Connect with us
[the_ad id="4069195"]

Health

Kombucha, Kimchi and Yogurt: Fermented Foods Could be Harmful

Published

on

Kombucha, kimchi and yogurt: how fermented foods could be harmful to your health

by Manal Mohammed for The Conversation

Fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, are all popular sources of probiotics. Fermented foods have become very popular, thanks to claims about their nutritional properties and reported health benefits, such as improving digestion, boosting immunity and even helping people lose weight. Some of the most popular fermented foods include kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, natto, miso, kimchi and sourdough bread.

But though these fermented foods might offer us many health perks, most people aren’t aware that they might not work for everyone. For some people, fermented foods might cause serious health issues.

Fermented foods are loaded with microorganisms , such as live bacteria and yeast (known as probiotics). However, not all microorganisms are bad. Many, like probiotics, are harmless and are even beneficial to us.

During the process of fermentation, probiotics convert carbohydrates (starch and sugar) into alcohol and/or acids. These act as a natural preservative and give fermented foods their distinctive zest and flavour. Many factors affect fermentation, including the type of probiotic, the primary metabolites these microbes produce (such as lactic acid, or certain amino acids), and the food undergoing fermentation. For example, probiotic yogurt is produced by fermenting milk, most commonly with lactic acid bacteria which produce lactic acid.

Fermented foods contain high amounts of probiotics, which are generally considered safe for the majority of people. In fact, they’ve been shown to have anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-atherosclerotic activity. However, some people might experience severe side effects after consuming fermented foods.

1. Bloating

The most common reaction to fermented foods is a temporary increase in gas and bloating. This is the result of excess gas being produced after probiotics kill harmful gut bacteria and fungi. Probiotics secrete antiomicrobial peptides that kill harmful pathogenic organisms like Salmonella and E. Coli.

A recent study showed this antimicrobial effect of probiotic Lactobacilli strains found in commercial yogurt. Although bloating after eating probiotics seems to be a good sign that the harmful bacteria are being removed from the gut, some people might experience severe bloating, which can be very painful.

Drinking too much kombucha can also lead to excess sugar and calorie intake, which may also lead to bloating and gas.

2. Headaches and migraines

Fermented foods rich in probiotics – including yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi – naturally contain biogenic amines produced [during fermentation]. Amines are created by certain bacteria in order to break down the amino acids in fermented foods. The most common ones found in probiotic-rich foods include histamine and tyramine.

Some people are sensitive to histamine and other amines, and may experience headaches after eating fermented foods. Because amines stimulate the central nervous system, they can increase or decrease blood flow, which can trigger headaches and migraines. One study found that low-histamine diets reduced headaches in 75% of participants. Taking a probiotic supplement might be therefore preferred.

3. Histamine intolerance

Histamine is plentiful in fermented foods. For most, our body’s specific enzymes will naturally digest them. However, some people don’t produce enough of these enzymes. This means histamine won’t be digested and will instead be absorbed into the bloodstream.

This can cause a range of histamine intolerance symptoms. The most common are itching, headaches or migraines, runny nose (rhinitis), eye redness, fatigue, hives and digestive symptoms include diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

However, histamine intolerance can also cause more severe symptoms, including asthma, low blood pressure, irregular heart rate, circulatory collapse, sudden psychological changes (such as anxiety, aggressiveness, dizziness and lack of concentration) and sleep disorders.

4. Food-borne illness

While most fermented foods are safe, it’s still possible for them to get contaminated with bacteria that can cause illness. In 2012, there was an outbreak of 89 cases of Salmonella in the US because of unpasteurised tempeh.

Two large outbreaks of Escherichia coli, were reported in South Korean schools in 2013 and 2014. These were associated with consumption of contaminated fermented vegetable kimchi.

In most cases, probiotics found in fermented milk products such as cheese, yogurt and buttermilk can effectively prevent the growth of certain bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcal enterotoxins which can cause food poisoning. But in some cases probiotics fail and bacteria can actually secrete toxins, so the product may be hazardous.

Staphylococcus aureus can cause skin and respiratory infections, as well as food poisoning. Kateryna Kon/ Shutterstock

5. Infection from probiotics

Probiotics are generally safe for the vast majority of people. However, in rare cases, they can cause infection – especially in people who have a compromised immune system.

A London study reported the first case of a 65-year-old diabetic patient whose liver abscess had been caused by probiotic consumption. Susceptible patients, such as those with compromised immunity, should be advised against excessive consumption of probiotics.

Treatment with probiotics can cause serious infections such as pneumonia in vulnerable people, as well as systemic infections including sepsis and endocarditis.

6. Antibiotic resistance

Probiotic bacteria can carry genes that confer resistance to antibiotics. These antibiotic resistance genes may pass to other bacteria found in the food chain and gastrointestinal tract via horizontal gene transfer. The most common antibiotic resistance genes carried by fermented foods are against erythromycin and tetracycline, which are used to treat respiratory infections and some sexually transmitted diseases.

Researchers found resistant probiotic strains in commercially available dietary supplements, which could mean resistance to several common types of antibiotics used to treat serious bacterial infections.

Research has also found six probiotic Bacillus strains found in food products (including kimchi, yogurt and olives) are also resistant to several antibiotics.

And, a recent Malaysian study showed probiotic Lactobacilli bacteria in kefir carry resistance to numerous antibiotics, including ampicillin, penicillin and tetracycline. These are used to treat serious human diseases including bladder infections, pneumonia, gonorrhoea, and meningitis.

Another study also showed lactic acid bacteria found in Turkish dairy products were resistant mainly to vancomycin antibiotic, which is the drug of choice for treatment of MRSA infection.

While there are a wide variety of health benefits that can happen from consuming fermented foods, these may not work for everyone. While most people will be fine eating fermented foods, for some they could potentially cause serious health problems.

Manal Mohammed is a Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at the University of Westminster.

The Conversation publishes knowledge-based journalism that is responsible, ethical and supported by evidence from academics and researchers in order to inform public debate with facts, clarity and insight into society’s biggest problems.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Health

County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family

Published

on

LOS ANGELES – 300 iPads have been donated to Los Angeles County hospitals to facilitate patient-family communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift is through a partnership with the Annenberg Foundation, Brilliant Corners, and the Los Angeles County Center for Strategic Partnerships.

“The engagement of loved ones during hospitalization has been shown to improve clinical outcomes,” said DHS Director, Dr. Christina Ghaly. “Clinical staff identified a role for virtual visiting through technology in order to facilitate this family involvement. The generous donations by the Annenberg Foundation and MobileDemand will help support this critical element of our patients’ care.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patient visitation by family and loved ones is limited at facilities in order to prevent exposure and the spread of disease. While there are some exceptions, such as the birth of a child or death of a patient, visitation is not permitted for the vast majority of patients and not allowed at all for COVID-19 patients. 

The donation provides 300 iPads to ensure patients and their families are able to connect, despite restrictions in access to the hospital. A second donation, by MobileDemand, provides rugged, protective healthcare iPad cases to protect against damage and loss. The rugged case also has an adjustable easel attached, providing effortless viewing for patients who are too weak to hold a tablet. Additionally, it frees health care staff from having to hold the device for patients.

“This is a wonderful example of how philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, government, and businesses can collaborate and meet an immediate need in our community,” said Wallis Annenberg, Chairman, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. “Being able to offer an opportunity for comfort and connection to those suffering and to alleviate some of the stress from our frontline caregivers is of utmost importance.”

While social distancing has been successful in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 surge in Los Angeles County, it is anticipated that it will continue for several months. With this gift, physicians and nurses will be able to place an iPad in the room of COVID and other critically-ill patients for the duration of the admission and reduce potential exposure and use of personal protective equipment going in and out of the room. Having a stationary iPad helps relieve medical staff who would otherwise have to hold the phone for a patient or search for the person’s personal phone. It also will allow patients who do not have a personal mobile device to communicate and “visit” with their family.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) is the second largest municipal health system in the nation. Through its integrated system of 26 health centers and four hospitals – LAC+USC Medical Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center – and expanded network of community partner clinics, DHS annually provides direct care for 600,000 unique patients, employs over 22,000 staff, and has an annual budget of over $6 billion.

Continue Reading

Health

Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day

Published

on

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is putting a strain on essential workers such as first responders and healthcare workers who are on the frontlines in the effort to care for coronavirus patients so the City of West Hollywood is setting out to recognize them in a special way on May 6.

National Nurses Day is a day of recognition to celebrate and honor the contributions that nurses have made and continue to make in our communities and throughout the nation. National Nurses Day is celebrated annually on May 6, which marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, a week-long celebration to raise awareness of the value of nursing and educate the public on the role nurses play in meeting the healthcare needs of Americans. National Nurses Week concludes on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, or as she was more commonly known, “The Lady of the Lamp” and founder of modern nursing.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is coordinating two motorcades to honor healthcare workers on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, which is nationally recognized as National Nurses Day. The processions will begin at 9:45 a.m. and at 7:15 p.m. on Santa Monica Boulevard at La Cienega Boulevard and the motorcades will head west and then travel southbound on N. San Vicente Boulevard passing multiple medical center locations in West Hollywood en route to a destination outside the emergency room entrance of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Gracie Allen Drive. First responders will briefly stop, exit their vehicles and applaud healthcare workers while wearing face coverings and practicing appropriate social distancing.

“Our nurses and healthcare workers are nothing short of heroes,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Lindsey P. Horvath. “The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us just how critical their work is to our everyday health and safety. This National Nurses Day means so much more to all of us — the City of West Hollywood and our LA County Sheriff’s West Hollywood Station and LA County Fire Stations; the City of Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills Police and Fire; the City of Los Angeles and LAPD and LAFD; the California Highway Patrol, and more — and we will honor these heroes in a special way for the care that they provide, which often goes unseen and unrecognized, in carrying us through this crisis.”

“As the worldwide response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, the critical importance of nurses in our society has been brought sharply into focus,” said City of West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman. “More often than not, when a coronavirus patient ends up in a hospital, it is the nurses at the frontlines who are responsible for their care and treatment, putting themselves at risk in the process. We can’t say ‘thank you’ strongly enough.”

The City of West Hollywood encourages residents and community members to participate during this day of celebration while still adhering to LA County Safer At Home Orders and social distancing requirements. Suggested forms of participation include amplifying posts on social media channels, making yard or window signs and banners, participating in a coordinated daily applause or shout out for nurses and healthcare workers, and donating to organizations that are addressing the emerging needs of nurses and healthcare workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic.

According to the American Nursing Association, nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession, with more than four million registered nurses in the United States. Registered nurses comprise one of the largest segments of the U.S. workforce and are the primary providers of hospital patient care, delivering most of the nation’s long-term care. In nursing, where workers are on the front lines of patient interactions, women make up more than 85 percent of the workforce. This year, with the onset of coronavirus, nurses have stepped up and shown the incredible impact they have on our healthcare system. It is more important than ever that we recognize National Nurses Day and celebrate the significance of nurses every day.

Continue Reading

Health

Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions

Published

on

Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions

(TMZ) — It’s becoming more clear by the day that wet markets are NOT just a China problem — it’s an American problem too … just take a look at these latest clips from Texas and California.

TMZ has gotten a hold of even more graphic videos of two different live animal shops in TX and CA — where people pick out the animal, have it slaughtered on the spot and then sold to them right then and there — and you see the mixed-in livestock runs the gamut.

There are pigs in pens, goats and sheep hoarded together … and, of course, as we’ve seen in New York and elsewhere — chicken and rabbits cooped up in cages — all in the same area within earshot of each other, and all getting butchered.

Ya got pigs hanging from hooks out in the open, chicken beaks, feathers and guts all over the floor and in an exposed trash can — this while customers (including kids) come in and browse the freezer for whatever cuts of meat they want. It’s downright dirty and gross.

As we’ve been told by the experts, these one-stop-shop slaughterhouses/storefronts can be breeding grounds for disease — including new viruses, like COVID-19, which supposedly got started at a wet market in China.

We already know of lawmakers in Cali and New York working to get these things shut down, but it’s pretty apparent there needs to be federal legislation rolled out to address this. Can’t call the kettle black when we’re swimming in the freakin’ pot.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

Continue Reading
Advertisement

This Just In…

Trending