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Most of the bacteria present in our digestive system are found in the intestines. The gut microbiota has functions such as protecting the body against pathogens, regulating digestive and immune balance, and absorbing nutrients from the foods consumed. Environmental factors such as diets, the use of antibiotics and various medicines and diseases can affect the change in the intestinal microbiota. It is known that when fermented foods and foods or supplements containing probiotics are added to the diet, the intestinal microbiota improves and even has a positive impact on physiological functions.

Fermented foods nowadays are defined as “foods and beverages produced by the controlled growth of microbes and enzymatic transformations of food compounds”. Fermented milk or cultured milk is made by adding suitable bacteria to heat-treated animal milk. Yogurt, kefir, milk cream, cheese are in the group of fermented milk products. After fermentation, the nutritional content of milk changes. Phytochemicals and antioxidant activities increase.

Conjugated linoleic acid naturally found in milk fat has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-atherogenic effects that increase during fermentation. For example; Folate, Riboflavin and Vitamin B12 can be synthesized by bacteria that ferment dairy products.

Fermented dairy products have preventive or curative effects on some diseases:

1. Cancer:

Animal studies have shown that lactic acid bacteria can provide anticarcinogenic effects such as cancer prevention or suppression.

Fermented milk consumption can reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.

Consumption of yogurt, butter, gouda cheese may be protective against breast cancer.

2. Type 2 Diabetes:

Consumption of fermented milk products, especially yogurt, reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It has been determined that there is a relationship between yogurt consumption and lower glucose levels, lower insulin levels and less insulin resistance.

3. Immune System:

Our immune system provides the first defense against microbial pathogens that enter our body. Some studies show that yogurt or lactic acid bacteria increase a group of immune cells or factors (cytokine production, antibody production, T-cell production, etc.). In addition, calcium, some vitamins and trace elements, whey proteins can also contribute to the strengthening of the immune system.

4. Gastrointestinal system health:

a) Diarrhea: It is known that fermented milk reduces the rate of diarrhea. There is improvement in diarrhea caused by antibiotic use, even viral diarrhea.

b) Constipation: It is frequently seen in people who follow Western-style nutrition and in the elderly. Some bacteria in fermented milk products or probiotic supplements have been found to alleviate constipation.

c) It is effective in facilitating digestion and relieving digestion (such as reducing bloating in the stomach, accelerating the passage through the colon). It reduces intestinal permeability. It is effective in improving the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

5. Lactose intolerance:

Intolerance to lactose or milk sugar is known in adults. In people who do not have enough lactose in their small intestine, consuming lactose can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain. These symptoms are less common when consuming fermented milk.

Yogurt helps digest lactose because the lactic acid bacteria used to make yogurt produce lactase and digest the lactose. Beta-galactosidase enzyme produced by yogurt bacteria supports the digestion of lactose and increases tolerance to it.

6. Allergy:

Probiotic bacteria contribute to the healing of the intestinal lining and decrease intestinal permeability, thus preventing the absorption of antigens. In this way, allergic reactions are prevented or reduced in people with a high risk of allergy.

7. Tooth and Bone:

Studies show that fermented dairy products support growth and bone density; It has been shown to reduce bone problems such as the risk of dental caries, hip fracture risk. It has been shown that taking vitamin D supplements in addition to yogurt and cheese consumption has a more positive effect.


  1. D.A.Savaiano, R.W.Hutkins. Yogurt, cultured fermented milk, and health: a systematic review. Nutrition Reviews, Volume 79, Issue 5, May 2021, Pages 599-614, https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuaa013
  2. Nutritional Composition and Health-Promoting Properties of Amasi: A South African Fermented Milk Product. Fermentation 2022, 8(10), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation8100493
  3. Fermented Dairy Products: Starter Cultures and Potential Nutritional Benefits. P.M.Panesar., Food and Nutrition Sciences
    Vol. 2 No. 1 (2011) , Article ID: 3643 , 5 pages DOI:10.4236/fns.2011.21006
  4. Impact on Human Health of Microorgannisms Present in Fermented Dairy Products: An Overview. María Fernández,John Andrew Hudson,Riitta Korpela.. Role of Microorganisms Present in Dairy Fermented Products in Health and Disease, Volume 2015 | Article ID 412714 | https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/412714
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