Just a word of caution before trying kefir from my personal experience

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2015
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/5/2017 10:37 AM (GMT -6)   
So, just want to share my personal experience with kefir just as a word of warning to anyone deciding to try it.

I know many people report good results with it, and I am not trying to discourage anyone from giving it a shot, but my experiences with it and it's effect on my UC has been horrible, so just wanted to offer a data point for anyone to consider.

I was diagnosed with UC several years ago, and went really well with no medication or treatment, it just occasionally would manifest in small ways, but rarely was a problem. In November of 2015, after returning from Italy, I started to experience a HORRIBLE flare, never had one before that came close to leading me to having to have a colonectomy. I went on Asacol, Remicade infusions, and was on high doses of prednisone for about 8 months. Dropped 50 pounds of weight, and had 3 blood transfusions in this time frame. According to my GI, one of the worst flares she had ever treated. My hair began to fall out from the combination of drugs and malnutrition. Was simply one of the most awful periods of my life, and it seemed to manifest out of the blue.

At the time, I had started kefir 3-4 weeks before when the flare started, but had also been having a fair amount of life stress, and had recently returned from Italy, so was unsure of what might have been a precipitating factor in my flare. I suspected the kefir as it was a variable, but there was really no way of being able to tell with a single data point. At the time I used raw milk for making the kefir.

2 years later, after a year of 'mostly' being in remission, I decided to give the kefir experiment a try again. This time I opted to use whole, organic pasteurized milk to rule out bacterial infiltration through the raw milk. At the time I began I was doing pretty well, 3-4 small BMs per day (pretty good for me) , no blood in months, and seemed like a good time to try it again.

3 weeks after beginning kefir again, this time with pasteurized milk, I begin bleeding ALOT. Shooting up to 10 or more bloody, mostly liquid BMs per day, up in the middle of the night for BMs which hadnt happened in almost a year, and pretty much felt like I was going back into a flare. This time I have the benefit of Remicade infusions and daily Lialda to help curb the reaction, and I've put myself back on a 20mg daily dose of prednisone for a couple of weeks until I can get into the GI.

The only factor this time has been the introduction of the kefir into my diet, so after having a second data point, I think it's safe to say its what sent me into a flare the first time that nearly killed me.

I know many people recommend it and have had good results with it, I just wanted to point out that in my case it caused a lot of problems, and I'm fairly sure its the culprit. Not here to discount anyone elses success with it or discourage anyone from trying it, I would just make sure to watch it very carefully and go slowly, and discontinue quickly if you see signs of going downhill after starting it.

I was drinking a glass per 1 to 2 days. The first time I assumed it could have been harmful bacteria infiltration, but I dont think that its likely that it would have occurred 2 times in a row.

Thanks! Just wanted to share. Best of luck to all of you on your journeys!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3186
   Posted 12/5/2017 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
The most common food triggers are gluten and dairy. Do you have problems with other dairy besides kefir?
Male, born 1951, DX IBD Feb08. No meds, allergic to Mesalamine. Food diary instead of SCD or Paleo.
When needed VSL#3DS sprinkled over powdered psyllium seed is very helpful.

Lactobacillus Reuteri (NCIMB 30242), Culturelle, Saccharomyces boulardii.
Fish oil, curcumin, extra D3, magnesium, multivitamin, glutamine when gut repair needed.

Resistant Starch and lots of fruit & vegetables (but no cruciferous), No Gluten, no soda, no HFCS, no shellfish. No processed foods with maltodextrin, sorbitol, polysorbate80 or carrageenan. No GMO foods saturated with Roundup.
Nature created all of the locks, therefore Nature has all of the keys

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1440
   Posted 12/5/2017 11:56 AM (GMT -6)   
I find Kefir very helpful but in very small amounts! I take a few sips a day and that's it, if I have too much my gut gets all bubbly and bloated. Also I only take commercial brand kefir to prevent problems with raw milk etc. Commercial kefir is 99% lactose free which makes it an almost dairy free product. The idea is to get this probiotics into your gut, the "carrier" is less important, but as we all know, our UC is different for all of us, if something bothers you, remove it! Best of luck.
prednisone as needed

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2015
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/5/2017 1:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Never had any other issues with either gluten or dairy. Always been an avid milk and cheese buff and have never displayed any issues of lactose or dairy intolerance. Same with gluten.

I use to drink store bought pasteurized kefir (Greek Gods brand I believe) and never had any issues with it. There is apparently something specific to home made kefir. Maybe the volumes I was ingesting was way to much for my system since I was drinking a glass every day or two, but the same problem seemed to happen both times with me making my own kefir (which I loved by the way. Would add honey to it and it quickly became a treat)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 8346
   Posted 12/5/2017 7:32 PM (GMT -6)   
my assumption would be commercial kefir = limited bacteria strains vs homemade = a butt-load of
strains -

probably best to avoid it like the prague wink
dx'd with pancolitis 12/21/03
current supplements:vit D, cal/mag, Psyllium Seed powder/Heather's Acacia fiber/ L-Glutamine/Hemp powder slurry 1x/week - grain free/paleoish diet that includes 100% grass fed beef, raw goat milk, & local organic free range eggs, lots of all natural well water, exercise, sleep as much as possible & enjoy this great life that God has blessed me with !

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 5753
   Posted 12/6/2017 12:51 PM (GMT -6)   
I tried store-bought kefir...once...never again.

I agree it can be very hard to determine what causes symptoms but once I had a good idea of a few foods/drinks that were safe it was a trial/error of trying others to arrive at a definite list. But then as my gut healed some of the "off list" got promoted to "sometimes OK". Not kefir, not yogurt but milk is OK now and ice cream, so probably the cultures in the kefir/yogurt is my problem. That's it--my gut likes low-lifes, not "cultured" food. I miss yogurt :-(
Diet=gluten-free modified Paleo+potatoes+low dairy, low grain, no seafood (IBS),low fiber diet
In remission April 2010 after 10 years of UC after no remission ever
gluten-free =bleeding stopped, dairy-free (less IBS) started remission path+food diary
daily: Balsalazide 750mg and 2 Ginkgold tablet
rarely: VSL#3, mesalamine enema, Canasa supp, Citrucel

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2015
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/6/2017 2:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Ive had no trouble with either store bought kefir or yogurt, and I always tolerated it very well.

I decided to try to make my own kefir based on the many discussions where people called the store bought brands garbage because of the pasteurization, so wanted to try the direct, raw, probiotics loading myself.

Unfortunately, it worked out very badly for me.

I have no concerns about going back to the store bought varieties, though I dont think I ever saw any beneficial side effects from them before which is one of the reasons I decided to start to make my own.

Maybe I'll try sauerkraut for probiotics. I love it anyways, and I imagine there are a lot less strains of biotics in it in general than in kefir

Old Mike
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3871
   Posted 12/6/2017 6:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I might guess it is the fresh bacteria strains,probably multiple.
For me fresh lacto fermented pickles homemade were a total disaster.
I only ate a 1/4 of a slice.
Old Mike

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 151
   Posted 12/7/2017 9:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Had one of the worst flares ever because of store bought kefir - never again. I also tried the Swedish probiotic milk drink Filmjok to flare effects.

I'm currently the best I've ever been so the damage was not irreparable - took Mutaflor to mop up what felt like an 'infection'. Bad response to Saccharomyces cerevisiae in isolation too - possible culprit.

No problem with Byron Bay superkraut or yogurt - very helpful.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2016
Total Posts : 523
   Posted 12/7/2017 4:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Home made probiotic have literally trillions of bacteria per serving. The probiotic content is VERY high. The small intestine is not supposed to have much bacteria in it and in people with healthy immune systems, the small bacteria get eliminated quickly. With UC and immune compromised people, it could create a temporary SIBO type situation which sends all kinds of improperly digested food into the colon = flare territory.

Whenever I take milk kefir I take it home made and I literally only take it in teaspoon doses.

Interesting that mutaflor helped you. It wrecked me. I don't find most commercial probiotics helpful in general. I'll be getting an FMT in a couple months once my current course of antibiotics is done.
DX left-sided UC 2015, 3 fulminant flares since then
Diagnosed with mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP) September 2017
Commenced AMAT (rifampin, clarithromycin, clofazimine) November 1 2017
Intolerant to clofazimine, stopped taking
Others: prednisone 10mg, Entyvio every 4 weeks, Low Dose Naltrexone 3mg at bedtime, natural ferments
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