'Kefir Beer' Could Reduce Inflammation, Risk Of Stomach Ulcers

A beer made out of the ingredients from kefir — a fermented milk drink similar to yogurt that replenishes good bacteria and balances stomach pH — could substantially reduce inflammation and stomach ulcers, according to an upcoming study in the Journal of Functional Foods. 

Using a sample of 48 rats, researchers induced inflammation on subjects' hind paws and then give them one of six treatments — kefir beer, kefir, regular beer, water, ethanol or an anti-inflammatory drug.

And while kefir, kefir beer, and regular beer all did reduce inflammation, the most successful of the three was kefir beer, a craft beer made with kefir grains grown in molasses, then "activated to ferment malt for the production of beer." Beer alone reduced inflammation by 28 percent, while kefir beer reduced inflammation by 48 percent.

In another experiment, histamine-induced inflammation was reduced by 76 percent with kefir beer, and four percent with regular beer. Then, when used to treat stomach ulcers in another rat sample, researchers found that kefir, kefir beer, and regular beer all successfully reduced ulcers, but both kefir and kefir beer were more effective than regular beer. When kefiran, a kefir molecule, was added to regular beer, those ulcers "virtually disappeared."

Although similar experiments have not yet been conducted with human subjects, the rat research suggests that kefir beer might be worth a craft brewery's investment. In fact, it might even be the next kombucha