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I usually try to eat yogurt at least twice a week to get the good bacteria,  but recently I have discovered Kefir. Think of probiotics as your army of soldiers defending against attackers that want to make your body sick. The bad bacteria like to feed on the sugar, alcohol, and processed foods that our common American diet is loaded with. Each day try to replace one processed or high sugar food or drink with a prebiotic food (such as almonds, banana, kiwifruit) or a probiotic food (such as yogurt or kefir). This entry was posted in Digestive Health, Healing Nutrients and tagged high fructose corn syrup, immune system, prebiotic foods, probiotic foods, sugar by Karen Marschel RDN LD CDE.
Disclaimer: Information and advice provided by Karen Marschel, RD LD CDE CLT and KM Nutrition Consulting, Inc. Lately, probiotics have become pretty well-known as crucial bacteria and yeasts that thrive in, and benefit our digestive system. Probiotics often found in Greek yogurts and can also be ingested in supplement form to help maintain balance in our gut. Kefir is a fermented milk drink, similar to yogurt, with a milder taste and a different probiotic composition.
Yogurt on the other hand is the most popular fermented milk product, the number one favorite on the market.
Kefir and Yogurt are cultured milk products with great nutritious value, and health benefits stemming from the probiotics content. There is a consistent difference between the taste of the two fermented milk products, and people are quite attached to one versus the other. Yogurt is the thicker of the two, and it's usually made into an almost solid product, similar to sour cream. The greatest benefit of kefir vs yogurt is that some of the probiotics in kefir will populate your gut.
The probiotic profile of yogurt is very simple containing 2 up to 10 bacteria strains to help with the fermentation. Other fermented milk drinks called yogurt, but somewhat different from the traditional one are Viili, Filmjolk, Matsoni, Piima, and they are cultured with some of these bacteria.
Kefir milk is fermented with a symbiotic culture of over 40 yeasts and bacteria, in a perfect balance, and helping each-other thrive. While kefir grains are not always the same, and the microbiological composition can be different from symbiote to symbiote, a lot of the microorganisms are common to most cultures.
Yogurt uses thermophilic cultures, which means they need higher temperature for fermentation, while kefir cultures are mesophilic, that means they can ferment at room temperature.
Kefir on the other hand is a mesophilic culture, which means it can be fermented at room temperature.
The best kefir and yougurt are home made, because you are in complete control over the fermentation process and you can refine it to get maximum health benefits, and the perfect taste. Probiotics are microorganisms in a symbiotic relationship with humans, and prebiotics are the food for the microorganisms. The capillaries in the brain, the smallest blood vessels, are different from usual capillaries in that the lining cells are very tightly joined together not allowing diffusion of microbes, large particles and hydrophilic (water soluble) particles.  They do allow small hydrophobic molecules in, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and hormones. Just outside of the vessels is the basement membrane of the extracellular space—a solid sheet of molecules made of collagen, laminin and many other complex molecules. The cerebral spinal fluid flows in the middle of three membrane barriers called the meninges. Many different kinds of bacteria and virus attack the brain. Worldwide, a large number of people die from bacterial meningitis and malaria. Microbes are able to build a niche in specific regions of the brain, based on special characteristics of their entry process, and the special receptors for specific microbes that exist on the surface of neurons and glia.
When microbes are able to enter the brain, some attack neurons; others such as polio, attack oligodendrocytes, the cells that make myelin. One of the main ways that products are taken into the blood is through an active process where cells’ membranes merge with a sac (vesicle)  transporting it through the cell and secreting it on the other side into the blood stream (endocytosis and exocytosis).
Some microbes disturb the blood brain barrier (BBB) such as adenovirus or Nipah virus, which cause hemorrhage with brain infection.
The monkey HIV, called SIV (for simian) enters the lining cells and multiplies inside the cell.
Cytokine communication occurs between immune and brain cells and these also help allow WBCs to cross. Herpes, HIV, SIV, and measles reproduce in T cells and in monocytes and are carried into the brain by these immune cells. The bacteria listeria monocytogenes and the infamous Toxoplasma gondii, which causes mental effects in animals (including humans), also use monocytes to cross.
There are many different other cytokine signals and techniques involving white blood cells that are used by many other microbes including Trypanosoma, causing sleeping sickness.
West Nile virus is stopped by Toll-like receptors, which trigger immune factors like TNF (tumor necrosis factor.) TNF stops blood cells from entering.
Even without entering the brain proper, malaria parasites in red blood cells create signals that make the RBC stick to the vessel lining cells. There are many other mechanisms used by other microbes including stimulating a neurotransmitter receptor that causes the scaffolding to change, allowing gaps in the lining cells.
Other microbes stay in the choroid plexus cells and from there send signals that cause inflammation in the ventricles. Peripheral nerves in the body are protected because lining cells called the perineurium and endoneural vessels surround them.
Viruses with an envelope—rabies and herpes—are similar to a vesicle, which merges with the membrane and releases the virus into the cell.
Those viruses that don’t use their own envelope, but rather a cellular vesicle, leave no immune traces. Rabies is carried by an endosome (vesicle) retrograde from the tip of the axon all the way back to the nucleus. Recently, it was shown that when the herpes virus takes over the dynein motor it actually alters the energy mechanism (ATP source) and speeds it up.
Ganglia are not as protected as CNS and ganglia cells come in contact with blood and interstitial matrix and therefore immune T cells that stop microbes. Ssome viruses that make it into the brain stay there in a hibernating state, but then re activate and travel to the periphery to go to the skin in order to spread to others. Several viruses in the CNS are secreted in vesicles from neurons and then taken up by microglia, where they are broken up into pieces of proteins that can be presented to T cells in MHC. Other microbes in neurons, such as rabies, trigger signals that suppress immune activity such as HLA-G1 that protects them. Behavior in animals, including humans, can change based on where the microbe attacks the brain.
Examples include aggressive behavior from rabies in the brainstem, thalamus and hippocampus; and T. Microbes traverse a long tortuous route from the outside through skin, mucous, blood vessels, the many barriers to the brain, and the vast complexity of the neuron. What is quite remarkable is that in different parts of the journey, microbes use very specific complex cytokine signals and manufacture very specific shaped molecules.
This entry was posted in Blog, Microbes and tagged Despite difficulties many microbes enter brain, Microbes must cross blood brain barrier to get into brain, Microbes must cross extracellular matrix to get into neurons, Microbes use complex signals to travel to brain, Microbes use cytokines to manipulate immune cells, Some microbes stay in neurons for years.


Could it be possible that microbes and viruses are delivery devices, programmed by external systems that have the required level of “intelligence” and sufficient knowledge of complex life? Microbiology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and contamination control news and discussion site.
Malaria is carried by mosquitoes and is one of the most well-known and most dreaded diseases in the world. Public Health England has published data relating to resistance to more than one antibiotic among Acinetobacter baumannii and A. Knowing precisely the microbes present in a wound could greatly aid in the prevention and treatment of infections. It’s like a yogurt smoothie that taste’s a little sweet but still tart and has twice the live active cultures as my favorite yogurt!
Probiotics are fermented foods that resupply the good bacteria in your digestive tract.  Prebiotics are the foods that feed the good bacteria.
The army has to have a supply of energy to stay strong and keep defending, right?  That fuel comes from the prebiotic foods. If we eat that way for too long we end up with more bad bacteria than good bacteria and we leave ourselves easy target for colds, flu and other illness and infection. The general guideline is to eat less sugar and processed foods and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Look at the ingredients and notice how many foods have sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners. Besides all the obvious benefits to weight and diabetes regular physical activity also helps your immune system. Unlike the bad bacteria that could trigger diseases, probiotics are the good guys; the beneficial bacteria are necessary to maintaining good health. Studies have shown that probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri kills the bacteria that causes tooth decay and lessens the harmful effects of gingivitis.
According to Harvard Medical School, probiotic consumption can help reduce diarrhea.A Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who took probiotics with antibiotics were 42 percent less likely to develop diarrhea than those who took the placebo. A study from Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that probiotics consumption could lower the risk for developing eczema. Probiotics also help balance the bacteria present in vagina and prevent the overgrowth of harmful microorganisms.
Researchers from the Cochrane Library found that probiotics seem to reduce upper respiratory infections when compared to a placebo. The study revealed that women ate three 4-ounce servings of live culture yogurt a day experienced a shorter amount of time between eating and bowel movements. Probiotics can offer healthy benefits under the right circumstances and with the guidance of a qualified health professional. Kefir is gaining popularity more and more, because of its specific taste that appeals to many people, and because of its increased health benefits. For instance, I find the yogurt a little too tart for my taste, whereas my wife loves the sourness in yogurt, the more tart it is the better it tastes for her. The thickness of yogurt can be controlled in a few ways, through the fat content, the more fat, the thicker the end result, through culture selection, some cultures will produce a thicker end result, by adding powdered milk to the mix, and by straining the fermented milk product. Probiotics in yogurt are transitory, they help you for a limited time as they pass through the digestive system. The cultures are enclosed in a polysaccharide shell, created by one of the bacteria in the symbiote, and which gives the structure the aspect of cauliflower florets. Here is a generic possible microbiological composition of kefir, according to the studies made by a Chinese research team and a Mexican research team. For full disclosure I have to mention that some special yogurt types, such as Viili, Filmjolk, Matsoni, and Piima use mesophilic cultures though. But this kind of fast fermentation destroys the bacteria in the fermented milk, and the result is a product with a low count of probiotics.
The fermentation time for kefir is anything from 24 to 72 hours, depending on the room temperature, and your taste.
With careful planning a batch can virtually be used to culture an infinite number of batches.
The cultures contain selected bacteria, that produce lactic acid giving the milk the sour taste. In order to benefit from probiotics, (the good microbacterial flora), we need to nourish them, to allow the proper growth of their colony; without the proper food the micro flora would just starve, and eventually die. But, with great ingenuity microbes have mechanisms of traversing the tortuous multi layered pathways into the brain. The blood brain barrier is a term used for multiple different obstructions between particles and microbes in the blood and the extracellular fluid that lies between brain cells as well as the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain. Then, there is a layer of astrocyte end feet, which covers all surfaces of the blood vessels and determines the blood flow (the measure of MRI). Trypanosomiasis, neurocysticercosis, rabies, measles, polio, HIV, and henipavirus (from bats) all enter the brain. A previous post shows how intelligent T cells, as well as other immune cells, provide surveillance in the cerebrospinal fluid and control the inflammation response in the brain. A previous post noted that in different brain regions different cells have individually developed their own local immune systems targeted at very specific microbes. The blood vessel lining cells, which protect the brain, do not take up vesicles as lining cells do in other parts of the body.
Some microbes make a specific molecule on their surface that attaches to the lining cells and then a special plasmid that causes disruption through signaling.
It attaches to the lining cells and stimulates the immune factors in the cells, NF-kappa-beta and interferon regulatory factor that cause inflammation. Although the brain was considered to have no immune cells previously, the post on Intelligent T cells shows that there are many blood cells in the CSF and some do cross into the brain.
When the basement membrane opens from a special signal, WBCs can pass by the astrocytes end feet layer, a significant barrier surrounding blood vessels. A cytokine signal from astrocytes is triggered by these viruses, which calls for more monocytes. Even with very few in the blood, some of the virus enter and infect neurons especially in the basal ganglia, thalamus, brainstem and cerebellum.
The bacteria strep, pneumonia, Neisseria meningitides, haemophilus influenza and the fungus cryptococcus cause inflammation in the CSF.
This is done by triggering specific signals that cause the cells to take up and transmit vesicles. The axon is protected except at the end and there molecules can be taken into the cell and transported along the axon back to the nucleus.
The virus lives first in skeletal muscle cells, then meets the axon at the neuromuscular junction and then can travel all the way up the spinal cord into the CNS. Polio is transported by the dynein motors on microtubules rapidly, in addition to having a different separate very slow transport. It is not a passive passenger on the dynein motor but grabs the wheel and increases the throttle. The T cell produces signals, such as interferon gamma, that stops the reproduction of the virus.
In other cases, when T cell’s signals attempt to control the infection, they can, instead, alter and impair a neuron’s function.


Invasion of the brain involves many different complex mechanisms each of which has to be in sequence. It is remarkable that a tiny cell, or a virus ( which is, virtually, just a piece of DNA or RNA) can make these multiple different signaling molecules, or the specific shapes needed, or utilize complex mechanisms that overtake the energy supply of the dynein motors while travelling on microtubules. I know that doesn’t sound so pleasant but just go back to the picture in your mind of an army of good soldiers protecting you!
The challenging part, as with all supplements, is to find a good quality probiotic, which often is kept refrigerated in the pharmacy.
Probiotics are live bacteria that naturally occur in certain foods from fermented vegetables to live cultured yogurt.
A study at AHA scientific meeting found that a strain of probiotics found in dairy and meats lowered LDL levels in participants by nearly 12 percent more than the group taking placebo. Other study from Helsinki, Finland found those who drank the probiotic enriched milk were 17 percent less likely to get a respiratory infection and 16 percent less likely to be absent due to illness.
Study published in Pediatrics found that breastfed babies whose mothers consumed a daily dose of probiotics cried 194 minutes less that the test group that didn’t. My daughter doesn't mind the lighter tartness of kefir, but she doesn't like the specific fizz of kefir. But that doesn't increase the effectiveness of kefir as a probiotic drink, I dare to say that it could even lower it. Yogurt can contain various strains of Lactobacilli, but commercial yogurt makers will restrict the number of bacteria to a few, for profitability. Kefir on the other hand, provides long term health benefits by repopulating the intestines. Kefir on the other hand, if it's made traditionally, with kefir grains as a starter, contains around 50 strains of yeasts and bacteria.
When making SCD yogurt you have to make sure the temperature doesn't go above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The bacteria also modify the milk's texture, giving it the specific thickness that is very prized. This trip takes many different stages, and each stage needs highly specific complex machinery and signaling with complex molecules. It consists of special tight junctions between cells lining the blood capillaries, a thick basement membrane and a thick and continuous layer of astrocyte end feet that fully surrounds the blood vessels.
These consist of proteoglycans, tenascin and linking proteins and are critical for synapses and neuroplasticity. When neurons are infected, they don’t display the MHC signals on the cell surface and therefore T cell don’t react to them (see post for discussion of the way T cells read MHC signals on cells). Crossing these multiple barriers involve multiple different laminins and many different signaling cytokines. A new finding is that during the infection with malaria, many very small vesicles called micro-particles are released from the RBCs, WBCs, platelets and vessel lining cells. At times these reactions are quite complex with very specific cytokine signaling between microglia, macrophages, and T cells. There are many different ways that the vesicles and envelopes are introduced into the cell using scaffolding machinery.
Naegleria fowleri has been in the news recently for entering the brain of several children who swam in infested water (one recently as north as Minnesota).
Just remember that antibiotic medications kill the good guys too so after a round of antibiotics  you need to resupply with good probiotic foods or supplements. One would be tempted to say that the two are the same thing, but they are quite different in many aspects, and I'll try to shed some light on that. When you make your yogurt, you can add various bacteria as your starter, and you can combine various starters to get a more complete probiotic profile.
Very high temperatures will make yogurt faster, but will not result in a high count of probiotics.
Microbes are able to send their own complex signals and trigger immune cytokines and neurotransmitter signaling for the own advantage at every step of the complex journey.
Then, there is the dense interstitial matrix not attached to the basement membrane or perineural nets, but floating freely.
In one way around the problem of crossing the lining cells, malaria doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier, but attaches to blood cells and vessels and causes trouble from there through signaling.
Although most endothelial lining cells don’t bring in vesicles, a small class of cells in the basement membrane, called pericytes, do. These particles bind to macrophages and stimulate many signaling cytokines causing inflammation and malaria infection in the brain.
The trick all of these pathogens use is to have a binding factor that is very similar to the surface of platelets and it stimulates specific cytokine signals (platelet activating factor, PAF). These immune cells are prodded by signaling to disrupt the lining with inflammatory responses.  Monocytes with HIV inside can also cross the choroid plexus.
In the autonomic system it travels to the salivary gland where it joins saliva and infects another human.
These good bacteria occur naturally in our digestive systems and can also be found in a variety of foods and natural probiotic supplements.
In fact, some kefir makers, alter the kefir cultures by adding certain bacteria, to turn the otherwise runny kefir into a thicker consistency product, spoonable, that appeals to yogurt lovers.
With kefir, there is no need for this, the kefir grains have all the bacteria and yeasts, there is no need to modify, improve, or control in any way the cultures, unless you want to make it thicker. The fermentation time for "SCD legal" yogurt is 24 hours, this ensures that much of the sugars in milk are turned into lactic acid. These bring in HIV virus and transport it without multiplication all the way to the other side and into the brain. They cross by attaching to the venule (smallest veins) then, in steps, and with different complex mechanisms, traverse lining cells and, then, basement membrane cells. These endosomes are kept at specific pH to stop the release of the virus until it has travelled all the way to the nucleus. After multiplying in the sensory neuron, it then travels again by retrograde transport into the CNS. By retrograde transport they can enter the limbic system and the monoamine systems of the brainstem.
It can travel in pieces or as a whole in vesicles, which are transported along microtubules. One example goes to the serotonin center, the Raphe nucleus and causes life long low serotonin. As a general rule, straining fermented milk products, kefir, or yougurt, or viili make them more apealing as foods, but it lowers the probiotic effects. There are also more type of strains, both bacteria and yeasts, in kefir so potentially, there are more health benefits. As anecdotal evidence, people who drink kefir report that it is better for their health than yogurt.



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