Fermented Food – good or bad for health? As I have grown and matured as a clinician, I tend to be wary of messages that tout state there is only one way or that something is good for everyone. The exception to the rule is limiting or ideally avoiding processed foods that are genetically modified and not organic (at least follow the Dirty Dozen list if finances are a concern – https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php).
One perfect example involves the use of fermented food. For many years, the suggestion has been made to include the rich probiotic aspects that are created during the fermentation process. In fact, many people who suffer from candida (fungal and yeast overgrowth) and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) find that including these foods may or may not be helpful. Kombucha and kefir are other examples.
Being one of the “outliers” as I call myself and many of my clients, I did not respond well to fermented food, yet I loved them. The gas, visual fogginess and overall body bloating was so uncomfortable in trying to do the “right thing”, that I began the exploration and found some interesting information about fermented food.
Some people do not respond well to D-lactate—an acid produced by some probiotic bacteria, including lactic acid bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus. These folks would do better with bifidobacter, a specific strain to counterbalance the lactate and acidophilus. S. boulardii is another strain that is specific for treating candida and SIBO.
Fermented Food and Histamine
This can also arise in folks who have significant genetic challenges with histamine production and/or breakdown. Genetic testing can assist in pinpointing problem areas and there are tests that look at the “expression” of the gene abnormality.
With high histamine folks, consider using an OAT test (Organic Acids Test) to look at the production of certain dysbiotic organisms as well as imbalances in overall detoxification. A 3-day stool test may also provide clues about what is growing as well as what substances may assist with rebalancing the flora.
Before getting rid of probiotics and fermented food that contain lactic acid bacteria, be sure to change the diet to one that is SIBO-friendly. It may also be helpful to use a prokinetic (motility enhancer) such as ginger, plant tannins or Swedish bitters.
While the process may feel daunting, what is most important is to listen to the internal wisdom of YOUR body, take note and adjust accordingly. With any new dietary changes, there can be discomfort in the initial few days or week, but if symptoms persist, the touted “ideal diet”, may not be for you.