Side Effects of Kefir Drink

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Kefir is a fermented milk food product. It is mainly consumed to improve gut lining, immunity level, boost after a antibiotics dose, and manage cholesterol levels. It is safe for almost all adults and children above one year.

How does kefir work?

Kefir is packed with of large population of good bacteria and yeast, it helps to heal the damaged gut lining and improves overall health by populating good flora and eliminating bad bacteria from the digestive tract.

Some people (rarely) can have a healing crisis from introducing any new fermented food into their diet. Symptoms typically can go away in a week or so. We have listed some the side effects rarely reported below.

Some Side Effects Reported and How to Overcome? –

  1. Kefir can cause constipation, flatulence & bloating when introduced?
    When good bacteria is introduced to digestive tract where bad bacteria is over populated, there is a bit stir within the system. So, start slowly with probiotic kefir (2 tbsp – 25ml), increase friendly bacteria gradually, this will help to out-number bad bacteria which is causing discomfort and build a strong gut. If constipated, we would recommend to consume more prebiotic food (high fibre vegetable) like elephant yam, beetroot, dark greens and consume more water to improve the bowel movement and flush the toxins completely from the system. Also add soaked flaxseeds and chiaseeds to add fibre to the diet. This will also help to relieve constipation.
  2. Some can develop Acne?
    If some are sensitive to sugar in milk (lactose), acne may develop, it is advised to ferment the kefir drink for additional 4 – 8 hours (after removing the grains) until the last trace of lactose is broken to lactic acid. You can also try water kefir which is easy to your gut.
  3. Stomach growling, more poop or loose motion / diarrhoea?
    It is detox effect, i.e. bad bacteria dying off and releasing inflammatory markers along the way. Your body has to adjust to it, start with a very small amount and build it up.
  4. Dizzy feeling or headaches?
    This is very rarely reported. Ferment for less time or mildly than usual, don’t go for complete fermentation of milk kefir or water kefir. This will give you less dosage of probiotics and gradually you can increase the fermentation timings until it suits you.

Should You Continue Drink Kefir?

It is a good idea to reduce the consumption to bare minimum (few spoons) until your gut gets adjusted to the new microbiome. Since, Kefir is considered to be the top source for probiotics among other fermented food, it is recommended go slow in consumption or give gaps like 2 days once and increase the consumption later.

There are two varieties of Kefir, one milk kefir (tastes like sour curds) and other water kefir or coconut water kefir (non-dairy), you can try alternatively which suits better for you and opt for it.