virus or antibiotics, stomach flu, hay fever arthritis, or asthma. It is also used for gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.

The special bacteria added to regular milk to make fermented milk breaks down milk proteins and the sugar called lactose. This helps people digest milk better, especially people with allergies to milk protein or people who are lactose intolerant.

Fermented milk also seems to have some antioxidant and immune-stimulating effects.

When taken by mouth: Fermented milk is LIKELY SAFE when taken in amounts commonly found in foods. Fermented milk is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken in amounts used for medicine for up to one year. Some side effects of fermented milk include stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if fermented milk is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if it is safe to use fermented milk when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using in amounts greater than those commonly found in food.

Children: Fermented milk is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods. Fermented milk is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts for up to 5 days.

Low blood pressure: Fermented milk might reduce blood pressure. In theory, taking fermented milk might cause blood pressure to become too low when used by people who already have low blood pressure.

Weakened immune system: Some fermented milk products contain live bacteria. There is some concern that the bacteria in fermented milk might grow too well in people whose immune systems are weakened. This includes people with HIV/AIDS or people who have taken medicines to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ. Lactobacillus, one type of bacteria found in fermented milk products, has caused disease (rarely) in people with weakened immune systems. To be on the safe side, if you have a weakened immune system, talk with your healthcare provider before taking fermented milk products.

There are no known interactions with medications. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure: Fermented milk might reduce blood pressure in some people. In theory, taking fermented milk with other herbs or supplements that also lower blood pressure might result in blood pressure dropping too low. Some herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure include andrographis, casein peptides, cat's claw, coenzyme Q-10, fish oil, L-arginine, lycium, stinging nettle, theanine, and others.
Iron: Fermented milk might increase how much iron the body absorbs. In theory, taking fermented milk might increase the risk of absorbing too much iron in some people.

There are no known interactions with foods.

ADULT

BY MOUTH:

  • For hay fever: 100 mL of heat-treated fermented milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus daily for 8 weeks has been used.
  • For diarrhea in people taking antibiotics (antibiotic-associated diarrhea): 250 mL of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium daily for 14 days has been used. 49 grams of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei (Bio-K+ CL1285, Bio-K+ International Inc) daily for 2 days followed by 98 grams daily until the end of antibiotic treatment has been used.
  • For eczema (atopic dermatitis): 250 mL of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG 5 x 1010 colony forming units (CFU), Lactobacillus acidophilus La-5 5 x 109 CFU, and Bifidobacterium Bb-12 5 x 1010 CFU during pregnancy from 36 weeks until 3 months after giving birth has been used.
  • For a digestive tract infection that can lead to ulcers (Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori): 100 mL of a fermented milk beverage containing Bifidobacterium bifidum and Streptococcus thermophiles daily for 12 weeks has been used. Fermented milk containing Staphylococcus thermophiles and Lactobacillus johnsonii daily for 16 weeks has been used.
  • For high blood pressure: Six tablets containing powdered fermented milk with Lactobacillus helveticus daily for 4 weeks have been used. 100-150 mL fermented milk prepared with Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus casei has been used daily for 5-12 weeks.
  • For a long-term disorder of the large intestines that causes stomach pain (irritable bowel syndrome or IBS): 200 grams of a specific probiotic fermented milk (AB100 Jianneng, Bright Dairy) containing Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum, twice daily for 4 weeks has been used. Also, 125 grams of a specific fermented milk product (Activia, Danone) containing Bifidobacterium animalis and yogurt strains twice daily for 6 weeks has been used.
  • For inability to properly digest the sugar lactose (lactose intolerance): A single dose of 480 mL of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus acidophilus has been used. A single dose of specific fermented milk products (Ofilus or Bulgofilus) has been used.
  • For serious illness caused by radiation exposure: 150 milliliters of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus daily for 5 days before radiotherapy and continuing for 10 days after has been used.
CHILDREN

BY MOUTH:
  • For diarrhea caused by rotavirus: 125 grams of a fermented milk product containing Lactobacillus GG twice daily for 5 days has been used.
  • For hay fever: 100 mL of a fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophiles once daily for 12 months has been used. Also, 200-400 mL of fermented milk containing Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactobacillus paracasei daily for 30 days has been used.
  • For diarrhea: 125 or 250 grams of milk fermented by yogurt cultures and Lactobacillus casei daily for one month has been used in infants and children. 100 grams of milk fermented with Lactobacillus casei has been use in children 6 to 24 months old.
  • For a digestive tract infection that can lead to ulcers (Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori): A specific fermented milk product (Actimel) containing Lactobacillus casei, along with standard antibiotic therapy, daily for 14 days has been used.
  • For the common cold: 200 grams daily of a fermented milk product (Actimel, Danone) containing Lactobacillus casei for 3 months has been used.

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