Fermented foods: Potential benefits in inflammation, arthritis, and oxidative stress

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Fermented foods have a long history of usage in different cultures worldwide. These foods are naturally produced using bacteria and fungi, offering rich nutritional content.

Throughout ancient times, fermentation was employed as a preservation method, enhancing the nutritional value of food and extending its shelf life.

Chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and chronic inflammatory pain, pose significant challenges for treatment, often leading to limited efficacy and adverse effects from long-term medication use.

Fermented foods containing probiotic bacteria and fungi have been suggested to boost the immune system, improve gastrointestinal health, and potentially reduce the risk of developing inflammatory diseases.

However, the clinical and translational experimental studies on fermented foods prepared from vegetables, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, soy-based foods, or turmeric, remain limited.

This review aims to explore the effectiveness of various fermented foods or drinks that have been traditionally used against inflammation, arthritis, and oxidative stress.

Additionally, researchers discuss potential limitations and gaps in knowledge regarding the efficacy and usage of these fermented products, providing a comprehensive overview of the research field.

Fermented Foods and Inflammatory Diseases

Research suggests that fermented foods may have a positive impact on inflammatory diseases due to their probiotic content.

Probiotics found in fermented foods can help modulate the immune response, reduce inflammation, and promote a healthy gut environment.

However, further clinical studies are needed to establish the specific effects of fermented foods on inflammatory conditions and to determine optimal dosages and treatment protocols.

Fermented Foods and Arthritis

Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, is characterized by chronic inflammation and joint pain.

Some studies indicate that certain fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, may possess anti-inflammatory properties and potentially alleviate arthritis symptoms.

However, the majority of evidence in this area is based on animal studies or limited human trials, highlighting the need for more comprehensive research.

Fermented Foods and Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress, resulting from an imbalance between antioxidants and harmful reactive oxygen species, is implicated in various chronic diseases, including inflammatory disorders.

Fermented foods, particularly those rich in antioxidants, have been proposed to counteract oxidative stress and promote overall well-being.

Examples of such foods include fermented soy-based products and turmeric-based preparations.

Nonetheless, additional studies are required to substantiate these claims and explore the mechanisms underlying the potential antioxidant effects of fermented foods.

Limitations and Future Research Directions

Despite the historical use and anecdotal evidence supporting the benefits of fermented foods, the scientific understanding of their therapeutic effects remains limited.

Many studies conducted thus far have relied on animal models or small-scale human trials, thus necessitating further robust clinical and translational research.

Standardization of fermented food preparations, identification of active components, and investigation of optimal dosing and delivery methods are areas that require attention.

Moreover, the impact of individual variations in gut microbiota composition and other factors on the efficacy of fermented foods warrants exploration.


Fermented foods hold promise as natural remedies for inflammation, arthritis, and oxidative stress.

While there is some evidence suggesting their potential benefits, further well-designed clinical studies are needed to establish their effectiveness, dosage requirements, and mechanisms of action.

By addressing current limitations and knowledge gaps, future research can shed light on the therapeutic potential of fermented foods, paving the way for evidence-based recommendations and improved management of chronic inflammatory conditions.

The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

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