Lifeway Foods Applauds New Research Examining the Potential for Probiotics in Kefir to Help Combat the Progression of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Study highlights the therapeutic benefits of the probiotics in kefir against oxidative stress and inflammation, which are important contributors to chronic neural disturbances including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and epilepsy

Morton Grove, Illinois, UNITED STATES


MORTON GROVE, Ill., Dec. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lifeway Foods, Inc. (Nasdaq: LWAY) (“Lifeway” or “the Company”), the leading U.S. manufacturer of kefir and fermented probiotic products to support the microbiome, today applauds the recent review titled “The Emerging Scenario of the Gut–Brain Axis: The Therapeutic Actions of the New Actor Kefir against Neurodegenerative Diseases” published in Antioxidants. The review examines the connection between disturbances in the gut microbiota and the progression of chronic neurodegenerative diseases, and how the protective and therapeutic effects of probiotics, such as those found in kefir, may play an instrumental role in slowing the progression of such diseases, which include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and epilepsy.

This review serves as a continuation of the research examining the anti-inflammatory effects of kefir’s probiotic cultures and peptides on the microbiome. While earlier studies have focused on the immune health benefits of probiotics, specifically their potential to protect against viral infections and help mitigate inflammatory conditions resulting from COVID-19, this most recent review takes a closer look at the gut-brain axis and how the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can help prevent neuronal degeneration associated with the abovementioned chronic neurodegenerative diseases. Key findings from the review include:

  • Neurodegeneration has been associated with inflammation and its mediators, which together lead to endothelial dysfunction, leading to blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption [44], apoptosis [221], necroptosis, [222,223], neuronal autophagy [224,225], and astrogliopathy [226] and accumulation of Aβ and tau protein [227,228]. These events associated with reactive oxygen species (ROS) trigger neurodegenerative events [227,229,230,231]
  • The microbial composition of the gastrointestinal tract influences neuronal tissue through various pathways, such as immune, neurological, and endocrine signaling [241,242], affecting behavior, BBB integrity, neurogenesis, and neurotransmitter production [243]. In response to oxidative stress, gut microbiota diversity is altered, which could even trigger neuroinflammation and, consequently, neurodegeneration [244,245].
  • Previous evidence points to the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory potential of kefir. Complications associated with inflammation are a key cause of morbidity and mortality due to chronic diseases. Peptides from kefir inhibited the NF-κB signaling pathway [163], increased anti-inflammatory (IL-10), and decreased the production of proinflammatory cytokines (such as INF, IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF) [40,115,159,204,211].
  • The probiotics in kefir had a possible neuroprotective effect due to the modulation of the microbiota, which was associated with reduced expression of inflammatory cytokines and ROS production, resulting in less cognitive damage [115]. The increase in these genera of bacteria proved to be an important indicator of gut microbiome reestablishment [250,294,295].
  • Recently, Olsson et al. (2020) [296] published a large cohort study that included approximately 82,000 Swedish adults, and the results confirmed the association between milk intake and an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) (as previously observed by others) [297,298]. In contrast, fermented milk (soured milk and yogurt) intake was not associated with an increased risk of developing PD [298].

While additional research is needed, Lifeway is encouraged by the initial findings that position kefir as an accessible, food-based therapeutic treatment option for the millions of people worldwide suffering from chronic neurodegenerative diseases.

“At Lifeway Foods, we are consistently impressed and assured by the incredible research around the microbiome’s effects on overall health and the potential to help people live healthier, more fulfilling lives by consuming fermented, probiotic foods and taking a proactive role in maintaining their gut health,” states Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, Inc. “As always, we continue to salute those whose research builds upon the foundation laid by Nobel Prize winner Élie Metchnikoff. We offer thanks and gratitude to the scientific community for their efforts to unlock life-changing breakthroughs though the modulation of gut microbiota, and for helping us spread the word about the benefits of probiotics and kefir.”

As the leading U.S. supplier of kefir, Lifeway Kefir is made with 12 active cultures and packed with protein, calcium and vitamin D. Each product is loaded with probiotics, which research suggests may help to support the microbiome. Additionally, research, such as the findings outlined above, suggests that probiotic products such as kefir may help support the body’s response to decrease inflammation.

Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky will be discussing research and natural foods trends on December 15th at the Global Consumer Growth Conference presented by Wolfe Research. To learn more about Lifeway and its products, visit lifewayfoods.com. To view the full review published in Antioxidants Volume 10, visit MDPI.com.

About Lifeway Foods

Lifeway Foods, Inc., which has been recognized as one of Forbes' Best Small Companies, is America's leading supplier of the probiotic, fermented beverage known as kefir. In addition to its line of drinkable kefir, the company also produces cheese and a ProBugs line for kids. Lifeway's tart and tangy fermented dairy products are now sold across the United States, Mexico, Ireland, France and the United Kingdom. Learn how Lifeway is good for more than just you at lifewayfoods.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

All statements in this release (and oral statements made regarding the subjects of this release) contains “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding, among other things, future operating and financial performance, product development, market position, business strategy and objectives. These statements use words, and variations of words, such as “expect,” “vision,” “will,” “predict,” “grow,” and “trend.” Other examples of forward looking statements may include, but are not limited to, (i) statements of Company plans and objectives, including the introduction of new products, or estimates or predictions of actions by customers or suppliers, (ii) statements of future economic performance, and (III) statements of assumptions underlying other statements and statements about Lifeway or its business. You are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations of future events and thus are inherently subject to uncertainty. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from Lifeway’s expectations and projections. These risks, uncertainties, and other factors include: price competition; the decisions of customers or consumers; the actions of competitors; changes in the pricing of commodities; the effects of government regulation; possible delays in the introduction of new products; and customer acceptance of products and services. A further list and description of these risks, uncertainties, and other factors can be found in Lifeway’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, and the Company’s subsequent filings with the SEC. Copies of these filings are available online at https://www.sec.gov, http://lifewaykefir.com/investor-relations/, or on request from Lifeway. Information in this release is as of the dates and time periods indicated herein, and Lifeway does not undertake to update any of the information contained in these materials, except as required by law. Accordingly, YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON THE ACCURACY OF ANY OF THE STATEMENTS OR OTHER INFORMATION CONTAINED IN ANY ARCHIVED PRESS RELEASE.

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