Kefir: The Not-Quite-Paleo Superfood | Chris Kresser

Kefir: The Not-Quite-Paleo Superfood

by Chris Kresser

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One of the key components of a strict Paleo diet is the complete elimination of dairy products. Unfortunately, this may lead to many dairy-tolerant individuals missing out on some of the most nutritious and beneficial foods on the planet. One dairy product that not only offers a wide range of vitamins and minerals, but also provides a variety of probiotic organisms and powerful healing qualities, is kefir (pronounced /kəˈfɪər/ kə-FEER).

The word “kefir” is derived from the Turkish word “keif”, which literally translates to the “good feeling” one has after drinking it. (1) Traditional cultures have attributed healing powers to kefir for centuries, but it has only recently become the subject of scientific research to determine its true therapeutic value.

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk product that originated centuries ago in the Caucasus mountains, and is now enjoyed by many different cultures worldwide, particularly in Europe and Asia.

It can be made from the milk of any ruminant animal, such as a cow, goat, or sheep. It is slightly sour and carbonated due to the fermentation activity of the symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that make up the “grains” used to culture the milk (not actual grains, but a grain-like matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars that feed the microbes). The various types of beneficial microbiota contained in kefir make it one of the most potent probiotic foods available.

Besides containing highly beneficial bacteria and yeasts, kefir is a rich source of many different vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that promote healing and repair, as well as general health maintenance. (2) Kefir contains high levels of thiamin, B12, calcium, folates and Vitamin K2. It is a good source of biotin, a B vitamin that HELPS the body assimilate other B vitamins. The complete proteins in kefir are already partially digested, and are therefore more easily utilized by the body. Like many other dairy products, kefir is a great source of minerals like calcium and magnesium, as well as phosphorus, which helps the body utilize carbohydrates, fats and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy. (3)

Kefir has positive effects on gut and bone health

It is a potent probiotic, consisting of both bacterial and yeast species of beneficial flora, and may help protect against gastrointestinal diseases. It has also been demonstrated to improve lactose digestion in adults with lactose intolerance. (4) In addition to providing the gut with healthy symbiotic microflora, many studies have also demonstrated the anti-fungal and antibacterial properties of kefir. (5) Certain bacteria strains from the kefir culture have been shown to help in treating colitis by regulating the inflammatory response of the intestinal cells. (6)

As we know, vitamin K2 is one of the most important nutrients that is greatly lacking in the American diet, but there are some vitamin k2 food sources.  (7) Vitamin K2 is a product of bacterial fermentation, so kefir is a likely a good source of this nutrient, especially if made with milk from pastured animals. (8) Vitamin K2 plays a key role in calcium metabolism, where it is used to deposit calcium in appropriate locations, such as in the bones and teeth, and prevent it from depositing in locations where it does not belong, such as the soft tissues and the arteries. (9) Since kefir is high in calcium and phosphorus and also contains vitamin K2, drinking kefir is likely beneficial to bone health, providing the essential minerals needed for bone growth as well as the vitamin K2 needed to effectively deposit those minerals in the bone.

Kefir modulates the immune system

Certain compounds in kefir may play a role in regulating immune function, allergic response, and inflammation. One study found that kefiran, a sugar byproduct of the kefir culture, may reduce allergic inflammation by suppressing mast cell degranulation and cytokine production. (10) Another study found that certain bacteria in the kefir culture inhibited IgE production, helping to moderate the body’s allergic response. (11)

Research has also demonstrated that kefir may have an anti-tumor effect. In one study, kefir consumption inhibited tumor growth and induced the apoptotic form of tumor cell lysis, suggesting that kefir may play a role in cancer prevention. (12) When applied topically, kefir and its polysaccharide compounds have even been shown to be effective antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents for improved wound healing. (13)

As kefir clearly has a wide variety of health benefits, you may be interested in including this fermented dairy beverage in your diet. Cow, goat, or sheep dairy are all good choices, and all types of kefir are generally very low in lactose. Raw milk kefir would be the ideal choice for anyone looking for maximum nutritional quality, but may be challenging for most consumers to find.

Kefir is becoming more mainstream for health-conscious Americans, so you may be able to find full-fat, plain kefir at your local grocery store. Look for a brand with minimal additives and extra ingredients. Good commercial products include Redwood Hill Farm’s Traditional Goat Kefir and Lifeway’s Organic Whole Milk Plain Kefir.

Making your own kefir at home

Finding high quality kefir at your local store may not be an option for you. In this case, you can make your own kefir at home. Making kefir is surprisingly simple, and Cheeseslave has a great instructive blog post on how to make kefir at home. You can buy kefir grains online at sites such as Culture for Health, and provided you take care of the culture, it should last indefinitely. Making kefir from raw dairy products is ideal, but if you don’t have access to raw dairy, you can use organic full-fat dairy, preferably from a grass-fed animal. For those who cannot tolerate any form of dairy, kefir can be made from coconut milk, coconut water, and even just sweetened water, which will provide many of the benefits found in dairy kefir.

Kefir is a great source of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and a variety of other unique compounds that can greatly contribute to your overall health and wellbeing. I highly recommend including this nutritious superfood in your diet, even if it doesn’t fall under strict “Paleo” guidelines!

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  1. I have only been making kefir for a couple of weeks and have developed extremely itchy eyes over the past couple of days. I do have a few allergies to some pollens,cats and rabbits! I wonder if I may be allergic to kefir. I am loving drinking it but will give up if advised as I don’t want to be causing my system any irritation. Advice greatly received.

  2. I love kefir and enjoy both milk and water kefir and appreciate the wide ranging benefits including reducing inflammation … however as someone with an autoimmune disease (coeliac disease) I’m a little concerned as studies on the effect of kefir on the immune system suggest it may increase CD4 expression and shift Th cell response towards Th-1, which tends to be dominant in many autoimmune diseases such as CD. I know the Th-1/2 theory is perhaps a bit reductionist and indeed CD autoantibody production may be Th-2 driven, but when the aim of autoimmune support is immune balancing I do wonder about kefir and other probiotic rich foods and supplements which may further stimulate an already over reactive immune system. Hmmm… any thoughts very welcome

  3. I have an alpine dairy goat and I make my Kiefer with her milk. I don’t pasteurize so it is raw, but I have noticed my Kiefer milk is much thinner than when I use store bought cow milk. I know the fat is much different in both milks but I worry the Kiefer doesn’t have as much to “eat” bc my goat milk doesn’t have the fat content cows milk does. I hope this makes sense, I just feel like my Kiefer grains slow down growing after a LONG time on the raw goat milk, I will usually do some cows milk once a month to keep them “slimy” and plump. Any other goat milk Kiefer fans on here?

    • Yes…..I have been making Goat kefir for at least six months…..Even though it is pasturized(cannot find raw)….It has cured my hy-pyloric issues…..I feel so much better now…..I use it to make bisuits (with organic sprouted flour)…yummy,also when I can save enough kefir grain…..great for baths and foot soaks….My dog loves it…(sparingly of course)……..Today I am buying non homogenized cows milk…..wondering if this would be better over pasturized g. milk………..Thinking goats milk may be a whole lot better for me then cows(regardless the prep work)…..Would you know Kim?……..Grateful ,Jess

      • I’m glad the kefir is working for you, Jess. Non-homogenized milk is better, imo. Raw milk is best. I just switched to raw, am making it myself daily, and love it much better than the commercial stuff I bought before. It is more digestable.

    • For what it’s worth, I purchased a gallon glass container with a bottom pour spigot.
      As you know the whey protien separates from the casien protien.
      Once my 2% pasteurized cows milk separates completely 50/50, I drain away the whey protien from the bottom not disturbing the thick casien protien that remains on top.
      I pour out the now really thick casien protien Kefir into my Vitamix blender and spin it up.
      I then reintroduce my now super thick creamy Kefir to a 1 quart Mason jar.
      I place a 1/4 inch slice of orange in the jar and place in the fridge to thicken even more.
      I like really thick velvety smooth casien Kefir.
      I have been told that kefir whey protien only lasts 45 minutes in the digestive system whereas casien protien keep you full for up to four hours which it does.

  4. Where I live, water kefir is much more popular than milk Kefir.

    it makes a pleasant fizzy drink and can be flavoured with fruit etc. I make a “ginger beer” with ginger essence.

    I know that it uses different grains, and presumably the bacterial strains are also different. Bacterially, is this type of kefir as beneficial as milk kefir?

    • Jennifer, milk kefir contains between 30-50 strains of probiotic bacteria whereas water kefir only 10-15. Also, dairy milk kefir, especially raw dairy, comes with all its natural good bacteria, enzymes and minerals not present in water kefir. You’ll probably find this article useful, as it explains the differences in much more detail:
      Which is Better – Water Kefir or Milk Kefir? – Cultured Food Life
      https://www.culturedfoodlife.com/which-is-better-water-kefir-or-milk-kefir/
      Good luck.

    • @ Jennifer: I personally believe people should start with water kefir and then work up to milk based kefir. It’s much easier on the gut, if gut issues are a reason you are launching your tastebuds into the kefir kingdom. I actually prefer the water kefir, whether it’s “fizzy” or not. I only let mine “brew” for about 24 – 26 hours, this way it has less “taste or flavor” for those just beginning this trek. Leaving it longer, as much as 48 hours at the most, it will be stronger as it sits longer.

      But, that’s just me. I prefer to start anything new to my health on a very slow basis. I think that’s always better for our body.

  5. Hey Chris

    Great article on Kefir. I am lucky enough to be able to use raw cow’s milk, at least here in the UK them is some degree of sanity about raw milk 🙂

    I see a lot of people with cause/effect observations about their use of Kefir. Constipation being one. Of course, not everything agrees with everyone, we all need to conduct our own n=1 experiments, but I’m intrigued at how something that is potentially positive for the gut biome cause constipation etc?

    Be interested to hear your views.

    • Hi Stephen,

      The difference could well be the type of raw milk, either A1 from Holstein, Friesian, Ayrshire and British Shorthorn, or A2 from Jersey, Guernsey, Charolais and Limousin. A1 can be problematic for many people, causing constipation for one thing, whereas A2 is not. You can read all about the difference in this Mercola article:

      http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/09/the-devil-in-the-milk.aspx

      A1 cows tend to produce more milk so are more economically viable. For that reason almost all supermarket milk will be A1. Cows that produce A2 milk are less productive so their milk tends to be reserved for butter and cheese making, i.e. added value products to make the milk production viable. Our source of A2 Jersey milk is in Dorset:

      Modbury Farm Shop at Burton Bradstock
      http://www.modburyfarm.co.uk/

      You can find other raw milk suppliers in England, in Wales, in both North and South Ireland, but not in Scotland where it’s banned, here:
      http://rawmilk.simkin.co.uk/index.html

      Hope this helps.

      • Excellent article, thank you. I’ve been drinking kefir for nearly two years and feel quite good. It is my main staple food, as well as super green powder. I drink 2-3 quarts of kefir/day, depending on the season and my activity level. I also eat fresh berries and salad greens from the garden. I don’t feel the need for much else. Food is an obsession in this world. Many peoples’ days and social lives revolve around eating. An enormous amount of energy is invested in the food industry. From the time the thought germinates in the mind of the farmer (or CEO of a megacorporation), to the time it comes to the meal plate of the consumer is tremendous. Think about it. Who benefits? Then there is the clean-up, and waste products. It is all rather ridiculous, imo. What would people do if they weren’t focused on food? They would have a lot more energy, money, time and better health – physically, mentally and spiritually. Simplifying the diet with kefir as the main source of nutrition frees a person from a complicated life, and frees the stomach from chaos. The gut-brain connection is direct, so improve the gut systems, and improve the brain processing systems.

        • I drink about a quart of kefir a day and like to ferment it until it’s very tart (few, if any sugars left) and a little fizzy. At this point, the whey separates from the protein and fat, and the latter become fairly firm curds. I don’t drink it when it’s at the soft, custardy stage. I love drinking the whey more than anything, and sometimes I feel like the cheese part is too much, especially if I’m not hungry at all. Has anyone tried separating out the curds and making some type of interesting cheese spread or something else? I would love to hear some ideas.

          • I’m in love with this stage of kefir where the curd is very separated from the whey. I’m not totally sure how it gets that way, since most my kefir containers are waiting a few days before I eat the content but it’s rather rare to get a container where the whey separated. Possibly when the heat in the room is quite high the whey separate faster. However the other containers I have in the same space did not have that happening to them.
            Sometimes I use the cream of this, even when this is not well separated from the rest, I use the cream on my body or face.

        • Kristi

          Wish the whole world could read your message….well written………….so true

          Keep on sharing

          Grateful,
          Jess

      • Hello Linda,

        Yes, Blue Bay, cheese producers from Mornington Peninsula produce Kefir Milk and sell it at various Farmers Markets and Deli’s. They also sell Kefir from their own Deli in Frankston. We have been buying their Kefir and cheeses for well over 10 years now.

        Cheers
        Connie

        Blue Bay Deli
        8 Young Street
        Frankston VIC 3199
        Phone: (03) 9783 1714
        bluebaycheese.com.au

    • Re. Constipation: when I eat lots of kefir compared to the rest of my diet, I get constipation. However when I increase fiber type food to a certain point, the constipation disappear. If I eat too much fiber food and too little fiber type food, I get too runny stools. So the easy fix is find a middle stand point between the fiber and non fiber foods. Animal type foods have no fiber and veges, seeds, etc. have plenty.

      • Constipation might be caused by excessive calcium in milk. I recommend magnesium supplements to balance the calcium

    • That’s strange, kifir acts as a laxative to my kids. If they have half a cup in a milkshake with berries, within 2 hours they have a trip to the loo for a clear out!

      • not strange if a person is ALLERGIC to “Casein” (the protein in cow, sheep, or goat). I’m allergic since birth. I wasn’t breast fed (I forgive mom) and I’m 45 now with many autoimmune issues & chronic fatigue, lyme etc, not strong digestion. I try to add Goat Cheese/ kefir to add a variety of probiotics, but gives me joint pain and kefir gives me a headache, stuffy nose and triggers my asthma where I need Antihistamine—Kefir is very high in histamine. 🙁 But, Coconut Water Kefir Agrees with me 🙂

    • Constipation might be caused by excessive calcium in milk. I recommend magnesium supplements to balance the calcium

  6. I started drinking homemade milk kefir (300 ml twice a day) for about 2 months and put on a lot of weight (6 Kgs). The same seems to be happening to the others who started drinking Kefir with me. I stopped and my weight stabilised. I want to start drinking it again, but i’m scared. Any suggestions/advice? Also, I haven’t found any website that mentions weight gain as a side effect of Kefir. They mainly speak of weight loss. Lastly, can Kefir help tackle my candida issue or there is a possibility that it may worsen things? I looks forward to your response, please.

    • Hi Karan,

      Are you sure you’re making your kefir correclty, as it sounds like there’s still lots of lactose remaining in the finished product? Here’s how I make mine from raw Jersey milk with up to 30% cream, you may have to fine tune the quantities and times for your milk:

      Kefir Instructions
      In the package you’ll find some soft kefir grains, looking a bit like over-cooked cauliflower, in raw, whole milk. Follow these instructions to make kefir.

      1. Place 70g (2.5 ounces) sieved grains in a one litre (one quart) glass jar.
      2. Fill with fresh, raw, whole milk.
      3. Cover with a lid or cloth.
      4. Leave for 24 hours at room temperature (20 degrees C, 68 F) or until whey starts to separate from the milk.
      5. Pour through a stainless steel sieve, gently rubbing the grains with a wooden spoon to separate out all the thicker kefir.
      6. Place 70g grains back in the jar, discarding or freezing any extra, see below.
      7. Refill with fresh, raw, whole milk.
      8. Stir, cap with a lid or cloth and leave for 24 hours as before.
      9. Whisk kefir to disperse any solids.
      10. Drink immediately or keep in fridge for second ferment.

      Do not heat the milk, room temperature is fine.
      The kefir grains will grow with each batch and, if left in the milk, the kefir will take less time to ferment, so you can do one of four things:
      (a) place the fermenting kefir in the fridge to slow down the process to keep it in sync with your consumption;
      (b) use only 70g in each new batch and freeze the balance in a zip-lock bag, both to keep for yourself as a backup and to give to others who may wish to start making kefirl
      (c) add the balance to your smoothie for a probiotic boost;
      (d) discard the balance, although that seems a waste.
      You will soon learn how your kefir grains work best and can vary the times and procedures accordingly.
      If the milk does start to separate in to curds and whey, just stir the whey back in or use the whey as a starter culture to ferment vegetables.
      The longer the kefir ferments the more sour it will become.
      It will continue to ferment very slowly after sieving, but will keep for several days in the fridge.
      Any milk can be used, but the healthiest option is to use fresh, raw, whole milk.
      There’s no need to wash the jar after each ferment, once a week is sufficient.

      • I holiday cultured food for Life website and started making kefir about six or eight months ago. I top off my smoothies with it in the morning and actually crave it. I do a first for meant like you said and the second ferment I do on the counter. Usually takes about 6 hours but I’m considering leaving it longer to use it more lactose. My husband was just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I’m following the doctor axe website in order to try to find out how to reverse the condition. I’m hoping that kefir is an allowable food since I’ve converted him to a juicer now!

    • Hi Karan,

      I also had the same experience when I started drinking 500ml of kefir *on top of my regular diet*, which, at the time, also included lots of starches like oatmeal and sourdough bread. Now I have cut out the starches, and use about 400-500ml of kefir with added cream as my entire lunch. My weight is back to normal and I don’t gain anything.

      So it could have been either that the kefir on top of the diet was simply providing me with too many calories, or that the rich fatty kefir in combination with all those starches was a recipe for disaster.

      Hope this provides some further clues 🙂

    • Full-fat milk does have a lot of calories, and despite what Paleo folks say about only consuming full-fat milk products, I don’t think it should apply to a fermented product like kefir. I use 1% milk in my kefir, only because I like to drink a lot of it, and it would be way too filling if I used full-fat milk. Despite what some hardcore, old-school Paleo people may tell you, fat IS fattening when consumed in amounts beyond what your body can use. When adding extra fat to your diet, some people will automatically reduce calories elsewhere, and that’s what we all hope for (and what we’ve been told would happen), but unfortunately it isn’t a guaranteed response. Trust me, I’ve been mostly Paleo since the mid 90s, and have experimented with low-carb/high fat since the 80s.

      I also recommend fermenting FULLY past the custardy stage until your kefir is quite sour (the sugars will be reduced considerably). At this point, the whey and the curds will be fully separated, and unless you blend them somehow, they will not be a smooth drink like the kefir you buy in the store. At this point you will also get a TON of probiotics from your kefir.

      • I just started making my own kefir and it is getting better and better each time. I use Kalona non-homogenized whole organic milk from grass fed cows. It is rich and yummy but it doesn’t feel like it is too filling. It feels nourishing and life-giving.

    • I have had candida issues.
      I started consuming kefir for 2 months before I developed problems. The symptoms started slow with stomach pain, then becoming acute within 3 weeks from the onset of the original pain. I asked many doctors and wasn’t finding an answer. The symptoms were consistent with gall stones or pancreatitis. An ultrasound and upper endoscopy revealed the only problem was an irritation to the lining of my stomach and an increased production of stomach acid.
      I now believe the stomach pain stemmed from a combination of two things, 1) Benadryl, that I had used for an extended period of time and 2) consuming kefir. I have had two people in the medical field tell me a potential side effect of kefir is that it relaxes the muscle closing the stomach off from the esophagus. As that muscle relaxes it allows stomach acid to travel up the esophagus more easily. I am finally healing, slowly, now that I have removed those two items from my diet. Just pulling one out or the other didn’t not have the same effect as eliminating both sources to the problem.
      I have now suffered for 4 months as I have tried to decipher the root of the acid reflux.
      I hope my experience helps others identify a stomach problem that may be caused by kefir. It was particularly hard to identify because the symptom development was gradual.
      I believe after I am well I could tolerate an occasional kefir consumption. Best of luck!

    • Hi Tony…did you get an answer to your question? I am intolerant to casein, but interested in kefir? Can casein intolerant people tolerate yogurt if they can tolerate kefir?

  7. Water kefir cannot be made with milk kefir grains. They are different than milk kefir grains. You should update the last paragraphs to reflect that. Just FYI.

  8. To stay on the Paloe die yet enjoy the nutritious benefits of Kefir you can just make water Keifer, which is what my family does.

  9. I started knowing about kefir a few years ago. I was suffering from ulcer then. A friend of mine introduced me to Kefir. She told me that it might help me with my health problems. SO I did tried it and loved not only its taste but also its effects on my body.

  10. Chris, you state that proteins are “partially” digested in kefir fermentation, other sites stated “completely” digested. This is important because I am casein sensitive. Would you recommend kefir to someone like me?

    • I am casein intolerant too, but can drink kefir (cows milk) with no problems. I would suggest you introduce it gradually. Or if you are still sensitive, try making it with goats milk

  11. Hello, I have severe RA, currently taking almuran an Humira. Why is it that after taking tibicos for 15 days I became sored and my inflammation got worst. I started taking 1/4 cup to 1 cup daily. It helped me in other issues, but for inflammation I’m not sure at this moment. Will you please

    • I have RA too & started taking water Keffir & it made the inflammation much worse. I can’t explain it, but I’ve stopped using it now.

      • Tibicos is a yeast based ferment as is kombucha.
        When kefir or tibicos are fermented in a non anaerobic environment yeast proliferates as can other mycotoxins.
        Best to alays avoid tibicos for those with serious inflammation and histamine intolerances.
        The beneficial way to ferment kefir is to use a strictly anaerobic vessel (mason jars are not anaerobic). I buy pickl-it jars. It changed my life and health to learn the safe way to ferment at home in a proper tool.
        Best wishes

  12. If I am fighting breast cancer naturally and had an IgG food sensitivity test done that showed goat, cow and sheep milk with a low sensitivity (1), do you think it still would be fine to try raw goat kefir a little at a time?

    • Well done you for resisting the conventional approach to the treatment of breast cancer, that must have taken great courage. The following is all my personal opinion and should not be taken as advice.

      The latest research indicates that cancer cells, unlike normal cells, depends on glucose for energy, so deprive them of that fuel source and they cannot survive. When kefir ferments, almost all the glucose in the form of lactose is consumed by the bacteria, so it should be safe for you to drink.

      The latest research has also uncovered the importance of a healthy gut microbiome to general health in so many ways it’s impossible to note here, but including the reduction of inflammation that can lead to cancer. Kefir is perhaps the probiotic with the highest number of different species of bacteria, plus yeasts, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, so it should probably be high on your list of priorities for defeating cancer naturally.

      Resistant starch is also currently a hot topic and, when added to kefir in the form of unmodified potato starch, it both feeds the healthy bacteria in the large intestine and enables more of the live bacteria in the kefir to reach the large intestine unscathed by the highly acidic environment of the stomach.

      I suggest you research all these topics and make up your own mind. Good luck.

    • Have you tried the armpit detox? Aluminum found in the deodorant can lead to breast cancer in some cases, you should detox your armpit and see if you can make your own deodorant as well… You can google the recipes for them, because it depends on your body if you want to use the recipes with or without baking soda. I hope this helps you as well 🙂

    • Pat, while I applaud your idea of a natural remedy, especially after watching the documentary forks over knives. I would also encourage you to consider your doctors protocol for treating your particular cancer. I am a stage 3 breast cancer survivor for 14 years. I did chemo, radiation, mastectomy and pills for 10 years. I have no regrets.
      I make a conscious effort to eat better than before and I will continue to do so.
      Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  13. After learning all the benefits to health of resistant starch, effectively a prebiotic, I’ve taken to adding a tablespoon of Bob’s Mill Potato Starch to a glass of raw milk kefir three times a day. It is said the kefir will bind to the starch so do that more will reach the colon alive. There, the starch provides fuel for the bacteria, which in turn produce fuel for other organisms that eventually produce short chain fatty acids including butyrate, which is the ideal fuel for the cells lining the gut. Other sources of resistant starch include raw potato, cooked and chilled potato, cooked and chilled rice and even plain popcorn, none of which are very Paleo, but nevertheless very welcome additions to the diet. Early days for me yet so haven’t formed any conclusions, but others may wish to try this for themselves – after doing your own research of course – start by reading the primer at the mighty blog freetheanimal.com.

  14. I’m reading alot about b vitamins and saw that kefir has lots of them. I read though that the b vitamins made by the bacteria in our guts is not bio-available for us and so my question is would this be the same for the b vitamins that are in kefir. My sources are Sarah Pope at thehealthyhome economist and Dr. Mercola.

  15. Sorry if this question has already been asked, but I was trying to read them all and there’s just way too many. I am trying to transition to a paleo diet for weight loss. I have been drinking a non-fat plain kefir daily for a few years and have been looking for a non-dairy option, but none of the health food stores in my area carry any. Your article said that kefir is still a good idea for paleo diets that can tolerate dairy. My question is: Will I still be able to lose weight if I’m not completely compliant with the diet? Kefir would be the only item I’d be non-compliant by using. I’ve seen plenty of options for making my own non-dairy version, but I am disinclined to try, so it’s either buy a pre-made option (which I cannot find), or go with the dairy version. FYI, I drink 4 oz/day, added to unsweetened pomegranate juice.

    • Look up thekefirlady.com , her kefir grains have over 50 different probiotics, many of which are capable of reaching all the way through the biome. We make our own kefir using goat milk, which is said to be better handled by the adult human digestive system (along with many other pluses!). Good luck!!

    • First, if you’re trying to lose weight, stop drinking NON-FAT dairy products (including kefir)! Switch immediately to WHOLE MILK products (including unsweetened whole milk kefir). Stripping out the fat from milk products just leaves carbs (which the body converts to glucose, which triggers the release of insulin, storing the calories as as fat), and protein (which converts to glucose if you eat more than you need). The whole non-fat craze is horrible and is a factor in for much of the weight gain and bloating this country has experienced over the past several decades.

      • Totally agree Nils

        In my own town I struggle to find a cafe that actually stocks whole milk now, they all only do skimmed, it’s an absolute outrage.

        I’ve taken to carrying my own raw milk with me, to add to coffee or tea, and I take create pride in wingeing about the lack of whole milk. Supply and demand sure, but things have got to change. It’s happening, but too slowly for my liking.

        I built a short email course about eating traditional foods, whole milk, kefir, offal, meat on the bone etc, amazing how many emails I get asking if they can use skimmed milk instead. NOOOO! is my retort 🙂

        Keep fighting the good fight!

  16. Dairy is the one thing that separates my partner and I from being true Paleo followers, as we derive too much nutrition and pleasure from consuming raw milk, raw cheeses, grass fed butter, yogurt and of course kefir, to give up this wonderful food group.

    We’re lucky to live within 20 miles of a farm selling possibly the best raw milk available anywhere – from grass fed Jersey cows – so every week we buy at least 16 litres (quarts). 7 of these are used to make kefir, of which we both have 250ml (one cup) first and last thing in the day; 2 are turned into yogurt, adding gelatin to provide a good set; 4 are mixed with Amazing Grass, Baobab powder, coconut oil and a raw egg for our daily green smoothies; 2-3 are used in our daily ‘fatty lattes’/’cocoaccinos’ (milk, filtered coffee/cacao powder, grass fed butter, coconut oil, gelatin and xylitol); and any remaining milk is allowed to sit on the countertop for a few weeks to separate into bonny clabber (like cream cheese) and whey, the latter being used to ferment vegetables using a K2 producing starter.

    We also make kefir from slightly sweetened, store bought coconut water and powdered kefir starter, the fermentation process turning the sugar into probiotics. Finally, we make kombucha using red bush tea as a base.

    We therefore receive a very wide range of probiotics plus other vital vitamins, enzymes, minerals and other nutrients from these various homemade, fermented foods and as a consequence we’re very much enjoying the health benefits they provide.

    • i have been doing kefir for over two years now…just milk from store tried the coconut milk one..was not fond of it. doing kraut and kombucha also. love kefir in my omelete makes the eggs so fluffy and light with minamal stiring. got my “IC” bladder disease totally under control. I can eat and drink a lot of foods that are taboo for that disease mainly cause i follow whole30 and been cleaning up my eating habits since 2000. i am 74 my hair is getting darker..my eye prescription had not changed in 7 years and my last visit it is a lover number..BUT still got an unsidedown brain..tires out and shuts me down. it is aweful

        • Follow these instructions to make kefir.
          1. Place 70g (2.5 ounces) grains in a one litre (one quart) glass jar.
          2. Fill with fresh, raw, whole milk.
          3. Cover with a lid or cloth.
          4. Leave for 24 hours at room temperature (20 degrees C, 68 Fahrenheit) or until whey starts to separate from the milk.
          5. Pour through a stainless steel sieve, gently rubbing the grains with a wooden spoon to separate out all the thicker kefir.
          6. Place 70g grains back in the jar.
          7. Refill with fresh, raw, whole milk.
          8. Stir, cap with a lid or cloth and leave for 24 hours as before.
          9. Drink kefir or keep in fridge.
          Do not heat the milk, room temperature is fine.
          The kefir grains will grow and as they do the kefir will take less time to ferment, so you can do two things:
          (a) place the fermenting kefir in the fridge to slow down the process to keep it in sync with your consumption, or (b) separate the grains into two and freeze half in a zip-lock bag, both to keep for yourself as a backup and to give to others who may wish to start making kefir.
          You will soon learn how your kefir grains work best and can vary the times and procedures accordingly.
          If the milk does start to separate in to curds and whey, just stir the whey back in or use the whey as a starter culture to ferment vegetables.
          The longer the kefir ferments the more sour it will become. It will continue to ferment very slowly after sieving but will keep for several days in the fridge.
          Any milk can be used, but the healthiest option is to use fresh, raw, whole milk.
          There’s no need to wash the jar after each ferment, once a week is sufficient.

      • I’m 69 and recently started culturing and drinking Kefir milk made with organic, while fat milk. I agree that it helps in many ways, but not with the brain fog which gets worse for some of us after 65. Maybe this has more to do with lack of mental stimulation and neurotransmitters. I’d rather get what I need from natural food sources but I’ve got my thoughts on that. Look back on your diet/lifestyle when you were in your 30’s. I know that there was more red meat eaten than these days and it was better quality, less costly, without being organic too. Now, I’m not eating much beef or lamb (expensive for good quality). Have you tried Bone Broth? It’s something worth researching: lean red meat and if it has any affect on brain health, neurotransmitters, etc.

    • Check out pickl-it.com. Anaerobic fermentation that is far better that old aerobic fermentation. I teach it all

  17. I was introduced to kefir after diagnosis of metastasised prostate cancer gave me a few months to live several years ago. We use raw milk kefir that we make plus take glyconutrients. Have not used conventional cancer treatment of chemo or radiation at all. Happy to answer any enquiry to help anyone. Kefir is amazing.

    • I am making kefir daily but I dont understand what glyconutrients are and why they help with cancer when most things point to sugar making cancer grow

      • Randy glyconutrients are not sugar as you see it but they are missing in our food these days glycans are directly tied to cellular communication which in our terms is immune system. You have my email so you are welcome to contact me direct I am not one on open discussion on someone else’s site. Look forward to helping you.

        • Hi Carlos

          I’m new to the whole kefir thing. I’ve been making my own for about three weeks with organic dairy milk. I have suffered with ulcerative colitis for several years. My question is should I be doing kefir with goats milk or cocount milk instead? I don’t have access to raw milk and goats milk is hard to find a well. I know dairy is a horrible inflammatory bht when I drink my kefir I feel fine . Just don’t know if I’m doing more damage . Any input is greatly appreciated

    • Carlos, I am very glad that it has helped you. Could you reply with your email address as my prostate concerns me, thanks!

      Jesus

    • My Dad had enlarged prostate for 20 years. His Dr. Inserted an I dwelling catheter. Has had it for about six- eight years. Each time they inserted a new cath every month, it became more difficult. Several years ago he was transported to the ER, because the poor nurse botched him so bad, he almost needed surgery. I don’t know if this will help you, I purched a led dollars light therapy unit. I actually got it for pain in his knee that was also botched by a poor surgery. I began putting the light on his bladder for spasms.MIRACLE! His prostate is no longer enlarged! That is the only difference I can figure. Get the one with the two panels. They are marketed mostly for wrinkles put are awesome for pain. I have no financial ties to this business. You can find them used on e bay. I hope this helps you are anyone else. Did great for bladder spasms also

      • What is the name of the light that you used for your father’s prostate problem? I want to help my father with the same problem.

    • Hello. I have breast cancer (trying hard to avoid chemo/surgery/radio but there’s a lot of pressure). Trying Kefir, among other things only for last 3 weeks and feel inclined to continue. It sounds as if you feel kefir has played a significant role in your better health. Is that right? Caron.

      • You can try Dim, IP6 innositol, Beta glucans by transfer point, tumeric, R lipoic acid, extra Vitamin D and C and 2 tblspoons flax seed daily in hot water with sml amt sugar. Drink when it cools. Heat destroys part that affects thyroid. Vitamin E the natural kind by Carlsens 400 IU and 200 mcg of selenium. Xango mangosteen juice for imflammation and pomegranate juice by fruit fast are great antioxidants. Healthy cells woman by enzamatic as well is good. Google Barley grass, organic, made in Pennsylvania called Barley Power. All in Bill Hendersens book Cancer Free. Best wishes to you!!!! Keifer is great too but I am having a reaction to the grass fed dairy.

    • How are you doing with your prostate cancer. I have stage 3 w/ PSA rising. I also am anemic. I haven’t has kefir for two yes though my wife makes raw cow or goat kefir. Do you think it can help mitigate metastasis? Are you now in remission. I would love to be able to justify having kefir to boost my immune system but Dr Kelly speaks against animal protein which includes eggs and milk. However if it is working for you I’d like to add it to my regimen. Thank you.

  18. I wouldn’t care if it made me constipated or not I would never give up my kiefer,I’m totally addicted to it,its my comfort food and my family and I have not even had a sniffle in years since I wasn’t making homemade kefirand not only that but I did not do any chemo or near that craziness after breast cancer and I haven’t had any problems because I just work on my immune system with Kiefer colostrum brown seaweed and all the glyconutrients

  19. I’ve given up woth kefir. I used it for a few months but got very constipated. I increased drinking pure water, I also cut back the fermentation time to just 12 hours, but the constipation continued.

    I stopped taking the kefir and drank lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice. That did the trick and my bowel movements have been as they were before using the kefir.

    Anyone experienced the same? But more importantly, why would I end up like that. Constipation was horrible, sore and my poo was dry. Can’t understand it as I have never had constipation in my entire life as I eat a good diet, drink lots of water.

    Anyway, words of warning. Kefir may not be all it’s touted to be.

    • Not everyone reacts to all things the same. Activia yogurt does the same thing to me, but I don’t have problems with other types. Some people eat an apple and are full. I eat an apple and I am in starvation mode. When it comes to food, you really need to find out what works for you.
      I have just started Kefir, so will keep an eye out for that problem.

    • Ground organic flax seed 2 tbsp in hot water with 1 tsp sugar, let cool and drink works wonders. Take with 8oz water to flush the flax seed through your system and don’t take within 2 hrs of meds or supplements

      • Kefir is thought to have originated in Turkey where Turkish women of antiquity would seek out ant colonies to harvest the ant eggs. The eggs were then immersed in raw milk after which the milk fermented and kefir was the result. It’s not known how important the ant eggs were to the fermentation, which might have begun due to the bacteria/yeasts present on the ant eggs rather than due to the eggs themselves. It could be that the ant eggs were the original target of the hunt and played a role in some ancient Turkish dish. The kefir might have been a happy – if unintended – consequence of the preparation methods of this “ant egg” dish. This legendary “origin” may date back as far as several thousand years. The kefir grains that are passed down in our time may be the result of many generations of grains that date back to this “ant colony” beginning.

  20. What is a good “dose” of Kefir to maintain healthy gut flora? Weekly? Daily? Every other day? My primary interest is to improve regularity, as I am naturally quite “sluggish”.

    I purchased the Lifeway plain unsweetened variety at the grocery store, which has one cup as the serving size. I eat mostly paleo 85/15 and have tried Kefir before and tolerate it well.

    • Store bought kefir only has around 6-12 beneficial bacteria and yeast in it, depending on the brand. They make it will powdered kefir starter, not real kefir grains. They isolate the strains they want in it. This way they are assured of a consistent product every time. When made with real kefir grains it will contain dozens of different varieties of beneficial bacteria and yeast. You’re better off making it yourself with full fat organic milk and real kefir grains. It’s very easy. Get some grains if you can. Try making coconut milk kefir too. It’s my favorite. Be sure to use coconut milk without any additives. Use the coconut milk that is meant for cooking, not the coconut milk meant for drinking.

      Regarding how often and how much….
      You should have some every day. Even twice a day. But you don’t need to drink a cup each time. Even a few tablespoons should be sufficient. Or more if you wish.

      I used to have a sluggish bowel too. My naturopath put me on high doses of magnesium glyconate for sore muscles and that did the trick for the sluggish bowel as well (in addition to milk/coconut milk kefir, kombucha, water kefir and fermented veggies made with milk kefir whey). Magnesium citrate works even better for a sluggish bowel. Just don’t take too much.

      Staying away from wheat and grains like you are doing helps as well.

      • Banana has sorted ‘my movement’ problem, liquidized with Kefir (grains and all) is a lovely smoothy! Wheat and sugar are poison. To everyone of a Paleo diet, note that life expectancy in those times were 38-45 years!

    • It took me 3-6 months of 1/2 cup of lifeway per day to finally heal chronic recurring infection (I needed antibiotics every few months for years with increasing frequency) and general malaise. The 3 month mark was where my symptoms were no longer felt, but sometimes I might notice them after a few days of forgetting kefir. The six month mark was where I no longer needed it to maintain good health, though I still drink it periodically and am now foraying into making it at home. I’ve been infection free for about five years since then–it’s magic. You definitely need to drink it daily over a sustained period though in order to both colonize your gut and kill off some of the bad things already in there (you may also experience a few days of bad bacteria die-off, or herxheimer sickness, in the beginning). 1/2 cup a day is an affordable, manageable dose that had huge quality-of-life-altering benefits for me.

  21. About Kefir, I find that I actually crave it some days. It really does make me feel good. I’ve noticed improved digestion, and a return of the creamy soft skin of my youth. (I’m still young at almost 50, but you know.)

    Also, since I’ve been drinking kefir I want nothing to do with anything sweet, including stevia which is all I keep in the house anymore. Maybe I’m wrong to attribute that change to the kefir, but it seems to have changed my very tastebuds. 😉 I’m thankful to have it.

    • The cure for a sweet tooth also lies in a Chromium suppliment, smoking inhibits the digestion of Chromium, so should take it. However, everyone I advised said: Why would I want to cure that!!!?

      • The only stevia I like is NuNaturals. I get it from iherb online in liquid form. It doesn’t have much of an aftertaste, depending on what you use it in. If you need a coupon for $10 off, PEY561 works.

      • Rather than stevia, which I find very unpleasant, use xylitol instead. It too is a natural sweetener made from birch bark that can be substituted one for one for sugar in everything except bread making, as it provides no food for the yeast. Xylitol is also actually good for dental health as it kills bad bacteria, which do feed on it but, again, it provides them with no food, so they die. Finally, it acts as a prebiotic, providing a food source for all your lovely kefir probiotics!

        • I like xylitol also. I make a carrot muffin with ground flax seed instead of flour. Then I ice it with cream cheese and xylitol which I powder in the food processor first. Only do it about once a year, but it makes a nice treat.

        • Xylitol can cause some ppl to have loose bowels so may not be an option. Use carefully. I have been taking antibiotics for rosacea for 10 yrs and there is no alternative except topical antibiotic which still gets into the body. Store-bought kefir has helped my digestion but 2.5 tsp of cane sugar per day is way too much. I’ve tried making my own but was not consistently successful. Will try again – am using dried grains.

          • I agree, it has done this for me. I cured my rosesea using Dim. 2-4 a day by naturesway. It gets rid of bad estrogen which causes it.

      • Hi Rebecca, I’ve tried numerous brands. Try Stevita. It’s mixed with burch and that counters the flavor. Also, try to minimize the amount you use as it’s 200 times sweeter than sugar. Best.

      • I love Trader Joe’s 100% pure organic stevia powder. Just be sure to use sparingly at first; it adds a lot of sweetness and when too much is added, it can add a bitter aftertaste to foods.

    • I too have noticed a lack of desire for sweets. I maintain a constant flow of raw cows milk Kefir in my diet. I have never felt better. I love, love, love my milk soda! I’m grateful for the gift of kefir grains given by a friend. A gift of good health.

    • If you are consuming store bought flavoured kefir, then yes, sugar content will be a great concern. Not only does this kefir contain a lot of sugar, it is also made with kefir starter, not kefir grains. Kefir made with starter only contains between 6-12 different varieties of beneficial bacteria and yeast. When made with grains it will contain dozens of different varieties of beneficial bacteria and yeast. When you make it yourself you can also control what kind of milk you use. Organic or raw, full fat is best. And you don’t need to consume huge amounts of kefir to get the benefits. 1/4-1/2 cup, once or twice a day is plenty. Some people like it so much and will consume more. If you’re struggling with losing weight I suggest consuming less.
      It’s easy to make your own kefir and very economical. I like to add it to my morning green smoothie. Flax and chia seed, kefir, coconut oil, greens, a bit of frozen or fresh fruit and water. When using berries I sometimes add a date or bit of honey, as berries aren’t very sweet. And I usually have a small amount after dinner.

      • Have you posted the recipe for homemade Coconut milk Kefir somewhere? I am Paleo but really want to add Keifer to my daily meal plan. I’m super sick of eggs/meat and such for breakfast and a smoothie with Keifer sounds perfect. I’ve never made kefir before so super simple instructions would be great.

  22. In relation to probiotic consumption already a few months straight, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, beet kvass (now discovered a Russian drink and easy to do). More to wanting to stop a while with probiotics and stay only in the resistant starch feeding my bacteria. Can I do this or we need to continue with probiotics?

  23. Great Day Everyone! I’m Sandra, I’ve been an loyal reader of this site and one of my favorite topic about the site is about kefir, as I’m using this stuff.

    Currently, I have a blog that about kefir, which tells the stories and experience related to kefir. I just want to share it to some useful information to kefir lovers. I’d like to share out:

    http://www.benefitsofkefir.com/what-is-kefir/

    Feel free to share it. =)

  24. Hi every body,
    Diet is not about losing weight, it’s about eating right. Read Grain Brain and you will understand Paleo Diet. Sugars cause inflammation, which ages us. Marketing is damage you up. A slice of whole wheat bread is probably the worst thing you can put in your mouth. It’s about putting gas in your engine, not diesel. And yes arthritis is gone, the bags under my eyes are gone and as a side effect, went from 180 to 152. Don’t knock it till you try it. And you have to put the alcohol away.I used to have big problems with lose weight tips, but am getting in better shape now. Here’s a good site I found that really helped. It gave me great methods and and showed me what I was doing wrong before…there’s even lots of free articles on the site…http://www.cavediet.net

  25. I cannot stress the importance of fermented food, the best being Kefir. Do some research on FMT (Fecal Microbiota Transplant). Recently an adult patient suffered from antibiotic resistance ‘dysentery’ and received ‘flora’ from her 14 year old obese daughter! Surprise surprise, her gut ‘settled down’ but she immediately started gaining weight! This means that microbiota plays a bigger role than diet in determining obesity!
    My contention is that with inadequate flora colony, food is not properly digested, causing ‘cravings’, hence malnutrition leading to obesity, diabetes and other diseases such as colorectal cancers, spastic colon and even hemorrhoids.
    So, go get your Kefir NOW!!! and also try making your own Kimchi or saurkraut!
    Good luck and good health…

      • Suzanne,

        Not all fermentation results in formation of histamines. The mesophillic bacteria such as lactoccous lactis commonly used in cheese and mesophillic fermented milk not only DO NOT produce histamines, they are used to PREVENT histamine formation in fermented foods like cheese. Furthermore, lactococci synthesize vitamin k2 and also produce nicin which inhibits pathogenic bacteria.

        Yogurt, by definition, is made with thermophillic bacteria which are not known to produce vitamin K2. Thermophillic bacteria such as lactobacillus casei do produce histamines and donot produce vitamin K2.

        Kefir is often made with yeast and mesophillic bacteria such as lactocooci. If you make your kefir with ONLY mesophillic bacteria and avoid the thermophillic bacteria you don’t need to worry about histamines.

        • Thanks for your reply Jack,
          How would I know which bacteria are present in my mother culture (or grains)? – I have no idea. I also make it with raw milk. What about the kombucha – is it the same for that – in which case, again, how will I know. thanks

          • Suzanne,

            After further thought I have to agree that there is really no way to know what types of bacteria and yeast are in any particular type of kefir.

            I read a little more about histamines in an article which stated that kombucha, sauerkraut and “most cheeses” produce histamines. According to what I read, however, cheese made with lactococci inhibits histamines.

            I tried kefir years ago but I have not consumed either kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut . My fermented food of choice is raw milk fermented cheese from pastured cows which I have consumed regularly for many years because of the vitamin K2 content. The half dozen types of cheese I get are all made with lactococcus lactis which produces vitamin k2 and inhibits histamines.

            I have recently started making clabber from raw milk which should also contain the lactococci that make vitamin K2 and inhibit histamines. The source on lactococci inhibiting histamines follows:

            “Two bacteriocin-producing enterococci and a nisin-producing Lactococcus lactis strain were employed as starters in separate cheese-making experiments. Outgrowth of histamine producer Lactobacillus buchneri St2A,which was added to the milk at levels of up to 190CFU/ml,was almost completely inhibited. No histamine formation was detected in the cheese smade with bacteriocin-producing starters” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1388823/pdf/hw1178.pdf

          • Hi, I am new to making kefir. Could someone advise where I can obtain milk kefir grains. I live in Mauritius.
            Thanks
            Ben Atchia

            • Hi Ben
              Did you manage to find milk kefir grains in Mauritius?
              I am also I search of them for my parents. I may need to bring some from Australia if I can.
              Andora

              • Hi Andora,
                I am in contact with Sandra from Dom, South Australia. I am expecting the arrival of the dry kefir grain by post this week or early next week. It’s been posted since 2-Oct-15.
                Thanks and regards,
                Ben.

      • Fermented foods cause the reaction (I know because it happened to me). I kept on with my regimen of cleansing and drinking kefir and kombucha and all reaction stopped. It was healing me.

  26. Good day to you!

    My name is Giselle, and I’ve been an avid reader of this site for quite some time now. I love this post about kefir, as I’m a big fan of the stuff. Currently, I’m working on a blog called Your Kefir Source, which serves as a guide on all things related to kefir. I think I have something that will be a good fit for your site, as well as useful to your readers, and for that, I’d like to reach out:

    http://www.yourkefirsource.com/the-dangers-of-kefir-none/

    It talks about the “dangers” of kefir, which is something that you can add to this post. What do you think? 🙂

    Giselle

  27. Does anyone (Chris?) know if casein is affected in any way during the fermentation process? I don’t have A2 cows milk available and I really don’t like goat milk (too goaty tasting!).

    I recently viewed a uTube video and the guy was saying that milk kefir has no lactose and casein. I have never heard of this before and I just don’t believe it. I know that a lot of the lactose is converted to lactic acid and other essential amino acids during fermentation, but how much really depends on how long you ferment. It wouldn’t be all of it. So, my question is, what happens, if anything, to the casein. I suspect nothing….

    TIA for any knowledgable replies!

    • Part of the fermentation is where the whey seperates from the casein leavin the casein on top. Apparently this can break down further.

      But the longer the fermentation the harder to digest the proteins. Cant remember where i read this but milk proteins have a sedative effect. This isnt a problem but drinkin pint fulls of the stuff might not be recommended in case ur issue is digestion and not allergy

    • You mentioned that you didn’t like the flavor of goats milk. Goat milk for me has always had a strange flavor that I didn’t like. I am now making my own kefir using raw goats milk. I do a second fermentation which involves removing the grains after 24 hr and then adding fruit. After the 2nd fermentation the sourness and flavor is mellowed. I served my 2nd fermented goat milk kefir with mango the other day to friends who pretty much live on restaurant food and they loved it. They had no idea it was made with goat milk.
      Having said that, I am aware that the flavor of goat’s milk can be affected by what they eat. Maybe I’m just lucky and have found a really good source of milk.

  28. Hello!
    Love your article.

    I benefited greatly from drinking kefir; chronic fatigue, brain fog, etc. So I created a website ( xeniawordart.wix.com/healthypakistan#!buy-kefir/c1d1q ) to distribute my excess grains.

    May I use this article (embed or quotes) for my website, with attribution?

    Thanks!

  29. I love kefir, but I found there a few days that I am lactose intolerant, and I’m now afraid to go take it. Anyone here have this problem. I do not know what to do.
    I await a response. grata
    Isabel

    • Why do you say “a few days of lactose intolerance”, that sounds a bit strange.

      It could be just the kefir stirring up any bad bacteria in your gut. Apparently if you dont have that right balance of gut bacteria, your body finds sugars hard to digest, including lactose and wheat products, which produces intolerances.

      Maybe you need more gut balancing, with magnesium and B vitamins, lemon juice in mornings etc, but I wouldnt give up on the kefir.

    • In the fermentation process, the kefir buds act as a sponge to the milk: they filter it, converting the lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid and other amino acids, freeing the final product (the kefir you ingest) of the lactose. This means that the remaining kefir should be 100% lactose free.

      Nevertheless, this depends on the fermentation time, and correct treatment and conditions (such as never using any tools made of metal while handling the kefir, like spoons or covers).

      I hope this helps. I would recommend you to read something about this and get better informed about the chemical processes that occure during fermentation before trying, just in case 😉 Please, if someone thinks I’m giving wrong information, correct me. Those are just the conclusions I have drawn from reading many cientific articles about kefir 😉

  30. Can anyone tell me if the sugars in flavored kefir (i.e. Strawberry Kefir) counteracts the benefits of kefir? I bought some Lifeway Strawberry, and wondering if I am doing more harm than good by drinking sugar. Thanks.

    • It doesn’t counteract the kefir benefits, but you are taking in a lot more sugar than necessary (I used to feed this to my kids when they were little 30 years ago and they begged for it). You’d be better off purchasing plain kefir and blending it with berries (and a bit of honey if necessary). Better yet, make your own kefir! It’s really easy. I’ve been doing it for years. Also, most of the kefir you purchase in the store is made from powder, not grains. It only has around 6-8 different probiotics in it. Kefir made from grains has dozens of varieties of beneficial bacteria and yeast (probiotics).

  31. QUESTION – Hi folks,…do any of you have any experience of type 2 diabetes…and any beneficial effects on that condition that were produced by kefir. ? thankyou

  32. A glass of Kefir can be taken after every meal. There is n harm. Pectin is a natural product from the white flesh of citrus fruits. It is quite nuetral and used as a ‘thickener’, no problem also…

  33. How much kefir daily is beneficial? I’ve been searching for this info with no luck. Currently, I’m adding 1/4c to my morning smoothie. Thoughts?

    • To poster “Working it” in response to your question about how much kefir to drink.

      I think you will get a good and comprehensive answer to your question on the following link, and BTW that is a really great site about all aspects of kefir and similar fermented products. http://www.yemoos.com/faqmhealth.html

      This is what they say,…quote…

      “How much kefir should I drink?

      It’s smart to start anything new in small amounts, kefir being no exception to that rule. You may drink as much as you wish eventually, being reasonable. Ask yourself how much milk you would normally consume in a day, making sure not to leave out other important foods or meals. A usual amount is around 1-4 cups daily. Balance is key to good health. Some people struggle with it at first possibly because of its acidic nature, carbonation, alcohol, or large population of probiotics (or any combination of those). It is a wise idea in this case to take it slowly to let your body and digestion get acquanted with it. Start with 1/8 cup a day (you can even mix this into a full glass of water or fruit juice at first), then gradually increase to 1/4 for a week or so (maybe skipping a few days here and there to give your body a break). Most people find it helps to first try your kefir with meals, such as a little with breakfast. After a week or two, try increasing it again in this fashion until you gradually reach amount you wish to consume. Kefir can be used medicinally in large amounts for a short period if desired (such as after chemo-therapy, where 4 cups a day may be helpful). Following the advice of others, we typically give ourselves a break once a week or so, where we do not consume kefir for atleast 1 day. It’s never a great idea to eat the same thing continually without a break (just like its never recommended to exercise continually without a break – the body needs time for recovery and variety). Even in Tibet there’s a belief that it’s best to drink only 2 cups a day and after 20 days take a 10 day break, completely abstaining from kefir.”

    • I drink 1 cup a day at dinner time , I make strawberry smoothy with it .. You can have up to 3 cups a day.. but one cup a day is sufficient..

  34. Some have asked questions about temperature and time. The different bacteria, yeasts and moulds in Kefir (as many as 40) all have temperature preferences and together with time will affect the taste. My friend ‘brews’ his Kefir at room temperature (21C) for 24 hours, strain and refrigerate to use during all 3 meals on day two. His is quite acidic. I strain in the morning and drink all for breakfast. Then I add milk and leave in the refrigerator till late afternoon when I remove it to ‘brew’ overnight. Mine tastes rather cheesy and I prefer it like that. Experiment as you like as Kefir is hard to kill (can even freeze or freeze-dry it) and at all temperatures, all of your ‘planets’ creatures will survive and thrive in your digestive tract. You should also eat some of the grains, once a week or so… Good health starts with Kefir!!!

  35. New here. I am a few days into a grain free, low carb, medium protein, and high fat diet(close to a ketogenic diet). I have my own small herd of pastured dairy goats. I drink the milk raw. I also make raw yogurt, cheese, and kefir. Is the kefir acceptable on this kind of eating plan? Any thoughts on the other raw goat milk products I have? Thank you!

        • Kristy,
          Not only would it be acceptable but could prevent some of the rare but potentially harmful bacteria that naturally proliferate in raw dairy products from making you ill. Kefir grains are composed of harmless and beneficial bacteria which kill off other bacteria thereby allowing raw milk to be more or less shelf-stable at room temperature for several days. Additionally there is emerging although not definitve evidence backing the assertions made above that some of these bacteria may reduce inflammation. Ultimately though what you choose to put in your body should be determined by your preferrences, budget, and how your body responds. No external “rules” should trump those factors.

        • Hi all, just to weigh in on the kefir debatetmy family (including 3 young children) and I have been having milk kefir daily for 3 years now. I bought our ‘grains’ from Dom in Adelaide, Australia, also available from website, Dom (users.sa.chariot.net) will post to anywhere in world.
          We are still using the origibal ‘grains’ and all of us love the taste. I have given many kefir ‘babies’ to friends and family and the daily consumption has reduced my fathers need for type 2 diabetic medication (we are all also paeleo eaters).
          My husband is lactose intolerant but has no negative effects from milk kefir.
          How I prepare
          1. Put 2 tbsps grains in 3 1/2 cups of full fat A2 milk (this is how much we drink daily 1 cup for adults 1/2 for kids) in large glass jar
          2. Leave for 24hrs in cool dark place lid ajar (to ferment)
          3. Strain liquid kefir from ‘grains’
          4. Put strained liquid kefir in glass airtight jar leave for 24hrs (to ripen)
          5. Repeat 1-5 indefinitely (taking 2 tbsp from top of strainer ever 3-5 days the grains will multiply either eat or share)
          6. Pour strained ripened liquid kefir into cup ready to drink or put in a blender add frozen mango, berries or banana, 1 tsp chia seeds per cup, 2 tsp coconut oil, mix & drink straight away
          Delicious!
          Happy drinking & check out Dom’s site for tips & facts

          • Do you refrigerate step 4? I have been making kefir now for about 5 weeks. I notice a very strong yeasty smell. Do you notice that at all?

            • Some have asked questions about temperature and time. The different bacteria, yeasts and moulds in Kefir (as many as 40) all have temperature preferences and together with time will affect the taste. My friend ‘brews’ his Kefir at room temperature (21C) for 24 hours, strain and refrigerate to use during all 3 meals on day two. His is quite acidic. I strain in the morning and drink all for breakfast. Then I add milk and leave in the refrigerator till late afternoon when I remove it to ‘brew’ overnight. Mine tastes rather cheesy and I prefer it like that. Experiment as you like as Kefir is hard to kill (can even freeze or freeze-dry it) and at all temperatures, all of your ‘planets’ creatures will survive and thrive in your digestive tract. You should also eat some of the grains, once a week or so… Good health starts with Kefir!!!

    • I am Acupuncturist and in my opinion you should not drink raw milk, instead drink the kefir made by your milk.
      You will feel very well

      • After drinking Kefir, raw milk is fully digestible (no more lactose intolerance) and Kefir bacteria will destroy harmful bacteria…

    • Kefir can work with any diet plan as it simply restores the biome in your digestive tract. Even vegans can use soya or rice milk or even water (with glucose, fructose or honey). Sucrose is a drug and a poison (avoid it in any diet).

  36. I had tried the milk kefir and I loved it, but I am lactose intollerate and it did not work for me. I am so glad I found water kefir grains at “Culture for Health”. I am making so much natural probiotic water and I flavor it with vanilla. I am passing it to so many of my friends and they love it as well. I love the water kefir just as much and my grandkids love the water, too. They were not fond of the milk kefir, however. So now the water kefir works for everyone.

      • Kefir or raw milk will ‘heal’ lactose intolerance as it will supply the enzymes to digest milk. Kefir grains can be used in any milk (soya, rice, etc) or even in water with honey, fructose or glucose. Avoid sucrose (refined sugar) like poison…

      • Carly, you can make milk kefir using coconut milk (and other non dairy milks, but coconut if my favorite alternative). It is a treat! Just be sure to get coconut milk that doesn’t have any additives. The ones that do just don’t come out as well. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada and the one I get here is Aroy-D. Be sure to get the full fat one, not “Lite”. You must rest the milk kefir grains in lactose containing milk in between batches though, or over time they will stop growing and eventually die.

        We love our water kefir and kombucha too. All of these ferments have different probiotic profiles and IMO milk kefir is the healthiest one. I used to be lactose “sensitive” before I started drinking milk kefir, but over time I became less so. Now I can tolerate some.

        Hope this is helpful to you!

    • Water kefir rocks! Homemade kefir is the only way to go, so much more potent, no weird extra stuff added, dirt cheap!

  37. If someone is wanting more information about Kefir I recommend Dom’s website. It is quite extensive but he is like the God of Kefir to people that know about Kefir. Also if you need a site to buy the Kefir “grains” The Kefir Lady is an excellent source. They arrive very healthy. The ones I have had for three years are from her and somehow actually are from Dom’s Kefir. A word of warning: when you first drink your home made Kefir just drink a small about and then increase it gradually. You stomach has needs to get used to this miracle drink. I use regular whole milk pasteurized and homogenized because I live in Texas and if you don’t know a private dairy it is impossible to buy raw milk at the store. A friend of mine that is in grad school at UT studying medical research says they have been researching the connection of Kefir and cancer. She makes her own Kefir and would not be without it. I am so much healthier now.

  38. -Cancer study seems useless (observed effect due to cancer promoting grain diet in control group, rather than cancer fighting properties in kefir).
    -K2-MK7 from fermentation is not very useful.

    Otherwise nice article 🙂 Thanks.

    • Cancer is linked directly to an acidic tract from modern lifestyle (including stress). Fresh fruit for breakfast – or – a teaspoon of Bicarb in 2L water can alkalize the digestive tract and prevent and even cure cancer, and so can Kefir (for the same reason)…

  39. I have been told one should not take kefir for more than 6 months at a time…..is this true ? I feel so well on it and have taken it for over a year .

  40. Hi Chris, for someone trying to lose weight, will you recommend homemade kefir with low/non fat milk or continue to stay with full fat dairy milk? Is one cup per day on long term going to hinder weight loss? Thank you!

    • I am trying to loose weight: kefir made with semi skimmed goat milk will have the same quality nutrients except less fat.

      nandan

      • if you’re trying to lose weight, worry less about the fat and more about the sugar content. The fat isn’t the issue. It’s about sugar and how that affects your body.

      • The restoration of you digestive tract will cancel the effects of previously taken antibiotics, often the cause of obesity. Kefir will enable your system to digest and supply your body with viatl vitamins, minerals and trace elements that previously bypassed causing ‘cravings’. It will also slow your metabolism to get much more nutrients from less food. A glass of Kefir in the morning will still your hunger for up to 5 hours. Try to have only fruit for breakfast as it alkalizes your tract. and try to skip breakfast altogether every second day as there are tremendous benefits in a half day fast. You may eat more on the next day but 60% plus 110% is still a 15% a day reduction in food and a much more natural and healthy diet. Never eat any wheat products or refined sugar, replace with root veg (potato/sweet potato) and honey. Eat protein in moderation: 1 gram per kg body mass, the rest is waste. Don’t worry about fats but about grain oils: Coconut oil for high heat frying, ghee for cooking, olive oil for salads; are the best. Good luck…

    • I purchase unpasteurised milk direct from the farm, bring it to a boil at home, cool to room temperature before stirring in the kefir. Lost 5kg without cutting food intake over 2 months. Kefir bacteria loves the fat in the milk. So just leave it to ferment a bit longer so the fat content is reduced naturally.

  41. I have a food sensitivity to yeast. I’ve been making my own coconut milk kefir for quite some time now with no reactions, that I know of. I also have Leaky Gut. Should I not eat kefir? I would think the good outweighs the bad for me.

    • I had diverticulosis for at least 60 years, went to at least 6 of the best gastroenterologist in a major city, they stucked tubes in both directions, gave me antibiotics for the flare ups of diverticulitis. Some months ago I began making and drinking my raw milk kefir from grass fed cows for good health, to my surprise no more sacs (I had many as evidenced by my colonoscopies results), none of the geniuses ever told me of this natural food and the potential benefits because as the physicist Dr Robert C Beck used to say: a patient cured is a customer lost. I also have been making Dr. Johanna Budwig’s Cottage cheese flax seed “yogurt” daily for 1-1/2 years.
      For many years I almost had panic attacks because of the diverticulitis flare ups which I did not know of, but I believed every time I had colon cancer so in 2 months I would die, finally a 22 year old PA told me to increase the intake of veggies = fiber = no more flare ups/panic attacks

  42. Has Lifeway original nonfat kefir stopped including FOS as an ingredient? It is no longer listed as an ingredient on the side of the bottle. My doctor recommended the brand years ago because of the inclusion of FOS. The bottle used to state FOS/inulin, and now it just says inulin. Thanks for your help.

  43. There are so many right-wing fundalists espousing their short-sighted lack of knowledge. It’s pathetic! I’m thankful that they’re only loosing up their home-schooled kids’ gray matter. I came to this site to learn about kefir — not the evolution controversy.

  44. I have been making my own milk kefir for a couple of months now and it has really helped my reflux and gastritis, and a surprising benefit is increased libido and general energy levels. I now drink 2 large glasses a day and feel great on the stuff!

      • I have been making my own Kefir for almost three years now with the same “grains”. I was having all kinds of health issues like Candida and IBS. I was making my own yogurt but having no relief. After a few days on Kefir I do not have these problems. I make smoothies with Kefir, bananas, papaya, Kale, Sweet Leaf Stevia and a little ice. I use my local store bought whole milk that is pasteurized and homogenized and they seem to love it. I wish I was able to use raw milk but not available in Texas. You need to taste it to check on the sourness. I have found now I like it just plain. When you find out it is so good for you, you will love the taste and the yeast smell. I just had a bone density test done and the doctor said I am fine and I feel great at 72.

      • Re getting rid of (or used to) the sour taste. Do some online research on how people make their kefir and you’ll see that many suggest a ‘second ferment.’ They mean that after you have seen the separation of some whey from the milk you’ve added to kefir-grains, strain the grains out of the fermented milk product. Leave the fermented out at room temperature, with the jar covered with a paper or fabric towel. I usually leave the kefir out for another 24 hours or so. It seems to me that the ‘second ferment’ smooths out and softens the flavor. That said, I find that the flavor and texture of my kefir may be different on one day than another, even though I used the same kind of milk and techniques. And I have no idea why that might be.

  45. Wondering if someone could comment on using water kefir vs mllk kefir grains ? Does it have the same nutritional benefits?

    • I love the water Kefir but from what I can tell it does not have as many benefits. I buy mine at Whole Foods for a treat because I do not drink sodas.

  46. I was wondering if milk kefir disrupted hormones the same as normal milk does (coming from a lactating animal)?

    Thanks.

  47. Thanks for the article. Please be aware that most kefirs, including ALL of Lifeway’s, are made with powdered milk.
    Yep, folks, that’s that second ingredient, usually listed as, “nonfat milk.” They are not required by law to list it as milk powder, which, according to Sally Fallon and others, is heated to very high temperatures, denatured, and toxic. Many dairy products include nonfat dry milk, including some yogurts, most kefirs (not Redwood goat), most cottage cheeses, and more. The only way to find out is to call each company and keep digging until you reach someone who actually knows. I did this with Lifeway.

    • Wow, thanks for posting. I make my kefir with either Organic Pastures raw milk or low heat pasturized milk (Clover, Trader Joe’s Cream Stop which is Straus). I’m in California. Organic Pastures has a raw milk SKIM kefir. So add cream (preferably raw) to make it more nutrient-dense.

    • In the early seventies I could get a powdered milk from the health food store that was more the consistency of talcum powder and was difficult to mix. It had to be put into a jar with water and shaken a lot (couldn’t afford a blender at the time). It tasted much more like natural milk and seemed creamier though I thought it was no fat. It did not have the ‘burnt’ flavour powdered milk seemed to have. And it was far cheaper than fresh milk and tastier I thought.

      Haven’t been able to find it since then. It would make a great Kefir, I suspect, as it did make a great yoghourt.
      Namaste and care,
      mhikl

  48. How much B12 is in Kefir. I use raw Guernsey milk from grass-fed cows. I’m vegetarian, so looking for B12 sources.Thanks.

  49. I’ve recently started fermenting milk kefir, but I’ve been brewing water kefir for over a year now. We love it, and it’s replaced soda in our home! I wonder if water kefir would satisfy those following a paleo diet, while still providing those healthy benefits.

  50. I’ve been drinking a cup or two of homemade kefir a day. How would I calculate that in terms of protein requirements? I’m not able to eat to satiety – I’m a formerly obese woman with a history of eating disorders, and must calculate a lot of what I eat. Would about 6 ounces of animal protein per day along with two cups of kefir be sufficient in terms of protein?

    Thanks very much.

    • 6 Ounces (170 grams) of protein is more than sufficient. The body only requires 1 gram per kg body mass. The excess is not as much of a problem as the remainder will just go to waste. Kefir taken daily, fresh fruit (only) for breakfast (to alkalize the body) and NO breakfast every second day, will reduce obesity, cure diabetes and prevent any chance of any cancer. Do not touch all wheat products and all sugars. Eat as fresh as possible greens, herbs and fruit and try to take garlic, ginger, chili, turmeric and cinnamon every day. Grated Ginger tea is the best pain killer on the market and Turmeric (with or without honey) makes the best poultice for any cut, abrasion, pussy sore or even spider bites and boils. Honey on a plaster on a fresh (washed) cut that would even require stitches will draw the cut closed and heal it with almost no scar within a week! If the cut is on a joint, immobilize the joint for the first 2 days with a lolly stick, pencil, ruler or piece of light timber. I pray for your good health!

      • Please don’t give anyone hope that doing something will prevent all cancer. That is an obvious over-dramatization of how you feel about it, and I couldn’t just let that be said without calling you out on it. Nothing in this world will “prevent any type of cancer”.

        The rest I agree with.

        • Cancer is a modern day disease, did not exist in Japan during early 20th century, nor did coronary disease and diabetes. Kefir is the first step towards a healthy body ‘biome’. Everyone with cancer has found that their digestive tract is acidic rather than alkaline. Taking only fresh fruit for breakfast alkalizes the body and prevents and even cure cancer but must be seen, like Kefir, as one of many better lifestyle choices. Avoid ALL wheat products, boiled potato or sweet potato are much better sources of carbo. Avoid sugar as the most often used ‘addictive drug & poison’ on the market. Avoid ALL bottled drinks as these are saturated with sugars and preservatives and are mostly void of fiber and high in acid! Take only 1 gram of protein per kg body mass, more is waste. Stir-fry is the best meal after salad, Avoid processed food like the plague, eat fresh, preferably home grown, veg, fruit and herbs. Work garlic, ginger, chili, turmeric and cinnamon into your diet. Use coconut oil for high-heat frying, ghee for cooking and olive oil for salads. We must all die but better living is victory already!!!

        • i not so sure about that – cancer – i feel – can be prevented in many cases – if kefir helps then – that is fine with me. but to say that cancer cannot be prevented – well that may be a little over the top.

  51. Hi, I use some Kefir and Whey sometimes in Enema and i’m sure it gives me stomach pain and gas. am i uses too much? usually use 1/2 cup in a quart of water

  52. I have developed SIBO since starting to drink water kefir. Could the kefir have been the cause or is it just coincidence? I was having reflux initially, which the kefir helped with. Then I started getting some gas after drinking it for a month or so. So I went off it. Now I’ve developed fructose malabsorption. I don’t know what to do now

  53. Our household has become obsessed over the past month since we started making and taking kefir. One question for people is whether the probiotic bacteria eventually colonises in your gut, and then there’s less need to keep taking it, or does this become a life-long addition to the diet?

    For anyone interested, here’s more information about the history of kefir and an overview of some of the science that’s emerging about it.

    http://www.healthygutbugs.com/kefir-wonder-beverage-ancient-world/

  54. I have an autoimmune condition that has gone into remission some months after I adopted an anti-inflammatory diet. I’m very much into healing my gut flora and eat sauerkraut and make my own beet kvass. I would like to drink kefir – it means re-introducing dairy into my diet, which I am not so worried about…. but I’ve been reading a lot about how important it is to keep our bodies slightly alkaline. Dairy makes us acidic – what are your thoughts on this? is it ok if you balance it with eating lots of green veggies etc.?

    • To alkalize the body eat only fruit for breakfast. Or steep chunks of a lemon in a quart (2l) of water overnight and add a little honey after removing the chunks of lemon, drink only this during the day. An easier alternative to lemon chunks is a teaspoon of Bicarb.

  55. I am wondering is it possible to use low fat organic milk to make Kefir and if so are the health benefits the same or equal to

    • You can use any type of milk to make kefir, even non mammal milks. So, yes, you can use low fat milk.

      Lower fat, though tends to mean a more sour and less thick kefir. The fat helps to make it more mild and it helps to tone down the tartness. Also, less fat = more lactose, if that is a concern for you.

      In any case, it will work and happy kefiring!

  56. OK to include 4 oz of kefir in my daily green smoothie while on the 30 day reset? I think I remember Chris said it was ok for me two years ago, but want to make sure so I don’t mess up my reset.

  57. It was great to see you in Manhattan Beach on your book tour. I just want to thank you for your committment to provide clear health information to the public. When one is trying to uplevel their health and there is so much information that doesn’t agree, it’s nice to read blogs like yours where you take the time to unravel the truth. Like Kefir. I had cut out all dairy, but now I am going to add Kefir in because I have gut issues and I actually think it might be good.

  58. I have a blood clot in my lower leg (superficial, not. DVT) & my NP has me on 4,000 fu’s of Nattokinase/ twice a day for six months. The Vit K2 has been removed. I love Keifer, califlower, Brie & Gouda cheese but they are high in Vit. K2. I am Paleo plus dairy.

    One related question: I have whacked out blood pressure. I was athletic & healthy at 59 ( saying I was 27 since that’s how old I felt) until 3 yrs ago when my GP put me on low dose cortisol to bring up my low-normal Free T3 hormone. I was on 60 mg of Armour for 2 yrs prior & feeling great! I didn’t use my best judgement & took it. Two months later I became extremly anxious, w/ blood pressure going higher all the time. I nearly died from the Meds, was bedridden a year living on only 3 protein shakes a day from the drugs given to control my Hypertension. All my systems were affected. My heath & life as i knew it, has been gone for 3 years now. A integrative NP has brought me a long way in the last year. If my blood pressure was controlled I could become active again & possibly avoid clotting w/ the eventual getting off BP meds. Now that I can’t use K2, I feel lost to get myself out of this scary scenario. Any suggestions, if this was your wife???

    Thank you for any guidance you could offer. I have no where else to turn to for help. BAtW, congratulations on your excellent work & new book!

    What else would you take if this was you to keep the calcification out of where it doesn’t belong & into the bones & teeth, without causing overly blood thinning, which is my NP’s concern?

  59. Thanks for this well researched article on kefir. I shared it with my readers. I’m over here in Laos trying to follow a healthy “semi paleo” diet. Unfortunately, the only milk available is boxed UHT milk. My kefir grains seem to be doing well, so I continue to make it and drink it. Hoping to get my own goat someday.

  60. my son has milk allergies. He seems to be growing out of this allergy since he can now eat processed food with milk in it. Can I find a non-dairy product or do I have to make it? Also this article says it helps with allergies. Does that mean this too may help with my sons allergy to dairy? I’m just now doing some research about kefir so any additional information would help

    • You can make non dairy kefir if you need to. You can use coconut milk, almond milk, etc. If you are using live grains, you will want to periodically put them back in mammal milk to keep them healthy (every 2 or so batches they should go back into cow’s/goat’s etc).

      If your son is lactose intolerant, he may be able to drink kefir because the grains actually eat the lactose in the milk as their food. Many people who have lactose issues have successfully been able to consume kefir (or raw milk, but that is another story altogether!).

      If your son has dairy allergies, it is probably best to steer away from dairy so as not to cause any adverse reactions.

  61. I would like to know if a dairy intolerant person could benefit from milk kefir. We already use water kefir. Do you think that a dairy intolerance can be healed – I know that the gut health needs healing, but can kefir milk aid in that? Also how can you sort out an egg intolerance? Paleo without egg is very difficult. Am I destroying the gut further by using egg in hidden forms like baking?

  62. I ferment my Kefir for 48 hours and it is wonderfully sour, just curious if anyone knows whether he carbs are reduced in the fermentation process and if so by how much? I use full fat raw milk.

  63. Does anyone know/experience whether kefir has helped them in lowering cholesterol. I am pre-diabetic with cholesterol of 220+.

    Thanks.

    • Lowering serum cholesterol? Research shows that taking kefir has little or no effect on cholesterol levels Info from medical website.

    • Romona, look into the high fat low carb way of eating to help with being pre-diabetic. I went to a talk by Prof Tim Noakes recently and he is seeing amazing results by eating in such a manner. Also, he is able to shed light on why and where the diet changed to make people prone to being diabetic when our ancestors didn’t have this problem.

    • yes, try to find milk that is NOT “ultra-pasteurized”. if it just says “pasteurized” that is the best most of us can do. Here in the US I buy local, organic, grass fed, regular pasteurized, whole milk.

  64. There seems to be a big push for full fat dairy now. I have tried this, but am now experiencing red finger joints. I have also put on quite a bit of body fat which I have never had before.
    I am wondering if non fat or low fat kefir is OK? That doesn’t seem to bother my finger joints. I have heard that fat in kefir is not so necessary as that in regular yogurt, or even just milk.

    • Any milk can be made into kefir (low, skim, full). Some people swear by their milk types whether it is pasteurized, raw, or UHT.

      Some have noticed a difference in their grain health depending on the type of milk they use (specifically full fat milk seems to make their grains super happy and grow a bunch) but I would use whatever works for you. If full fat milk is causing you issues, then kefir the lower fat milk instead.

      Keep in mind that if you are using live grains to kefir, switching their milk source will cause them to go through an adjustment period. It usually lasts from a couple of days up to a week or two. During this time your kefir will probably not be as thick as it used to be. Just keep on going until it adjusts and in the meantime, use the runny/odd kefir in smoothies or cooking, no need to toss it!

  65. Hi Chris,
    I have two questions for you.
    1) regarding colonics- I’ve had many, and have felt they have helped tremendously with my health. I’ve tried looking for info on if good bacteria are removed during colonic irrigation but am yet to find it. What info do you have on this subject. If it removes good bacteria does it equally remove bad?
    2) I am really wanting to introduce milk kefir, but have had a leaky gut for a long time, and one naturopath told me to stay off dairy. I’ve been having milk kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha. The reason for being scared of starting milk kefir is my leaky gut and i have hashimotos. (Been grain free for several months now). Another naturopath said I shouldn’t stress my immune system anymore than it is. I believe it it the casein protein in the blood via a leaky gut that aggregates the immune system.
    That being the case, should people with hashimotos/leaky gut be exposing themselves to the casein in kefir, and how do you know if it it is casein that you are actually sensitive to?
    I’ve heard such wonderful things about kefir and its ability to cure digestive issues so I’m a bit confounded, since autoimmune disorders stem from gut issues – yet kefir (casein) may aggregate immune disorders.
    What to do?
    Regards,
    Renee

  66. please can anyone advise me if water Kirfir is ok with Fructose intolerance? maybe in
    very small doses? I also have lactose intolerance.
    Thanks.

  67. ***What would be some signs that one is intolerant to kefir?*** From everything I’ve read, it sounds to me if you chose just ONE dairy product to consume, kefir should be it. But my daughter (4YO) has slowed motility – she only poops once every other day – and her ND wants me to try eliminating all dairy, including kefir. The only dairy product she consumes daily is milk kefir (homemade from raw grass-fed cow milk). She also eats some (raw) hard cheese a few times a week, and I use butter in cooking sometimes. BUT even though she had sensitivity to cow milk (conventional, pasteurized, homogenized) as a baby, I introduced all the above products gradually one by one and didn’t notice any adverse effects (BUT the ND said it could produce a built-up effect, which may cause her constipation now), so it’s very hard for me to think she’s sensitive even to fermented dairy. She is a healthy, happy and active child who gets sick a few times a year with colds and such, has had no ear infection, and has never taken OTC meds or antibiotics.
    The ND wants me to remove all dairy for one week. ***Is it even enough time for an effect to take place?***
    I’m also suspecting magnesium deficiency, so I’ve started supplementing her with magnesium. I couldn’t find magnesium glycinate the first time I tried so I got magnesium BISglycinate. ***Is this okay (for a 4YO) to take, and how much?*** ***How long does it typically take for an effect to take place, if it were the deficiency that caused the slowed motility?***
    I would GREATLY appreciate anyone’s info that helps me answer some of these questions.

    • Ask the pharmacist about the magnesium for a 4 year old. Magnesium citrate is the one for constipation. From what I read she should be eliminating more frequently and obviously it is diet related.
      I think a week off of all dairy could really make a difference. Read the book wheat belly either from the library or Amazon. Amazing the problems caused by wheat. I almost died as a child due to wheat allergy. There are loads of recipes on the net for gluten free. Try taking her off of wheat. Wheat is in everything so you would have your work cut out for you. Don’t know how my mother did it for me.

      • Thanks Linda. We’ve been gluten-free (even before going gluten-free we were eating wheat in the form of sprouted or sourdough bread maybe once a week, and almost no other sources of gluten) for maybe two months and dairy-free for about a month now. She’s still going every other day. Thing is we had a crazy holiday and I stopped giving her the magnesium. I’d been giving her. :-/

  68. I wish there was more an exact number on the amount of vitamin K2 in kefir even a ballpark figure. I wonder if water kefir has a small amoutn of K2 also.

  69. I can’t get raw milk where I live, sigh. Would Kefir be worth doing if the only milk I can get is the pasteurized milk at the store?

    • Renee, I have been making Kefir for many years using pasteurized organic milk. There are differing views of making kefir using raw or pasteurized milk. Some think that using raw milk will have competing enzymes with the kefir grains and others believe that is is not a big deal. Some people use pasteurized milk because they are concerned with bacteria from the raw milk. It is up to you. If you know someone with a cow or have access to fresh raw milk then use it. If you don’t feel comfortable with using raw milk or don’t have access to it use pasteurized. Personally I use pasteurized milk with no issues it tastes great and never fails to do its thing.

  70. Hello Chris.
    I have Eczema. Just started talking kafir about 2 weeks ago.
    Plus with my lifestyle changes of healthy eating am now experiencing a healing crisis. I suppose with the introduction of this super food the detox reaction and the dying off of the bacterial is more pronounced. .
    What is your view on this, and how much kafir sould l consumed a day.

  71. Hello Chris. Would milk kefir be suitable for eczema? As I understand dairy products, and therefore milk is not encouraged in the diet. What are your views on this?
    I value your advice on this. Also I note that with the consumption of milk kefir, the healing crisis would be more dramatic. Please advise. Thanking you in anticipation.

  72. Hi Chris really Kefir is the superfood!!We love the way you explain and make everything so easy to understand.We hope is ok to copy and paste some of your info about yogurt Kefir in our website We personally take Kefir and we had suggested to many of our clients and they have seen the difference,ps let us know if is there a problem and we take your post off and use our personal experiences with kefir. thanks
    lumascolonics.com

  73. I know several people have already asked this but received no answer so I will ask again and hope Chris or someone else might have some commentary…

    Is it safe/ beneficial to eat the actual kefir grains themselves?

    Thank you!

    • Yes. The bacteria count in the grains are much much higher compared to the actual milk kefir. Start slow if you want to eat the grains. Eating a teaspoon and for some people, up to a tablespoon at a time sometimes will help populate your gut even more.

    • Aubrey. – You could be deficient in Magnesium I would take two 400 mg tablets one in the AM, the other in the evening. Magnesium Citrate or better Magnesium Chloride more bioavailable – from Alta-.

      • Ancient Minerals is a company I get topical applied magnesium from. It is a liquid. You can take more because it is applied topically and bypasses the stomach. Too much of taking it internally causes loose stool.

  74. What if you already take a probiotic supplement? I use one from Kirkman that is refrigerated. Can you consume too much probiotic?

  75. Hi! 🙂 I have two questions,and I hope you could answer to me 🙂
    1.How long can I use Kefir safely ? Can It cause any harm to my body if I use it for a long time(more than 6 months for example).
    2.Does it have any serious side effects ?

    • This page has a couple of links to different places where you can purchase kefir grains (water or milk) or even get them for free:
      http://www.yummykefir.com/get-milk-water-kefir-grains

      You can also buy premade kefir from the store (big chain grocery, health food stores, etc) but it does not have as many probiotics as what you can make at home. It is also much cheaper to make from home. (1 quart non-organic kefir is around $3-$5, as opposed to one gallon organic milk is around $6 which will make almost 4x the amount of kefir. Better price and better milk, and more probiotics.)

  76. I have Aids, Hep B Wild Tangent, Hep C and I am currently in remission with lymphatic cancer. I have been making my own Kefir and I’m feeling great from it. I’m not able to find information about medication concern while taking Kefir. This would be a great show idea. This is the site that I found good information (http://chriskresser.com/kefir-the-not-quite-paleo-superfood/print/). Filer Smith @ 206-387-9666 (Cell Phone). You are welcome to call my cell phone directly too.

  77. Hi,
    I have been taking Kefir for about a month, however as I have casein intolerance,
    I have been getting gassy & pains in the stomach, would fermenting for longer decrease,
    increase or have no affect on the casein levels?

  78. Hi,

    well I have been drinking kefir at least 3-4 times a week for several years now. I play football competitively and, although not blessed with the greatest touch, I do outrun every one (same age) with ease. I also don’t get the same injuries everyone else does and when I do get hurt I heal very quickly. Its extremely easy to be better than the rest, because most of them will eat crap even when they know better… but kefir truly is one of those foods that give you that super edge.
    I think the probiotic aspect is overplayed in my opinion. For me Its not about being an innoculant (we should all have that gut-flora already) but more about consuming vast amounts of highly absorbable nutrients – minerals and vitamins. Those you DO NOT get from a bit of sugar, couple of strawberries and water (water kefir). If you want to get the most out of milk kefirf, in my experience, drink at least a pint made from the highest quality milk you can find every day, not forgetting to consume the grains and lots of them. It can and should, IMO, replace meals when drunk in sufficient quantity.
    If professional athletes are taking kefir I suspect that none of them would talk about it for fear of helping the competition. In fact if you look into the history of kefir, this is the reason the shepherds of the Caucasus mountains kept it to themselves for milenia. Google “dom’s kefir’ for the most well researched kefir information available. Like everything else, pay attention to how it was consumed traditionally!

    • My experience is like yours, Mark. I wonder if someone who needs it can overdo it with a daily gallon of pastured raw goat milk kefir when in conjunction with a diet heavy in veggies? I want more, feel so good on the stuff, like I’ve got my life back after (I know athletes drink a lot of milk so don’t make me feel a glutton)! 3 gallons in 6 days. I wonder if I can be overdoing it?
      Thanks.

  79. Thanks for all the information on kefir. I love it and drink it every day. It’s easy to make and if it separates into curds and whey, I just give it a shake after I’ve strained off the grains.

  80. Roxanne, two things. First and foremost, I would suggest making the homemade, raw cow or goats milk formula for which you can find the recipe here:
    http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/recipes-for-homemade-baby-formula?qh=YTo2OntpOjA7czo4OiJob21lbWFkZSI7aToxO3M6NzoiZm9ybXVsYSI7aToyO3M6ODoiZm9ybXVsYXMiO2k6MztzOjk6ImZvcm11bGEncyI7aTo0O3M6ODoiZm9ybXVsYWUiO2k6NTtzOjE2OiJob21lbWFkZSBmb3JtdWxhIjt9

    Second, do not start with kefir, but yogurt. Kefir will be quite strong to start your baby on, yogurt is a more gentle but very beneficial food. Make your own, raw-milk yogurt with either cow or goats milk. I just warm my milk very gently until it is very warm to the touch, about 113 deg. Then I pour it into a warmed glass jar and add my starter (1/4 cup whole, plain yogurt or powdered starter). Wrap it up in towels and put it in a thermal container and close it up tight. After 12 hours you should have yogurt. If it is still not thick enough, immerse the jar in a hot water bath for about 10-15 minutes.
    .

  81. Hi I have a question my baby is on formula since day one and he is 4 months now and want to start introducing him to kefir cause he suffers from gas and reflux and I believe kefir could fix his gut since he never was breast feed and never able to 🙁 what milk can I use for my baby to make Kefir ??? Please help

  82. Ha I would love to see the published reports showing direct link between drinking milk, milk kefir and leaky gut. I have been looking for 7 years and have found none.

  83. Hello, just stumbled upon this wonderful site after doing a google search for kefir. I just turned 40 and felt as if my body declared war on itself. Any dairy caused gas, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea. I experimented with cutting out different foods to test for sensitivity. It seemed dairy was the culprit. I have never been able to digest yogurt–it actually causes bacterial vaginosis for me (apparently I have a high pH, diagnosed by my obgyn). I am now battling my weight, having gained almost 40 lbs. eating the same foods I always have–frustrating. I make a daily smoothie, using green tea as the liquid base, and was using almond milk for vitamins, minerals, and creaminess. Soy was a disaster. I’ve been reading so many wonderful things about kefir, just added it to my smoothie this morning. My question is, am I lessening it’s effectiveness by blending it with strawberries, kale, and hemp protein powder? Thank you in advance for any advice.

    • Kefir has digested most of the milk proteins- created its on environment for the good bacteria and yeast and has the fermentable ,soluble fibers , both PRO and PRE Biotics. It is truly a SUPPER FOOD. but lets look at some other underlying problems that face most people.
      the PH of your stomach acid is to high…as with most people…carbonated drinks ,,antacids, raise the PH in the stomach not allowing the ENZYMATIC activity to cleave apart the milk proteins, and other proteins, leaving them whole to pass into the small intestine robing you of Nutrition… simple carbohydrates, processed foods usually anything white like sugar, white bread ,pasta,cookies ,cake, icecream;; and so on, are absorbed quickly before any complex nutrient rich food in the same meal; also robing you of nutrition , and simple carbs can destroy the environment in the intestines again robing you of nutrition ;you get the picture. Soluble, (FERMENTABLE) ,insoluble ,resistant fiber…create the proper environment for the good bacteria ;;; the soluble fiber in the lining of the gut protect and nurture the micro villi ,; which filter out vitamins, minerals,and nutrients,and absorb them into the blood , also separating them from waste or indigestible food products, the lack of these fibers and the good bacteria allow for and over growth of bad bacteria causing the villi and micro villi to thin out and allow the bad bacteria against the GUT lining which can cause all kinds of digestive track bacterial infections. The thinning out of the villi and micro villi also allows some of the whole proteins to be absorbed into the blood, the body reacts as tho these proteins are pathogens, which causes an immune response attacking the proteins, giving you an allergic reaction. Try Cutting out the simple carbohydrates , carbonated drinks ,,antacids. Add (KEFIR) along with other soluble,(FERMENTABLE) insoluble ,resistant fibers (COMPLEX CARBS) to your diet…. this is Essential and must be maintained every day

      • Thanks Eddy for Info. I lost 70% Gut Lining. Have Gluten,Dairy (Milk Allergic),Soy,Starch,Sugar, Yeast,Nightshade Problems. Can’t tolerate any Grains (have Ankylosing Spondilitus) Shallow Breathing, Hives (Histamine/Amine Probs). Suffer Headaches (Rare Form of Migraines) Leg,Foot, Stomach Cramps. Depression (SAD) Flushing,Malabsorption (Furry Tongue, lots of Cuts,Grooves) Allergies. Eat only Meat, Tinned Fish, Salad Greens, Nuts, Seeds (Nut Milks) 1xpiece Fruit per day. I’m at wits end. Live in Spain, can’t afford Doctors or health insurance. Had severe reaction to Organic Sheep’s Yogurt. Been given Kefir Grains. Can only source Carton Milks (Pasteurized) mostly UHT. Do I attempt Kefir with Goats Milk or just give up. What a Question!!! HELP!!!! Marion PS: I won’t blame anybody for info. I have researched on-line for last 10 years, so pretty well informed.

        • I thought this comment was from Chris’s B12 Deficiency posts, your symptoms sound so much like the folks commenting there. Have you looked into B12 deficiency? Also check your magnesium intake, as a deficiency can also cause wide ranging systemic problems.

          • Hi Amber,
            Thanks for your comment. Am taking Magnesium (needed this big time). Have been continually looking up my symptoms on the Internet. Narrowed down most things. Yes, I have information on B12 Deficiency. Don’t have Medical Insurance here (the cost is our income here). Had few Blood Tests (Birthday money). Ruled out Diabetes,Thyroid and AS HLA-B27 Gene Negative (although I could still have AS).Can’t tolerate any Starch.Could also be Carb Intolerance.So many things.Actually all these Symptoms are an Immune Problem.Difficult to sort though.Fermenting my Kefir, going to try some Cheese.Tried ordinary Yogurt and paid for that two days of agony! Oh well, back to drawing board.
            Thanks again
            M x

          • I also, thought – magnesium def. Most people are deficient. Is important as it is an electrolyte .Probably can’t get enough through oral means as it will cause diarrhea. Ancient Minerals has a topical applied liquid magnesium which I use. My husband has restless leg syndrome at night and I of course couldn’t sleep, so I got up and got the spray of magnesium and he stopped jerking in half hour. At least search it out.

  84. I used to use real live kefir grains to make milk kefir from storebought whole milk and it worked well during the winter months, but it gets too hot here in Phoenix, Arizona to keep the alive the rest of the year. They would quickly eat up all the milk in about 12 hours and form a thick layer of curds on the top, and then very clear whey on the bottom of the jar.

    Trying to remove the living kefir grains from the thick curds became a real challenge. It was hard to tell which part was the grain and which was the curd after awhile.

    It became too much work for me, so now I only grow my own kefir during December, January, and February. Then I simply eat all the grains in early March and plan on buying fresh kefir grains in late November to start all over again.

    The rest of the year, I just buy Lifeway Kefir at my local grocery store. It used to be hard to find, but now most stores sell it, and it is not as expensive as it once once. If I’m feeling adventurous, I take a glass jar, pour it half full of regular store bought whole milk, and then fill the remaining half with Lifeway Kefir and put it out on my kitchen counter to curdle. The next morning I have a refreshingly bitter treat in store.

  85. I can not find any info on making water kefir using sugars other that sucrose. What would happen if you used Dextrose or Lactose or a combination??

  86. hi chris,
    do you know where kefir lands in the list of foods with k2 (and other milk ferments if you know)?
    thank you!

  87. Chris, what do you think of including organic dairy full fat (store bought) kefir made at home, but for someone following an autoimmune paleo + FODMAPS protocol? Would it be better to use organic milk kefir grains with coconut milk instead? Thanks.

  88. We carry Latta Kefir in our store. Latta Kefir products are not mass produced; each small batch is carefully made starting with real pure Amish Country milk. The kefir is made right in the container not in a vat and we use the traditional Russian method of creating kefir. Their products contain zero artificial ingredients (colors, flavorings, or preservatives), thickeners (the texture is achieved from the natural fermentation process, not from additives ), or milk substitutes. Aside from the probiotic cultures*—nothing you cannot pronounce!
    Our customers love the flavor selection.

  89. I just started making coconut milk kefir recently and have a few questions. Although it has turned out pretty creamy overall there are tiny chunks in it. Is this normal? Can I vitamix it to make it super smooth? Also if I put it in coffee of use it in recipes that require cooking am I ruining the benficial probiotics with the heat? It is ok to use in smoothies where you are blending with frozen bananas and such? Thakns.

  90. Did you know that we are the only species that drinks the milk of another species? Our bodies set up a reaction to foreign bodyies so why would it accept these milks? Small wonder so many are lactose sensitive or intolerant or suffer bloating, indigestion and gas. I hadn’t had milk in two years but have been able to digest kefir from cow’s milk since I started fermenting it a few weeks ago.I’m taking it slow, up to 3 oz per day now and no problems.

    • When milk is pasteurized, it deactivates lactase, which is an enzyme that helps to digest lactose. Many people, including my daughter, who are “lactose intolerant,” do just fine with raw milk.

  91. I was just at the Cultures for Health website wanting to order some Kerr grains until I read that:

    “Milk Kefir Grains are produced in a facility that also processes soy, wheat, nut, and fish products.”

    I have celiac disease and can’t take a chance that a product would contain gluten even if it’s a tiny amount. No amount is safe for someone with celiac.

    So I’m looking for another source. Can anyone recommend one?

  92. I just find that it has a really bitter taste and the only way I can make it more pallateable is by mixing it in a smoothie. I typically add one cup latta keifr blueberry yogurt, 1 banana, 1/2 cup oj, and some ice blended up. Makes an awesome breakfast.

  93. i’ve had problems with coconut water kefir (one of the few kefirs i can tolerate) giving me constipation…does anyone know why?

    • Constipation might be caused by excessive calcium in milk. I recommend magnesium supplements to balance the calcium

  94. Hi, it sounds like u mite need to do an overall candida cleanse. The kefirs can challenge your immune system a bit due to the colonisations of yeast and bacteria. Once your system is strong normally people feel great on it, esp the milk kefir. As with any food it pays to take a break once in a while. Check out the body ecology diet for a great way to address candida.

  95. Kefir….Oh but it IS very paleo !!! Sour and fermented milk is as old as the first time a hunter sliced open the belly of a suckling goat and found….CHEESE. I have a Greek friend who told me that the old people in her village still consider this was a great delicacy.

  96. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the great article! I live in Alameda and want to start making kefir at home. Store bought kefir is expensive and might have added sugars. Temperature is an issue. I run warm and always have windows open. I rarely use heat, and probably benefit from my apartment being sandwiched between other warm apartments. I don’t think Kefir cultures will do much in this environment. I’ve been looking around online for suggestions from other Bay Area folk to find out how they deal with these issues. I saw a suggestion for a reptile mat that might help by providing constant local heat, but this is all new to me. I’ll appreciate any advice or suggestions!

  97. Dear Chris, so does it mean that the bacteria will also break down the Casein as it does the Lactose? greetings, Gregor

  98. i have Hashimotos and am gluten free, dairy free (except for eggs), soy free , legume free (except for peas) & grain free (except for brown rice) I recently began drinking Keifer and am so bloated with horrible gas issues and my skin is terrible- is there a connection? should I stop? I’ve been using the life way brand. I’m new to all of this and so any advice is welcome. thank you

    • Jenn, make your own kefir from raw milk; you are not digesting the pasteurized version. Don’t know where you are, but in California Organic Pastures is able to sell raw milk kefir. Other places, there is limited availability from farmers, but you might have to join a buying club to do so.
      However, bloating and skin issues are possibly, even likely, to be a result of die-off of pathogens as the gut is being re-habitated with beneficial organisms as they over-power pathogens. You might just be drinking too much at once.
      Sprout your peas & lentils-they become a vegetable and are easier to digest with less starch. Skip the brown rice as it is also hard to digest.

    • Hi Jenn,
      I was wondering now that it is 2014 if you DID try raw or unpasturised milk kefir and how it went with you? I too have Hashimoto’s and would DEARLY love to but am too scared for the immune response via the gut.
      Thanks

  99. Hey Chris or whoever else may know. What do you think about the flavored kefirs. I assume they add flavors after fermentation. Would the extra sugar not be a good idea or do those get fermented too?

  100. With respect, I ask that you give citations of proof of what you are telling us. I am not willing to go on anecdote.

  101. I agree with Yolanda, don’t sweat about separated kefir, it is not difficult. In fact, I think it is the easiest of ferments to make, and not very messy either, like many. So A Berk, maybe you need to worry less and enjoy more!
    When it is hot, I culture it for less time. Or use fewer grains. If it separates into curds and whey, I use the curds and whey as they are! I always need whey any”whey” (tee hee), so what’s the fuss? The “curds” are good to eat as is with a spoon. And the grains rinse clean easily with warm water and a strainer. No big deal!
    Yesterday I used kefir whey in my fermented fruit chutney, which will be delicious by tomorrow when I am teaching an all-day fermenting/drying/preserving foods “Beyond the Basics” class to the Amish in Lancaster Cty. Pa. I use it for other ferments as well, but by the end of the day will have about a gallon of whey from making cultured cream cheese, so that will go into several other things, like corned beef perhaps?

  102. Just a few of my thoughts…
    1. Milk kefir is EASY to make at home.
    2. I don’t understand why some folks are so concerned about the “curds and whey” that the kefir grains can make. If my kefir separates, then I just strain it out, shake it up in another jar and it is smooth and creamy and wonderful.
    3. I never measure anything. I just put the grains in a jar, cover well with raw goat milk and let it sit around until it is looking rather separated (covered with a coffee filter and rubber band.) Then, I strain out the grains in a plastic colander that has smallish holes, return the grains to my brewing jar, and put the milk kefir in another jar, covered in the fridge, or on the counter loosely covered.
    4. If you are new to milk kefir, just start slowly… maybe an ounce or two for a couple of days and then up from there until you can comfortable drink as much as you like.
    5. Kefir soft cheese is SO easy! Just pour your excess milk kefir into a cotton or linen cloth or bag, suspend above a bowl and let that sit at room temp for 48 hours. So versatile. I use it in place of cream cheese and sour cream. Love it!
    6. When I get extra kefir grains, I sell them on eBay. 🙂

    • Yolanda. -You don’t have to wash and dry the brewing jars? (a pain) You say: ” return the grains to my brewing jar” your way IS a lot easier I would love to have a definite answer to my dilemma
      Thanks, Jordan

  103. For someone with a gut problem, it sounds like a worthwhile goal to eventually drink kefir. Is there any truth to idea that there could be a change in one’s stool by introducing dairy ferments? In other words, if I would get some diahrrea, would it be worthwhile to keep trying for a few days to see if things improve?

    I would start with 1tsp of home made raw milk yogurt and eventually work my way to kefir.

      • Would you recommend some with a histamine intolerance keep trying small doses of kefir? I get elevated pulse rate, sneezing, mild acne and anxious thoughts when I have more than a few spoonfuls.

  104. The store bought kefir may not be quite as good for you as home made kefir from milk kefir grains, but it is still one of the best things available out there for the average person. It is so much better than yogurt.

    I tried making my own kefir at home using kefir grains, and it is a lot of work to do it right. You have be very careful to strain out the kefir grains before it ferments too long and turns into curds and whey. Once it does that, it is very difficult to figure out which part is just curds and which part is kefir grains. It also seems to damage the grains, and if you do this repeatedly, you will soon end up with nothing but curds and whey, and no kefir grains left.

    The hotter it is inside your home, the faster it turns to curds and whey. At 80 degrees F, it will turn to curds and whey in about 12 hours or so. You have strain out the kefir grains and give them fresh milk or they start starving and the acids in the whey seem to damage them.

    So, I now only make my own kefir during the late fall and winter months. I just order new kefir grains and start all over every November. By April, it starts getting too hot, so I just eat them all, and then start buying kefir at the store until next November. I use the plain store bought kefir as a kefir starter culture, and just fill a glass bottle 1/4 full of store bought kefir and then fill the rest up with fresh milk, and then shake it up to mix it together and then set it out on the kitchen counter to ferment for 24 to 48 hours, until it has fermented. You can tell– just like homemade buttermilk– it will pull away from the sides of the glass container when you tilt it. That’s how you know it is ready to put in the fridge and drink it.

  105. Kefir can be too strong for some to start out with, particularly those with a compromised gut. There are about 36+ organisms in kefir, while with yogurt you have only 2 or 3 introduced. So when you are just trying to start out and re-build gut health, it may be wise to start with yogurt and work up to kefir. But it is also always advisable to make a 24 hour yogurt rather than the usual 4-8. I warm my fresh milk only slightly to about 112 deg., add my culture (either powdered yogurt culture or yogurt from another batch), pour it into a warmed glass jar, wrap it in a towel and stick it in a drink thermos or styrofoam cooler and forget about it for 24 hours. With kefir of course you just add your culture, preferably the actual grains, and let it sit on the counter for that long. Straining out the grains and letting the kefir remain on the counter for another 24 hours further cultures it and lowers the sugars even more. At any rate, the longer you culture, the lower the sugar content no matter what.
    There are a variety of yogurt cultures, buttermilk/sour cream starters, and others available. Cultures for Health is one source, Radiant Life another, Dom’s Kefir website still another. I also really like Piima culture, which is more mild, less sour, and really pleasant. It is what most farmers use to make cultured butter.

  106. Thanks Maureen! What’s a good culture to add? In terms of controling insulin and still getting the health benifits of raw milk, it seems that most of you think kefir is the way to go? Am I right?

    Thanks again. Really appreciate you taking the time to educate me!
    Jack

  107. Jack I’ll jump in and answer since I’m here, but of course Chris may have something more to add.
    Raw milk will naturally sour, not spoil; pasteurized milk putrefies-bluck! Adding a culture to the milk simply introduces other beneficial organisms which will allow it to ferment in a more pleasant, and beneficial way. And since the fermenting/culturing process eats up the sugars (lactose), it is actually much lower in carbohydrate content than fresh milk. The longer it is cultured, the less sugar there is.

  108. Thanks Chris and Maureen for the comments! I appreciate them! ‘

    Chris – why should I add a culture to the raw milk when I let it set? Is it suscptiable to being spoiled?
    Also,I drink the fermented milk w/raw eggs in the morning. Do you think this a high insulin meal?

    Maureen – I’m like you – i like the milk warm and somewhat sour. I live in the Los Angeles area so it doesn’t get that warm.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you two!
    Jack

  109. Jack and Chris, raw milk when left on its own will ferment with its own, intact “cultures” (lacto-bacilli, etc.) However, in this naturally sour state, most people find it unpalatable. I will intentionally leave milk out at room temp all day as I prefer my milk warm and slightly soured, but the days of leaving my gallon of milk out, “un-cultured” for a day or so to make “cream cheese”, as per Sally Fallon Morell/Nourishing Traditions, are far behind. The taste can be downright disagreeable! Twelve hours is, however, fine (depending on room temp). However when a culture is introduced which will of course contain more than just the naturally occurring organisms, the end product, such as kefir, is wonderful! At the moment I have a half gallon out cultured with buttermilk and set with rennet to make cream cheese for the weekend, and can hardly wait to have it as I know from experience it will be fantastic! As is the sour cream I made by culturing slightly (naturally) soured cream the other day-we are eating it by the spoonful! And then there is the yogurt I’m about to make into eggnog smoothie…

    • Recipes PLEASE!!!! So want to make my own chz, cream chz, cott chz and sour cream.
      What r your thought on kefir starter kits like the one on mercola.com? Want to order to get going on making it w my raw, org milk

  110. Chris – what do you think of fermenting raw milk for 12 hours? Half kefir/half milk. Or what do you think about letting raw milk ferment out of the fridg w/out adding any cultures?

    thanks,
    J

    • 12 hours could be enough in certain climates. I wouldn’t advise simply letting raw milk sit out without cultures.

        • But people have also been intentionally culturing for thousands of years as well. The flavor of the milk is influenced by what the animals are eating at any given time, which in a truly pastured animal will very constantly. For instance, right now in Pennsylvania there is a lot of wild garlic, which can contribute a strong flavor to milk. When you ferment/culture this milk, the flavors are intensified, not always pleasant. I strongly prefer the taste of a cultured milk partly for this reason; you are introducing organisms which will have an affect not just on the health benefits, but the flavor of the final product as well.

          • Yes, I agree!
            It’s a good thing that so many are rediscovering the beauty and benefits of cultured foods of all kinds. By the way, isn’t it interesting how there’s a sudden push to add probiotics to all sorts of commercial foods — the standard diet has been so deadened and depleted and people’s digestion is so impaired.

            • It is sad that we have come to the state that we have, but good that people are waking up to it! And I always tell people of the importance that we get our probiotics from *food*, rather than a pill, as it is far more effective and broad-spectrum. So now people are also talking “pre-biotics” which, really, is a sad misunderstanding: pre & pro should be present in food anyway, but now there is still another supplement to sell… My husband is taking Dr. O’Hirra’s right now as he is recovering from Lymes Disease & Rheumatoid Arthritis, but this is not your standard “Probiotic”. He also gets fermented foods in every meal: cultured mayonnaise, yogurt or kefir, sauerkraut, beet kvass, whatever else I have made.
              I don’t think he’d be making it without!
              Maybe Chris will weigh in on this?

  111. Chris – I am just starting out experimenting with kefir, specifically the Redwood Hills Farms goat milk kefir you recommended. I have started slowly, as you suggested, and have noticed benefits in terms of intestinal motility/constipation. However, I have noticed that it makes my eyes feel dry and grainy for a couple hours after drinking it. Do you think that’s a sign I should stop using it and stick with water kefir and sauerkraut (which I also use) or should I keep drinking the goat milk kefir and see if the symptoms stop? Thanks!

  112. Hey Chris,

    We were going to make a batch of kefir from raw milk for lil’ Charlie. Any idea where to find grains in Berkeley? We could only find freeze dried starter at the Bowl and that didn’t seem like a great option.

    Hope all is well with you and the family.

    R

  113. It’s a little surprising to see a whole article about kefir, and no mention of “labne” (or “lebne”). Labne is a kefir cheese, sort of a cross between yogurt, sour cream, and cream cheese. I do low-carb but not necessarily paleo and I love labne. It’s high in fat and low in carbs, and it fits the bill nicely.

    You can find labne at Middle Eastern and other ethnic markets. Give it a try!

  114. Chris, one thing that wasn’t mentioned in the article or comments: what’s your take on eating kefir grains? I have too many to give away and I don’t want to toss them.

  115. How long does homemade raw milk kefir last? Do I store it in the fridge, or will that kill the good stuff?

    • Mama Bear, after the first 24 hours, remove the kefir grains from your raw milk, and let the milk sit out at room temperature, loosely covered, for another 24 hours and then put a lid on it and save it in the refrigerator. It will keep nicely for a LONG time.

  116. Scandinavias most popular low carb diet is LCHF (low carb high fat)
    It includes butter, full fat creem, and sour creem. It works well for most people who can eat lactose. About 3 million people in Norway and Sweeden eat LCHF over here:)

  117. What is the best age to offer babies kefir? How much?

    What’s the qualitative difference between kefir from low-fat milk vs. whole milk?

    • The only way to make “real” milk kefir is with kefir grains. Once you get some, they will propagate and you will never have to buy them again!

  118. Based on this article, I went and bought my first carton of kefir. I was disappointed that every one in the co-op was low fat. Gah. Guess I’ll be looking for lifeway at my whole foods.

    Anyone try stevia drops in a glass of unsweetened kefir?

    • Aggravating about the low-fat, isn’t it? It’s super easy to make, although you have to keep the grains alive by feeding them regularly, so it’s kind of like having a pet, too, haha. I personally haven’t tried stevia in kefir, but I heard from someone who did it that she liked it just plain with stevia.

    • I have used Stevia in plain Kefir, and I really like it. It cuts the tartness just enough. It is also a good substitute for sour cream in a baked potato. It makes a wonderful “dressing” for fruit salad.

    • Eric, yes I have tried Stevia, but in powdered form. I use a lot because the kefir is sour. I add a half of banana too. You get used to the sour taste and can add less of the stevia then.

  119. This is the real kefir Bible – http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html#kefiran

    Dom is from Australia, he healed some “gastro” disease by putting kefir in an enema ( I do not suggest doing that) However this guy has done the most research I have ever seen on the stuff.

    For those who have made their own homemade kefir or been to Poland where the drink is very popular, you know that the lifeway and other us store bought brand cultures are garbage. However in California Mark Mc affee does make store bought kefir with REAL cultures. It tastes alright but goat kefir is better in certain instances.

    Also These probiotics have been known to cause some temporary illness as well. Ferment to long = diarrhea and gas. I have fermented Milk kefir for long periods of time, the strongest batch I have made smelt like Bacardi 151. ( threw it out, not even going to test my luck). I Have drinkn anywhere from1 cup a day to 3 cups a day. Depends on whether your using real milk, how long its fermented ( or even double fermented as dom mentions) so and so forth. I have eatn the grains as well, (gave me a bit of rash.Just a warning, it went away in a couple weeks but was still strange). They are living things so treat them well. They are the jewels of russia that were stolen from the mountain people and our now available to the world. (scientists can still not make a culture from scratch in a lab, kefir grains are truly unique)

    Good luck to all,

    Scotty

    • Kefir contains 3 times the amount of probiotic cultures than yoghurt. To make milk kefir, milk is fermented with a mixture of +/- 20 different types of probiotic bacteria and yeasts; most yoghurts are made using only a few.

  120. Read your article and then got some Organic dairy Kefir from WFoods in Cupertino. Good stuff, tasted like sour ‘Lassi’ that was common during the Indian Summers. Had couple of cups of worth before going to bed. No problem, tummy totally liked it.(I added a teaspoon worth Rice Syrup for palatability).

  121. Great article. I appreciate that you included a pronunciation guide, too. Everyone around me pronounces it wrong and gives me weird looks when I say it correctly.

    I’m really curious about the magnesium content of kefir. How does it get there? Because regular dairy is low in magnesium, isn’t it? I’m no scientist, but I didn’t think that culturing actually increased mineral content.

    Also, I would advise people not to buy into any commercial “kefir” that tastes like yogurt. If it tastes like yogurt, then it’s probably really a yogurt drink, not kefir. I got duped by this a couple years ago.

  122. Nice topic!

    I purchased some of Organic Pasture’s kefir starter (to go with my raw milk) before the California authorities banned selling it. The original amount was approximately 1 tbsp. I just measured my latest batch and now have over 1 cup to work with. Next on the list, root beer fermented with the kefir vs. kefir whey . . . for a taste test/outcome comparison. I plan to dehydrate some for storage just in case . . .

    BTW, my 6 year old loves our daily kefir smoothies with raw eggs. His health problems stemming from his early life on the SAD have improved dramatically. Amazing how nutritional preventive measures help fix our bodies. His systemic responses (and mine) are greatly improved. With tweaking still needed.

  123. P.S. I have always made mine without the gentle heating of the milk recommended in Nourishing Traditions, and it has always turned out great. I pour the milk straight from the frig.

    Kefir completely healed my eczema.

    • Me too. My milk kefir is always made with raw goat milk, right out of the refrigerator, and it never misses a step!

  124. Chris, in your research did you happen to find any information on kefir and glutathione? I think I remember reading that it produces glutathione, especially if you let it sit out and ferment for an additional day (so, 48 hours instead of the more common 24 hours). I can’t find that source of information, however.

    I learned from my doctor and others that kefir does not really lend itself to commercial production and the kinds in stores are not typically made with kefir grains, may not be fermented long enough, and are not nearly as beneficial as homemade. Making it is SO easy that readers should really try to make it! Also, the grains do multiply, and it’s customary to give your extra grains away to a newbie to help share the love. Ask around to see who might have some, such as your nearest Weston Price chapter leader.

    Also, I think there’s a potentially confusing wording issue that could be made more clear in your post. It says: Look for a brand with minimal additives and extra ingredients. My guess is you meant to say OR extra ingredients, or WITHOUT extra ingredients.

  125. how much of the sugar in Kefir is fermented. IOW is Kefir high in sugar for those of us on a lower carb diet.

    I used to make Kefir, but found that I had to drink it daily and it was just way too much dairy for me. So I am sticking with my fermented pickles and sauerkraut for my probiotics.

  126. Chris- I am a breast-feeding mom of a 4-month old. I’ve avoided dairy as much as possible t/out pregnancy and since his birth; any comment on how kefir might help us both?

    • Seems like the bone-building and immune building properties mentioned in the article would apply equally to you and the baby just as it would with the study subjects. So, then – give it a try and see how the two of you do! Maybe start with a small amount, like a 1/4 cup and increase by another 1/4 cup every 2 days. If you notice negative symptoms- either physical, mental, or emotional- in either of you then maybe not a good food for you right now.

    • Only if the calcium and magnesium are in the coconut milk to start with- and I don’t think coconut milk has a whole lot of minerals in it. But you can look it up on nutritiondata.

  127. I teach a workshop in the bay area – Los Altos, Ca is the next one scheduled – check out my website http://www.lisascounterculture.com for more information.

    I cover both water and dairy – and will have grains available for purchase – there are just three spots left for the March 24th class. I do teach using a closed air system – so undesirable yeast and bacteria do not get it….this is a traditional anaerobic ferment – Mason jars are not anaerobic – so they let air in….it does work but the ferment is not as potent or pure.

  128. When will we see a comprehensive post on yeast/fungal overgrowth? or a podcast?

    Would kefir be a beneficial food while doing a yeast cleanse with herbs and pharmaceuticals? or is the answer “it depends”.

  129. Add me to those who consistently experience acne with even small amounts of kefir (raw, goat). I intend to play around with different combinations to try to determine whether the problem is the yeast or the dairy, but please let us know, Chris, if you have any insights from your clinical experience into what this acne means.

  130. If (IF) your gut is healthy, you probably don’t need to be constantly reseeding it with probiotics. The gut should be able to maintain proper balance just by eating healthy foods in general and not eating unhealthy ones. Not everyone likes or does well on kefir. For those that don’t seem to take well to fermented products and/or fermented milk products, another tactic to take is to eat very bland food until the gut gets a chance to heal. Bland food diets have helped everyone I have known who have had gut problems. Part of the problem is likely that each individual has a different setup and problem in the gut so that there is not just one solution that works for all.

  131. I too would like to hear more about whether real kefir can cause migraines in those prone to them, and also I’d like to know about the alcohol content of kefir. I’ve heard it said that all these “fermented health drinks” like kefir or kombucha are really just excuses to drink addictive alcohol and that ingredient is why people “feel so good” after drinking them. what is the straight up on that?? And what if someone is a recovering alcoholic? What about children drinking alcohol?

    • From what I know, there is less than .5% alcohol in kefir. Sugar fuels an alcoholic fermentation, and there simply is not that much sugar in milk, or even in water kefir (made with fruit or sugar). It takes more than that!
      As to children, well, historically children consumed wine, ale, mead, or beer with meals right along side of the adults. But bear in mind, it was in small amounts, possibly watered down, and with a meal. In many parts of the world and at many times, there was no reliably “safe” water supply for people to just drink water, and fermenting was a way to preserve the harvest whether it be veggies in vats, or juices, grains, etc. as wine or ale. It shouldn’t be a problem in small amounts.
      Migraines are probably coming from histamines. Are you sensitive to things like chocolate? Melon?

    • There is a very small amount of alcohol in kefir – generally less than 1%. How much alcohol you get depends on how much sugar was in it initially and how long it ferments. However, it is much more likely to make vinegar than alcohol. As someone who consumes both kefir and wine daily, I can tell you that the amount of alcohol in kefir is negligible and I have never felt any effect. Also, my young children drink it daily and they are certainly not getting inebriated. If you are extremely sensitive to alcohol, this may not be for you, but for the majority of people there will be no effects.

  132. Kefir really is a superfood. My family has been making it for a very long time, and everyone seems to enjoy. Kefir really is great, and like with most fermentable products made at home, every batch has different proportions of the various probiotics so drinking every day really gives you a broad spectrum biotic!

    Some tips for anyone making their own:

    1) Ferment your dairy kefir according to the weather, the hotter the ambient temperature the faster they ferment.

    2) Let your kefir sit after removing the grains for a further 6-12 hours to get a stronger, more lactose free kefir, without the risk of killing your grains.

    3) Water kefir is a great summer treat. Mix some mollases, raw sugar or just add a few fruits like grapes or apples. Keep the lid on tight and you can make a very fizzy and refreshing summer beverage.

    4) You can transform dairy kefir grains to water kefir grains, but make sure you keep some extra as backup because it doesnt always work well.

    5) If you need a break from making kefir, you can put your grains in a little milk inside if the fridge. This should keep them alive for about a week. You can also mix a little condensed milk with the grains and seal them tight to put in the freezer for longer storage (although this still may kill most of the grains, if even a little survives they will re-activate and grow once added to milk and the fermentation process begins again).

    6) Kefir grains are delicious. inevitably the fermentation process will produce larger and larger grain quantities, and there is only so much you can give are away. So munch away! Kefir grains are normally covered in this yellowish, sticky, gel called kefirian. My grandfather would say that this was the best part of the kefir, and would claim its ability to heal almost any malady. It actually is a polysaccharide gel which in mice has been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose levels and alleviate constipation. [1] Its made from a bacteria known as Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens which i believe is only present in kefir.

    If anyone has any questions on the kefir making process please feel free to ask (although save the sciency questions for Chris and is monstrous brain)

    [1] http://iospress.metapress.com/content/kfk3vbda80uh2cq8/

    • I have a question that I hope you will answer. I have been making kefir since the beginning of January. It is going very well. Every Thursday I get a big gallon jar of raw goat milk. I now have enough grains to just plop them in the jar and let it ferment. I have found 24 hours in my oven with the light on works best (it’s cold here and I’ve been finding it just doesn’t seem to work without the light on). Then I put the grains in some extra raw milk in the fridge until the next Thursday.

      I’m wondering if I’m harming the grains by keeping them in the fridge for a few days each week. They seem to be doing all right, but will doing this long term harm them?

  133. I love the definition of the word, “feel good” after one drinks it, because kefir is one food that I notice how good I feel after I have it. Almost like I can feel it go through my body.

    My question is about dairy and auto-immune diseases. I’m not understanding why dairy is to be removed when one develops an auto-immune problem. Especially with something like kefir that can restore good gut bacteria.

  134. chris, i’m hoping to hear your opinion on store bought vs. homemade kefir. would you agree with lisatruitt’s comment above? also the debate between kefir grains and a powdered culture. any comments on body ecology’s culture?
    i’m also wondering about the casein content. i’m in the process of getting off dairy for awhile to see how i feel, not sure if i need to include staying off kefir for this analysis, or just milk and cheese.

    • lisatruitt’s comment is very much what I’ve read when I extensively researched kefir…and finally decided that to get the full probiotic benefits I would need to make my own. The powdered culture supposedly will not keep producing forever while kefir grains when properly cared for (they are alive) will last a lifetime and multiply.

  135. Chris,
    I’m a big kefir fan but I find that even fermented dairy gives me some acne. Do you recommend eliminating it altogether or is there another way to mitigate this effect?
    Thank you for all of your excellent advice.

  136. Commercial kefir is nowhere near being as beneficial as real kefir. Real kefir made from living kefir grains that reproduce and increase in number, the kind that are all descendants of the ones used by the original kefir makers in the causasus mountains, is illegal to sell. Real kefir has between 40 and 60 beneficial strains where powdered factory made has less than dozen. Commercial kefir is a fabricated food. I have used both. The real stuff healed my colitis. The fake stuff didn’t. I make my own from real grains.

    • not always, since it’s generally marketed toward the more health-conscious, however, check the label to see if it says pasteurized on it. If it says “live and active” cultures it’s probably not pasteurized (though the cultures could I guess have been added after pasteurization. . . you’d still at least be getting the probiotics though)

    • The milk in commercial kefir is pasteurized, but the fermentation of the milk (i.e. turning it into kefir) is what adds probiotic microorganisms to it.

  137. Can you simply state who should restrict or avoid kefir? Yeast-sensitives, casein sensitive, any others?

    I’m not dairy sensitive (likely due to my scandinavian heritage), but I’ve dialed back my dairy intake while on Paleo except for some cheese now and then. I’ve been looking for a good way to bring in some probiotics into my diet so I’m tempted to try kefir.

    • People who are casein intolerant often need to avoid it, but some seem to tolerate it okay. Same for people with yeast issues. There’s no black or white here – experimentation is key.

      • I’m curious to hear more about whether and when kefir is good for people with yeast issues?

        (After a bumpy start, I tolerate home-fermented kefir well, but now after two months I just found out I have esophageal candidiasis. Really hoping that wasn’t caused or exacerbated by the kefir but rather that it would have been much worse without it.)

        • Hi N.E.

          Have you tried ACV; garlic; raw organic honey? http://www.rawfoodinfo.com/articles/art_cidervingarlichoney.html

          Also, you can try a tincture of wormwood and black walnut dropped into warm water sipped very slowly so that it coats the throat/esophagus. Vitacost has a good brand: Nature’s Answer. I also buy my organic raw honey from them for a very reasonable price. I use the YS eco bee farms brand but there are others…..

          Best,

          Jen

  138. I have been diligently and desperately looking for ways to heal my gut, and fermented vegetables and Kefir have been suggested to me. I am grain, lactose and fructose intolerant. I have not been able to find any brand of enzymes or probiotics after many years of trying that don’t cause more gut problems and a migraine. I was hoping a real food might be tolerated. Should I try Kefir if I am lactose, fructose and grain intolerant???

    • Hi Suzanne,

      I’m fructose and grain intolerant and borderline lactose intolerant, and I can tolerate homemade kefir very well. (I sometimes have trouble with the store brands because they add either sugars, have lactose remaining, or contain fructo-oligosaccharides.) You might try making your own and doing a long ferment (I do a full 48 hours). Just be very slow adding it to your diet — really start out with a teaspoon and work your way up to a cup! It’s a lot of probiotics to handle at once.

  139. My son suffers from migraines. I recently had him tested, and he is gluten intolerant and his gut is impaired. His MRT150 results reveal that he does not react to cow’s milk. For a while I’d been giving him fermented vegetables daily, but I backed off from that in case he was not tolerating fermented foods. (I’d read about this but can’t find the article anymore). I’d like to re-introduce fermented vegetables, and also kefir, and anything else to help heal his gut. How can I determine if he’s a person whose migraines are worsened by fermented vegetables and dairy – anything to look for in his MRT150 results? Or simply give it to him and see how he reacts?

    • Sarah:

      The major players in Migranes are: Cow’s milk, Wheat, Chocolate, eggs (whites and/or yolk) and oranges. With youngsters you may suspect a “Leaky Gut Syndrome” which will perpetuate any food to trigger an immune system response. Look at his eyes (Shiner’s sign) which is a darker circle underneath the eyes. This is not from lack of sleep, but from a constant irritation of the small intestine caused by foods. You are ahead of the curve since the MRT 150 is very accurate and measures the IgG (long term effect 2-72 hours) after the ingestion of a food.
      Consider:
      Step 1: Remove
      Toxins in food
      Gastric irritants (e.g., caffeine, alcohol, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
      Food allergies, sensitivities, or reactions
      Chronic low-grade infections in the gut (e.g., yeast and parasites)

      Step 2: Replace
      Stomach acid (or stimulate stomach acid with bitters)
      Digestive enzymes
      Step 3: Reinoculate
      Restore beneficial bacteria to reestablish a healthy balance of microflora in the gut (Kefir is the best).
      Step 4: Repair
      Provide nutrients to heal the gut wall or lining. (Glutamine is best)
      Support the immune functioning of the gut.

      Hope this helps.

      Joel

  140. Chris, I always enjoy your posts and learn something new from each of them; thanks! I’ll just add to what you’ve already said that for those on a GAPS diet and/or who are very sensitive to lactose/casein/dairy in general, fermented on the counter for an additional 24 hours after straining, and removing, the grains often helps. I’ve known several people who find they need to do this, but definitely do benefit from the kefir. Like you mentioned, a lot of people do water, coconut, young green coconut water, etc. kefir. But I’m with you-you can’t beat the nutrients from the dairy variety! Besides, I’m of the persuasion that dairy has been a part of many people’s diets way far back, perhaps from the beginning…

    • Yes, i totally agree with you, and why wouldn’t they drink the milk from cows and sheep and goats, its silly to think they wouldnt have.

  141. I also would like to know if the casein is predigested or altered in a manner that would make it not problematic for those of us with casein problems. Lactose doesn’t bother me.

  142. I would also love to know if the kefir is less insulinogenic than regular milk. If so, I might give it a try.

  143. I usually get a stomach upset when I drink raw milk kefir by itself. However, I’ve discovered that if I mix a raw egg into the kefir, I can tolerate it very well.

  144. I *love* dairy kefir, but a few years ago I became so intolerant of dairy (even ghee) that I switched to water kefir. Recently, I had occasion to go off of water kefir for a few days and noticed that I felt much better. I added it back in, got worse, removed it and got better. I am very sensitive to yeast. Do you suppose that I am sensitive to the yeasts in water kefir? Is there anything that can be done to overcome my yeast sensitivity? I don’t tolerate komboucha at all because of the high oxalate level of the black tea and I even have problems with sauerkraut.

    • Have you tried kombucha with green tea? That is how we brew ours, though it sounds like you may be sensitive to the yeast in kombucha.

      • Thanks for the idea, but I can’t tolerate green tea either because of the caffeine content. I can’t tolerate even decaf green tea or coffee. I brew roasted chicory root “coffee.” It is actually a caffeine free tea. Do you suppose it would work for kombucha? The yeast might get me anyway, but I might try it.

        • ReneeAnn, you may be salicylate sensitive. I’m too, and sadly cannot tolerate any camellia sinensis – black, green or oolong teas, whether decaffeinated or not. Camellia sinensis is very high in salicylates.
          (lots of info down at salicylatesensitivity.com)

          Interesting you should mention you don’t tolerate Kefir well: same here, though I tend to add it to my regime every once in a while, assuming it is good, and because I like it so much. I do better on (sheep) yogurt, actually.

            • Antonio, I haven’t but only because I can’t find it here – neither sheep milk nor sheep kefir. Only sheep yogurt and sheep cheese are available (Houston), both of which I do eat. I’ll probably tolerate it much better than goat and cow kefir (and I bet it tastes great).

  145. Hey Chris,
    Nice article. I’ve got a gallon of kefir brewing on the counter as we speak:) In the article you said Kefir is a good source of ‘folic acid’ (the cancerous man made chemical). I’m sure you mean to say folate.

    • Hi Greg,

      I think that Chris already corrected himself in a past post above.

      I take certified organic folic acid made from lemon peel extract by Futurebiotic. The only additives listed are rice maltodextrin; rice concentrate; and rice extract. It seems that you are pretty familiar with supplements. Any thoughts on this one? I have recently been very careful with what supps I buy and the fillers/additives in them.

      Thanks 🙂

      Jen

  146. Chris – how long do you normally ferment your dairy kefir? My assumption is that the kefir grains are fermenting the lactose sugar and after 24-36hrs most of the fermentation should have happened take place… leaving little to no lactose. Have you seen any research or indications that most of the lactose would be gone? Thanks!

    • Hi Steve,

      Over on Dom’s Kefir site he has some research suggesting that 24/36-hour kefir has <1% lactose. We do ours for about 24 hours.

    • Also just like most fermenting processes, ambient temperature plays a huge roll in the time it takes to ferment completely. However, the longer you ferment, you run the risk of killing some of the grains. A great trick I have been doing for years is letting the kefir ferment to a point, removing the grains, and then letting it sit for another 12 hours or so without grains.

  147. Hi Chris

    Great article. I have one question. A few of the Kefir brands I see add FOS to their product. I have read that companies add this to probiotic food to help “feed” the good bacteria. Is there any truth to that? It seems like it is sugar that could help feed that bad bacteria.

  148. mamatha-
    i have tried kefir knowing the benefits; but really struggled with the results (the good offered outweighing the bad symptoms i got)… too many gastro side effects for me… even leading to migraine!

    i am coureous as to how Chris answers your question….
    and if i possibly was simply not drinking a ‘high quality’ enough brand….

  149. I love eating kefir the times I have tried it. So thick, creamy and yummy. I love making it and seeing it on the counter and watching it ferment. Too bad my body reacts and doesn’t have the same idea about “love” that my brain and emotions have!! 🙁

    Becky
    WholeandWell.com

  150. If your readers want to make kefir from “sweetened water”, as you mentioned, they need to get “water kefir grains.” Milk kefir grains will not thrive without some kind of milk. They can be bought on eBay.com

    • You can also find milk kefir grains and water kefir grains on the facebook page named…” Share or Find Kefir grains, Kombucha, Sourdough starter”. Sometimes there is someone local but if not, I got mine simply by paying the postage for someone to mail them to me…just a couple bucks. They multiply so lots of people have extras to share.

    • You may need to discard the first few batches as the grains get used to a non-dairy source of “food” (ie/ the milk feeds the kefir grains) and there should be a pretty big reduction in lactose and casein after a few rounds using coconut milk. Hope that makes sense! I’m about to re-start making kefir using milk grains but with coconut milk, I also avoid dairy.

  151. Chris, thanks for this article. A couple questions, though.

    You say that “kefir contains high levels of…folic acid” I thought folic acid was the synthetic form of folate. Do you mean kefir is a good source of folate?

    I’d like to try kefir but have a known fungal overgrowth. Reading about the possibility that dietary fungus can share DNA with our endogenous fungus makes me concerned that drinking kefir would ultimately make my infection harder to cure. But you say kefir has anti-fungal properties. Should I not be concerned about the DNA-sharing possibilities?

    • I wonder the same thing. I have Candida overgrown. Recently, I have a fortune to try some raw cow’s dairies. I have tried cultured butter, milk kefir, yogurt and sour cream. I found that I could only tolerate the butter and kefir, but for some reason not the yogurt and sour cream. And when I found out that kefir grains contain yeasts, I was surprised and not sure if I should continue drinking it.

      Chris, are the yeasts from kefir grains different from the yeasts that promote Candida overgrown? Can it cause problems eventually? Should I keep trying?

  152. I have tried making kefir using grains and did not have the good outcome I expected. However, I do get good results using a dried kefir starter made by yogourmet. It works every time. Do you know anything about kefir made with a powder starter versus that made using the grains? How would the nutrition differ?

    • I have lots experience using DRY Kefir starter. I bought it in Germany in a REFORMHAUS (health foof store) and it had two packets for ca. $7.- It gave exact directions: warm 1 liter (ca. 4 cups) of organic full-fat milk to 20 degrees Centigrade, which is about “lukewarm.” Empty package content into it, stir and close the jar tightly. Let milk sit for 24 hours at room temp. ~ This makes the most delicious tasting Kefir, its thick and creamy and has the consistency of Greek Yogurt! ~ And to make a new patch, just take 4 T from the one you made and start again…I’ve done this now for a long, long time…and almost seems to good to be true! ~ I don’t know if the “nutrient content” of this Kefir made with a powder is the same as that from “grains,” but I really don’t care…I love it so much, I could eat a quart daily. I don’t, I eat just 1 cup, because too much of it make my skin break out!

  153. When I obtained an ulcer from a bacterial infection when traveling abroad (H. Pylori). Kefir was a big part of my daily regimen getting my gut back on track after I had finished my full round of antibiotics. Great stuff, I had to really search around though for the full-fat plain version. All of the flavored low-fat versions had about 20 grams of sugar/serving added to them.

  154. Hey Chris,
    One of my biggest problems with dairy is the acne flare ups. I also tend to notice increased inflammation in other ways occasionally as well. Kefir is safe in this respect?

  155. Chris,
    Can kefir be consumed by someone with casein intolerance or dairy sensitivity? Is it true that the protein is predigested and may not be problematic.

    • I am very sensitive to milk but love the taste of our local organic pastured whole milk. I recently started making kefir from this milk and do not experience any of the symptoms that I get from regular milk…flatulence and bloating mostly, sometimes indigestion if I drink more than one glass. I’ve read that it varies from person to person though. There is a tart taste to kefir but a second fermentation of a 1/2 day AFTER straining the grains takes the edge off that and results in a smoother taste that many people prefer. 🙂

    • I’d be curious to hear Chris’s response here too. If insulin resistance is a problem, do the benefits outweigh the costs? Is kefir more insulinogenic than ghee or does the fermentation neutralize the compounds leading to an insulin spike?

  156. Just wondering about how to introduce kefir to improve lactose intolerance? Does the process involve just starting small (eg. a tablespoon per day) and slowly increasing amount? If symptoms are experienced do you titrate back on the amount or persevere through symptoms?

    Also, do you have any advice on how to differentiate between symptoms of lactose intolerance versus a full-fledged dairy intolerance (eg.dairy proteins)?

    • If you ferment kefir for 24-36 hours, it will have almost no lactose at all. Start with 1 tsp per day and build from there.

      • Chris, I was wondering what fermenting the kefir for 24-36 hours does for the casein levels and the glutamate levels. My daughter has a genetic mutation that makes her not tolerate high glutamate and we were on gaps so now I am trying to re analyze her diet. She also ate lots of cultured vegetables which I am hearing could be high glutamate as well?

  157. I’ve just started the GAPS intro diet. I’m taking a high-potency probiotic, but GAPS recommends kefir. I’m hesitant to try it, because I seem to be sensitive to the histamines in fermented foods. But perhaps if I start small, mix it in with other food, and gradually increase my dosage it will help me rebuild my gut garden.

    • I too have had sensitivity to histamines in the past, and I’ve found that raising my gut flora has lessened or eliminated the reaction. So…I’m guessing that kefir has enough cultures to (hopefully) permanently populate the intestines with good guys. It’s been a struggle for me because of the need for multiple courses of strong antibiotics, which have repeatedly destroyed my bacterial helpers, and probiotics in pill form have only worked temporarily, so I’m hoping kefir is the answer for me.

  158. What do you think about water kefir? I recently started making water kefir with kefir grains from Cultures for Health, and I really like it. Obviously it wouldn’t contain the vitamins and minerals that milk kefir does, but how do the probiotics compare?

    • They are comparable, probiotic colony counts would vary depending on variables during fermentation, but water kefir is very healthy, and has many biologically available minerals.

    • I second this request! I’ve been tested as allergic to casein, but have been eating kefir and yogurt anyway–just coz I love it so much. But I still have some health issues and am deciding to finally eliminate dairy to see how I do.
      Any suggestions on suitable replacements? Would goat milk kefir be OK? Can casein allergies be resolved? I am on a mostly GAPS diet. Will the gut heal enough to tolerate the foods I cannot tolerate now (such as dairy)?

    • I am very interested in this too as I am not supposed to eat sugar. I have been using Rapadura with my water kefir but it worries me that I am drinking the sugar water. I leave my water kefir to ferment for 48hrs then leave it in the fridge for 24hrs on the 2nd stage of ferment.

      • The kefir grains will consume most of the sugar during process of fermenting water kefir. On Culturesforhealth.com they say that after fermenting the water kefir for several days, the remaining sugar content is small.

  159. Whoah! Hold your horses here folks! If you’re following a REAL paleo diet, you can easily make Kerif yourself with almond or sunflower seed milk. Go on craigslist, find someone who is giving away Kerif kernels, put them in a yogurt making pot, and in a couple days the kernals will adjust to fermenting the different sugars in the milk and you’ll have non-dairy kefir.

    There’s dozens of reasons why you shouldn’t drink another species milk that goes way beyond whether your lactose intolerant or not. Even in organic, grass-fed cow’s milk, there are dozens of chemicals that trigger an immune response in your body that you’re not even aware of. Drinking milk also contributes to leaky gut syndrome.

    • The research regarding cows milk is shady at best. Raw cows milk for example has a plethora of health benefits which far outweigh any limited, even insignificant implications in the human body.

      I has been said by others (Even Chris I believe), I dont see the point in cutting out foods from the diet when 1.There are many benefits and insignificant problems, if any for those who loterate it well and 2. For the sake of “Sticking” to a Paleo diet just for the sake of eating like our ancestors.

      If you can point me in the direction of research that is unbiased and shows that organic grass fed cows milk causes inflammation I would like to see it. Also – Where is the research that it contributes to leaky gut syndrome? In Robb Wolfs book the arguments against using dairy were definitely the weakest and largely unsupported imo.

      • Hi Martin

        My sister and I cannot tolerate any form of dairy even the pastured form. We break out in severe cystic acne.
        Despite what Chris says on grass fed butter and ghee it causes acne for us.

        Absolutely no dairy for us.

        I will try kefir though, I’ll start of with water kefir then slowly move onto dairy.

        • i am learning the reason for the acne is because of the sugar.. sugar is cleansing causes acids/toxins to be released into the blood… if when kidneys bowels etc are not healthy= acne.
          try 48 hour homemade milk kefir should be fine
          drink bentonite clay to mediate until you heal your kidneys/ gut

          peace

          • uniquehealing.com or donna pessin on youtube for some info on healing gut.. once gut is healed most of time milk sensitivity goes away.. know your tolerance level to both casein types.. research it all.. go with what the body says.. DUH everyone is different..

            • I get acne from most dairy, because it’s on a pizza. I don’t have a problem with raw cheese by itself. I have a hunch dairy just gives the body strength to push out the sugar-fed poisons.

              Raw pastured goat milk kefir, plain and >24 hours, actually is clearing up my skin.

          • Everytime I drink water or milk kefir I have an outbreak of bad acne. I am intolerant to yeast, dairy, almonds, wheat and more but find my skin is much clearer when I don’t drink the kefir. Is it a cleansing effect that is causing the breakouts, shall I persist or is it the sugar and yeast that is causing it? I grow my own and want to reap the benefits but don’t want to go backwards with my skin reactions….can anyone give me some advice on this?

            • Kefir is cultured from yeast so I’m guessing it would be the result of your yeast intolerance. Probably better for you to stay away.

        • All these people are advocating dairy kefir when there is such a thing as “WATER” kefir, which is dairy free, falling under paleo dietary restrictions. If someone says they are intolerant to dairy, why would you continue to advocate dairy consumption??? Water kefir is superior to dairy kefir, in my opinion.

        • Kefir has digested most of the milk proteins- created its on environment for the good bacteria and yeast and has the fermentable ,soluble fibers , both PRO and PRE Biotics. It is truly a SUPPER FOOD. but lets look at some other underlying problems that face most people.
          the PH of your stomach acid is to high…as with most people…carbonated drinks ,,antacids, raise the PH in the stomach not allowing the ENZYMATIC activity to cleave apart the milk proteins, and other proteins, leaving them whole to pass into the small intestine… simple carbohydrates, processed foods usually anything white like sugar, white bread ,pasta,cookies ,cake, icecream;; and so on, you get the picture, instead of complex carbs can destroy the environment in the intestines. Soluble, (FERMENTABLE) ,insoluble ,resistant fiber…create the proper environment for the good bacteria ;;; the soluble fiber in the lining of the gut protect and nurture the micro villi ,; which filter out vitamins, minerals,and nutrients,and absorb them into the blood , also separating them from waste or indigestible food products, the lack of these fibers and the good bacteria allow for and over growth of bad bacteria causing the villi and micro villi to thin out and allow the bad bacteria against the GUT lining which can cause all kinds of digestive track bacterial infections. The thinning out of the villi and micro villi also allows some of the whole proteins to be absorbed into the blood, the body reacts as tho these proteins are pathogens, which causes an immune response attacking the proteins, giving you an allergic reaction. Try Cutting out the simple carbohydrates , carbonated drinks ,,antacids. Add (KEFIR) along with other soluble,(FERMENTABLE) insoluble ,resistant fibers (COMPLEX CARBS) to your diet…. this is Essential and must be maintained every day,,,,, My youngest son suffered with Cystic Acne. Went from bad Carbs to good Carbs changed his GUT environment and with a little Kefir a day no more flair ups. It’s no coincidence that you and your sister suffer from the same symptoms;; I see this all the time;; most likely, you both share the same “DIET”

      • Martin, I’ve tried Kefir for the last two weeks and my leaky guy syndrome has returned after being gone for almost a year. I was hopeful. There were good health advantages. But not worth it if nothing stays in you.
        Just my personal experience. Not a scientific report.

      • 70 years ago I was deathly allergic to cows milk. And even more so to wheat. We assumed since the cows were eating wheat then that is why I was allergic to the milk. That was before all the heavy additives.

    • Hi,…. I was thinking of making some goat milk Kefir,… but also rethinking dairy,.. and trying to wean myself off of it,… so interested in making kefir with Almond milk. What do you mean by a yogurt pot…? Can I just follow the directions making it in a glass jar like regular milk kefir,.. with the same proportions of kefir grains to Almond milk (instead of cow or goat milk)…? Thanks.

      • You can use milk kefir but every couple of batches you would have to ferment the grains in milk to keep them alive. You might want to check with some other sites that are devoted to kefir making, however, as you’ll find much more comprehensive information on those sites.

        I’m not sure if water kefir would work as I haven’t used it, but I would google how to make kefir from nut milk. I hope this helps.

    • As far as Paleo goes, I have nothing to back it up but it seems to me that, people of the past would be at least as likely to eat the contents of a calf’s stomach as they would gathering, preparing and making milk from almonds and sunflowers.

    • sorry. just saw the line where you said water kefir is pretty good too. so dairy is still better? I make my own water kefir using sucanat and spring water. souble ferment it with some berries and apple juice after. If milk kefir is much better I will get into making that also. I do buy milk kefir but its pasturized so I doubt the nutrient level is that great.

    • It doesn’t contain the fat soluble vitamins and other nutrients specific to dairy, but it does contain the beneficial probiotics.

      • I have been searching for nutritional data for water kefir. I am trying to lose weight using paleo/wapf principles and keeping my carbohydrates low.
        Will water kefir hinder that? would dairy kefir be better? Or should I just get my probiotics from homemade kimchi?

      • I have an 4 month infant with MSPI soy/milk intolerance .. has so much gas , colic and e.coli infectsion….

        please advice ? shall i start with water kefir or u think milk kefir will help her to get the guts ready for dairy?

        thanks in advance

  160. I try to eat as paleo as possible while also trying to keep my carbohydrate intake low (usually ketogenic but not always). Currently, one of my primary goals is to lose weight. Over the past year I have lost 65 lbs but am currently working on the ever-so-difficult “last ten”. For quite some time now, I’ve felt my gut health could be significantly better and think probiotics could help.

    I know it would vary person to person, but what do you think the insulin response from kefir would be in comparison to other probiotic sources like greek yogurt or kombucha.

    I plan to get a pickling crock in the near future so I can make my own saurkraut but until then, kefir sounds really tasty.

    • You don’t need to spring for an expensive pickling crock to make sauerkraut. I make mine in Mason jars and it is excellent! Can’t get any cheaper than that. 🙂 Check out Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook for kraut recipes that don’t involve expensive equipment.

      • The book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz is also excellent for all things fermented. He has a very informative but laid back approach.

      • yes, yes, you can get a box of 6 wide mouth 1/2 gallon mason jars for about ten bucks. make to jars every week, it takes two weeks to cure, and you always have a fresh batch in the refrigerator that way.

        • Check out second hand stores and garage sales for the old 4L pickle jars. That is what I use to make my Sauerkraut. Amazing what you can add to make it. Most veg, berries, herbs (fresh I use), fruit. I especially like fresh pineapple. I also add whey from a quality biotic yoghourt and the stuffing from an expensive Probiotic capsule (don’t know if it helps, but still . . .)
          I wonder if Sauerkraut means you don’t have to use kefir and yoghourt?
          I do 2 jars at a time and have 1/4 C with every meal of a matured kraut. Amazingly, after about a week or so of my first batch, regularity became my best friend. After a month or so body odour disappeared. Have never seen this mentioned before. I am Ketogenic, low protein, very low carb by nature. Just do not do well on milk, grains, legumes root crops except the beets, yams and sweet potatoes in small quantities.
          NB: I do seal my jars but twice daily I release the gas buildup, reseal and tip them over, revert them to mix the liquid. I have never had a mould problem.
          After six weeks I store one in the fridge (the other one I take some out for the fridge) and transfer the rest to 1L mason jars. And I start a new batch of two of the 4L pickle jars.
          I believe the closed jar system keeps the environment anaerobic and expressing once or twice a day releases the carbon dioxide and other generated gasses.
          If I ever get some Kefir I might add some of the whey from it to my kraut.

    • Both Nourishing Traditions and Wild Fermentation are excellent – I use them both. However, I would recommend that instead of sealing your mason jars tightly as Sally Fallon suggests, try leaving the jar open, inserting a smaller jar as a weight to push out the air bubbles, and lightly covering it with a cloth. In my experience, this helps the sauerkraut ferment faster and better because it keeps the environment anaerobic.

      Also, eating probiotics can be beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight because, at least for me, I feel satisfied and full faster when I eat them.

  161. Not specific to kefir, but whenever I consume lots of fermented dairy (up to 2500 calories), I have a very good sleep. Lactobacillus is pro-GABA, so I wonder if it’ll benefit other neurological conditions.

    • Hydrolyzed casein is a popular insomnia treatment in Europe. And of course grandma always recommends warm milk at bedtime!

      • I suffer with insomnia. Where can I get hydrolysed casein? I already take home brewed rice milk kefir which I feed on goats milk every 10 daysdays. This is to treat candida and ME.

  162. Can you comment on nutritional differences/benefits of Kefir vs high quality Yogurt? I know the low fat stuff is laden with HFC and other junk, but does high fat yogurt have similar levels of K2 and other vitamins?

    • “Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there. But kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match.

      Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.

      It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.

      Kefir’s active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, the elderly and people experiencing chronic fatigue and digestive disorders.”…from the kefir.net website.

    • Ed, while yogurt is a wonderful food, especially when made with full-fat (preferably Jersey !-) ) raw milk from a pastured herd, it only contains 2 or 3 probiotic strains. Kefir on the other hand has anywhere from 24-36! Hence, it is much more potent. For those with damaged guts who are in the healing process, it is usually best to start with the weaker yogurt first, and then step up to kefir. The K2 is probably similar, but may be higher; this has never been measured as far as I know.
      You can usually acquire kefir “grains”, the self-perpetuating sort that never wear out, from a farmer who sells raw milk, or a WAP-connected type. Around my house they never seem to last for more than a few months, however, as one of the kids will occasionally mistake the grains for something the chickens will want to eat…

      • If the Kefir actually colonizes the gut, is it necessary to keep drinking it regularly to prevent the colonies from dying off or can they still maintain themselves somewhat?

  163. Hey Chris, great article. Also really enjoyed the Paleo Summit presentation! I just want to ask if there’s an amount of kefir you recommend consuming. A couple ounces a day with breakfast?

    • It really varies from person to person. I drink at least a cup a day, but I do very well with fermented dairy.

      • What about someone who is blood-type O and apparently not meant to have any dairy or fermented foods? … Just try and see how it feels? What would be the signs of an adverse reaction to kefir?

        Thanks.

        • I just want to mention that I have blood-type O and have NO problems with drinking our raw goat milk, eating the cheddar I made from it, and I consume at least 8 ounces of home-brewed milk kefir a day. In fact, I recently cured myself of a case of the common cold by going on a raw goat milk only fast for a couple of days. Obviously, if the milk was bad for me, I would not have had such remarkable health benefits. I think there must be something wrong with the theory.

          • I would say the one thing wrong with the theory of blood type diet is, that it is based on evolution theory and that is not the truth. The truth is we were created and not evolved from nothing. There are many mentions of the milk and fermented foods in the Bible.

            • The theory of evolution is an established scientific fact. Much like the ‘theory of gravitation’ or the ‘germ theory’.

              • The theory of gravitation is still just a theory. When will we have flying cars with this “theory”, hmmm?

                And last I heard I never seen a germ, let alone a germ evolve into a dog.

              • The theory of evolution is still a mere theory. There’s not a single “bone” to support it. It’s a travesty of honesty and truth that science and the secularly-blackmailed educational system teach it as a proven theory. It’s a sham and a shame.

                • As with many words in the English language – theory as has more than one definition. When used scientificly theory means: A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method, and repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation. —– it does not mean it is not proven. To the individual who thinks gravity has not been proven… *rolls eyes* well I just have nothing to say to them – however that gave me a very good laugh. Thanks. 🙂

              • you are wrong!!!! Evolution is not and has not been proven as a fact. Anyone who says this as you did is as ignorant as the statement made. Science and the Bible go hand in hand and most scientific discoverys were first proclaimed in the Bible.

                • Evolution is a well-supported scientific theory. In science, a hypothesis is tested, and if it consistently explains phenomena well, and simultaneously explains those phenomena better than the previous theory, then it is adopted as a scientific theory. As time has gone on, evolutionary theory has been tweaked, and has been found to be nearly infallable as a description of what probably happened during times humans were not able to observe. If a theory is particularly poor at describing observed information, such as the case of the bible and other mythology, then it is rejected by science, and rightfully so.

              • Evolution is a theory, not a fact and never will be a fact. If evolution was a fact we’d still be evolving, wouldn’t we? But we aren’t evolving because we and everything on this planet were created by the Creator, God Himself. But it is your right to believe someone’s theory just as it is my right to believe the truth from the inspired Word of God.

                • If evolution is true, why can you not get two different species of animals to produce another species? A horse and donkey can produce a mule, but a mule cannot breed with another and have offspring. It’s mutation. So how did all the variety come about?

                • I can’t believe how many people are hijacking this thread. FYI – evolution happened. Evolution goes slow. We have plenty of examples of adaptations that result in new species, including dogs (which we domesticated from wolves) and bacteria, which we see are developing adaptations to be resistant to antibiotics.

                  When you start to dig into what’s going on at the cellular level (where chromosomes/genes/dna live), it’s a huge corroboration of evolutionary theory, when you see that humans share 25% of their genes with trees. We are 95+% genetically similar to bonobos and chimpanzees. We can determine the age of soil by measuring the uranium:lead ratio (and other ways too). We see increasingly human-like skeletons as soil gets younger (and likewise, decreasingly human-like skeletons as it gets older).

                  Evolution happened, and it happened over a couple billion years. There is no scientific debate about that. Anyone who claims “evolution is a theory, therefore God did it” doesn’t understand what a scientific theory is. Scientific theory is accepted as fact by the scientific community – hypotheses are greeted with more skepticism because they’re less tested and corroborated.

              • According to mainstream “science” we are products of evolution. According to abundant but suppressed information we are genetically modified beings to a lesser or greater degree. Go and refresh your scope of knowledge by reading up for example the fantastic information uncovered by a South African scientist with the surname Tellinger. It is even wrong to talk about the human species and it’s diverse races as one unit but political correctness forces us to form our arguments on a platform of lies.

                • Good to see another Michael Tellinger fan. Have you read Slave Species of God? On the same subject the Earth Chronicles are a good basis for people to read about the Annunaki and their claims to have engineered the currently human animal using what was on the Earth at that time and their own genes. You might also like O’Brian’s, Genius of the Few, if you haven’t already read it.

              • Many scientists agree that evolution is what it states, a theory. Also, growing numbers of scientists are finding from there scientific research that their discoveries could not have come about by chance, but reflect evidence of design. Design indicates a designer or creator. Evolution is nothing more than a form of religion that they have still been unable to prove.

                • Barbara, Evolution is not a theory in the same sense as a loosely-formulated theory that we talk about. For e.g. “My theory is that Jack never really liked drinking milk”. You’re using the term “theory” far too loosely. It will help if you read a few good books on the science behind evolution. After you read them, it should be abundantly clear that evolution is as much as relativity, or older theories of gravity (which are revised from time-to-time and improved upon),

                • I came on here to read about kefir and its benefits, not about your theories on evolution. Its incredibly rude to hijack a thread like this and go off on your own tangent and push your opinions down eveyrone elses throat when most of us couldnt care less. If i wanted a lecture on how we all got here I would have searched for a topic containing that! Whatever you believe, common courtesy has not evolved in your over active egos!

            • Just because something written in the bible does not make it divine or out of this world. So called holy scriptures are claims not proofs.

              Milk has been around for a long time before the bible was written. If someone included it in the bible, that does not mean that it is divine.

            • I do not think the bible has anything to do with what we were discussing.
              It is a great book of words written by men/man.
              Science is a good and compelling thing for everyone to learn and absorb. We are evolved.

              • Even if you don’t believe in God, evolution is a dead end theory. It “seems” to explain things by using the broad brush of time, but the devil is in the details. It’s absurd to imagine creatures with appendages that for eons are not quite fins and not quite legs surviving in any environment… but that is what those who proclaim the “proven fact” of evolution would have us believe. People accept it without question without thinking for themselves – then accuse others of being religious whackjobs. Hmmmm…

                • Any science attempts to explain things as much as it can using theories formulated. Relativity is also as much a whack-job as is atomic theory (quarks, gluons?). Unfortunately, for all the religiously-inclined, these are the best games in town folks. If you think that talking snakes and a woman born from the rib of a man is doing a better job, then the case rests.

          • what about possible bacteria in milk.? Redwood Hill Farm says any such bacteria will multiply when culturing the kefir.

            • I culture my milk kefir grains in organic grass-fed raw milk. Have been doing this for 9 months. I sell my grains too, and I have never heard from anyone that they got sick from drinking raw milk kefir. Quite the opposite, drinking kefir will protect you from contracting all kinds of viruses and bugs, that have been going so strong this winter. People we know, have been sick- whole families for the fourth or fifth time this season, and our family is just going strong.The reason why people of Caucus mountains made milk kefir was, to preserve the milk. Raw milk in itself if it was handled correctly, has a natural protection of the good bacteria in it. You can do an experiment of raw milk and store milk. Raw milk will not go rancid, because of the good bacteria in it.In a month it might turn sour, buttermilk kind of sour and still eatable. As is with any natural fermentation process, fermented food becomes preserved, through the chemical process and the good bacteria has overtaken the small amount of the bad bacteria. I am talking about the milk kefir grains kefir, if you make it with the powdered culture, I don’t know much about that one.

        • I have that blood type and use a milk based kefir because i have tried the water and coconut milk kefirs and did not like them (personal preference). Kefir is one of those interesting foods because it is so nutritious and strange especially if you make it at home and it doesn’t typically bother those who have an intolerance to dairy. I have been making and using kefir for the last three years. I don’t drink a lot of it but I do use is as a supplement in my daily routine. I will add it to my fruit smoothies 1/4 cup or so. Some of the adverse side effects you may experience if you eat way too much is diarrhea, gas, bloating etc. Some of the good side effects are better digestion, sleeping more soundly, and all of the good things this article mentions. I would suggest doing your own research and deciding for yourself. When people who are unaccustomed to eating kefir first start they may feel butterflies in their stomach that is normal. I am not a doctor but a frequent user of kefir and these are my experiences using it as well as reports from my close family and friends who like kefir as well.

          • Blood type diet is silly pseudoscience. Colds are self-limiting conditions that get better no matter what you do. It wasn’t the milk.

            • Absolutely and well put. There are a great many things which are “blamed” on science …and used in an attempt to disqualify actual scientific evidence – when in fact they are “psudo-science” …or in other words…make believe.

          • I cannot believe that doctors do not recommend kefir! It is a true miracle. Just stay away from sugar, and you will be a different person.

            • “Doctors” or as I call them: Licenced Drug Dealers (LDD) don’t recommend Kefir because they know almost nothing about nutrition ( not their fault, Big Pharma does not want nutrition in the curriculum of study to become physicians, maybe 1/2 to 1 hour); besides, it would create a conflict of interest for the doctors to know and talk about nutrition with their customers (not patients) because a patient cured is a customer LOST, the gods are not in the business of losing customers, they are in the business of treating symptoms and managing disease, in other words: milking the sick for the last Dollar.

          • If you have gas and bloating from drinking kefir, that may indicate that you are experiencing die-off from Candida and that you need to back off on the dosage to let your body acclimate.

        • I am allergic to dairy-even clarified butter or ghee. I make water kefir every day to get my probiotics its easy and tastes fantastic! Im also diabetic so cant have sugar but I find the kefir uses the sugar so by the time I drink it there is not enough left to raise mine. Water kefir “grains” are adifferent strain than milk kefir, so you need to get the correct ones for your purpose. You can by on amazon where I got mine or find someone giving away in your area. Im giving away starters of mine on craigs list and at the common market in frederick, md.

        • Aaron, I’ve read that kefir is meant to be good for those with Crohn’s – I sure hope so, since I’ve got it!! “Patient Heal Thyself” by Jordan Rubin recommends it – the author had terminal Crohn’s and made a full recovery.

          I’ve recently started my own home batches, and while I’m currently dealing with some detox gas (at least, that’s what I think it is), I do feel certain it’s helping. Still hoping for lots of improvement!

            • Hi Orly, I’d be interested to know if you’ve had any Crohn’s episodes since starting thr fenugreek? Also was your Crohn’s active at the time you started the fenugreek? I have Crohn’s – thankfully in remission at present but wondering if fenugreek would help me even while in remission?

              • Randy, no you can not “convert” the milk kefir grains to make water kefir or vice versa. They are completely different organisms and the yeasts and bacteria’s on the actual grain surface are all different. If you put your milk grains in water they will die. Milk kefir grains need food aka milk lactose which is then converted to lactase, there is no food for them in water. I sell milk grains grown in A2 organic grass fed jersey raw milk on Ebay. One customer contacted me how, excited he was to be able to find these milk kefir grains. He told me I am the only one on the internet. My family will never go back to stoer bought milk! My husband has Chron’s, that is why we started with kefir in the first place.

              • Hi Randy
                It’s not about “converting”.
                Water kefir (tibicos) will work with water, milk, soy, rice…
                Only needs some form of sugar to feed on.
                I used to add sugar to a bio soy/rice drink.
                Here in Portugal it’s harder to find. Milkkefir is very common.

      • Lifeway is now putting pectin in all their USA kefir products. (No longer reading their labels, I found out the hard way.) A company representative told me it was an ingredient which would stay in the formula from now on.

      • Chris, Can I drink kefir milk during 30 days reset mentioned in your PPC book? I love it, got no problem with it at all.

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