Consuming homemade yogurt every day can treat symptoms in of irritable bowel syndrome, a new study indicates.
The study announced yesterday at the World Congress of Gastroenterology, is the first of its kind to show that yoghurt is an effective treatment for IBS, said Ronnie Fass, MD, from the MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
The study involving 189 patients suffering from IBS of whom 169 saw their symptoms reduce or removed altogether within 6 months of the study, according to Dr. Manju Girish Chandran, of the Mary Breckinridge ARH Hospital in Hyden, Kentucky.
Some of the participants had lived with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome for up to a decade, and according to Dr Chandran, many suffering from IBS do not respond to many medical treatments, which was one of the reasons for the study.
Dr Chandran and her team wanted to assess the potential of homemade yogurt containing the Lactobacilli genus of probiotic bacteria to influence the gut microbiome.
Yogurt as part of a normal diet
189 patients diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome were enrolled in the study at two medical centers in Kentucky, USA.
Each of the participants were then instructed to consume 500 ml (approximately 2 cups) of yogurt every day and their symptoms were then recorded over the course of study over a six month period
In a remarkable outcome found their symptoms of Irritable Bowel syndrome were fully relieved in 89% of the participants. All pre-existing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome were resolved and the patients returned to regular daily bowel movements.
As Homemade yogurt is low cost and easy to make it is a good cheap and effective treatment.
Benefits of homemade yogurt over commercial yogurts
As well as being easy to make at homemade yoghurts have a number of other benefits over commercial yoghurts which you can read about here. Most notably the quality of the milk as can the culturing process – to ensure that the yoghurt contains live active cultures but does not contain any additives such as preservatives, flavourings, sweeteners – all of which can harm or adversely affect our friendly gut bacteria.
However shortcomings in the design of the study leave some doubt about the validity of the results; in particular the absence of randomised control group or an effective review of the self-reported charts submitted by the participants – which Dr Chandran acknowledges and intends to address in future studies.
As a next step the team intend to assess the effectiveness of this treatment to patients with different symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome — as cramps, constipation and diarrhoea — and to allocate some of the participants to a randomised control group.
In traditional diets, patients suffering from digestive disorders and IBS are advised to be careful about consuming milk-related products, incase of an intolerance to lactose. However the study shows that products such as homemade yogurt with Lactobacillus could be a very effective at controlling symptoms of cramps and irregular bowel movements.
Benefits of homemade yoghurt over commercial products:
High-quality yogurts contain large numbers of ‘friendly’ probiotic bacteria often measured in CFU’s (colony-forming unit). These strains of friendly bacteria can help increase the health and diversity of our gut microbiome. However many yoghurt products available in the supermarket are made with poor quality milk – originating in cows raised on concentrated animal feeds including GMO corn and soy products, hormones and antibiotics.
Furthermore Many yoghurts available in the supermarket have been pasteurized, killing off the beneficial strains of bacteria and often contain additives, such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, thickeners and preservatives – all of which can actually harm our gut bacteria.
Therefore making yoghurt can be a preferred option for many people unsure of what the supermarket yoghurt contains.
The best yogurts should be made with raw milk from cows exclusively raised on a grass diet and will be clearly labelled to show that it contains live probiotic cultures.
Watch out for these clues when selecting yoghurt in the store:
Follow these simple steps to ensure you’re choosing the best yoghurt for you – or if you want to learn more about choosing the right yogurt refer to this post.
- Plain/ Natural: plain natural yoghurts should contain no sugars, additives and flavouring and so will be the best for you
- Light: Light yoghurts often contain non caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) as a sugar substitute. Be sure to check for any artificial sweeteners on the label
- Fat Free/Low Fat: Low fat or fat free yoghurts often replace fat with sugar
- Organic: as mentioned above, to be certified organic yoghurts should be cultured from higher quality milk.
- Greek: Greek yogurt typically contains higher quantities of milk proteins and usually will be free from added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- Live active cultures Always look for the yogurt to say that it contains live and active cultures – as these probiotic bacteria typically rich in Lactobacilli family support our gut health.
- Ingredients: If you can’t pronounce it, I don’t buy it.
The label should be short and simple – however many yoghurt products contain a long list of thickeners, preservatives, stabilisers and flavourings and additives. If you can’t pronounce any of the ingredients – then you probably shouldn’t buy it.
How to Make Your Own Probiotic Rich Yoghurt in 10 Easy Steps