What Are Some Dangers Of Drinking Kefir?

Kefir might offer some digestive benefits to those that can handle it, there could be negative side effects from consuming it. This is pretty much the case with all fermented foods. Everyone’s digestive system is different. Therefore, they might be fully capable of handling kefir while it causes a lot of issues in yourself. Below, we will be going over what kefir is and some of the side effects you can get from it.

What Is It?

Kefir is a drink that is made from kefir grains being soaked in some type of liquid. This can be made to be a variety of drinks ranging from fruit juice to milk. The majority of the times you will find kefir being sold in the dairy section. The process of fermentation that it goes through does reduce the total amount of lactose found in the drink. Therefore, it could potentially be suitable for those that have lactose intolerance, but there are no guarantees.

Why Do People Drink Kefir?

There are many well-known benefits that kefir can offer. For one, it is a fermented drink which means that it is going to offer a lot of good bacteria. Food bacteria is essential for optimal gut health. With our modern diets and lifestyles, you can never truly get enough good bacteria in your diet. Therefore, it can really prove to offer a lot of digestive health benefits to those that can handle it. This is especially true for those that either has taken or who are taking antibiotics which can cause a significant imbalance in bad and good bacteria in the gut. This alone can cause severe digestive issues if not fixed.

What Are The Dangers Of Drinking It?

One of the biggest issues associated with kefir has to do with the effects it can have on the body’s insulin levels. According to a study, kefir was found to be low to moderate GI food. The issue is, it featured a high insulinemic score which measures the blood insulin levels. Therefore, it is said that drinking kefir can skyrocket blood insulin to very unsafe levels [1]. The study even indicated that it featured an insulin response similar to what you would get from ingesting white bread. This can be further exacerbated by the fact that a lot of kefir manufacturers look to mask the flavor and taste of the drink by adding sugar to it. This only ends up causing the insulin response to further increase.

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Kefir is a fermented drink meaning it is likely to cause the same side effects that other fermented foods and drinks can have on someone that isn’t capable of handling it. If your digestive system isn’t able to handle kefir, you might experience a variety of common side effects ranging from cramping to bloating and even diarrhea in some cases. You will likely deal with symptoms of nausea and abdominal pain if it is messing with your digestive system too much.

Another thing to be aware of would be that you shouldn’t attempt to drink kefir if you have a compromised immune system. The bacteria that are present in kefir are going to be good for those that have a properly functioning immune system. However, that can quickly turn out to be too much if your immune system is compromised either from an immune system disease or disorder.

While kefir certainly has its fair share of positive research behind it, you should be aware of the dangers and pitfalls of consuming kefir. The ideal way to get kefir in your diet is to make it yourself. That way, you know exactly what is going into it. Likewise, you want to be certain that your digestive system is up to the task of being able to digest it properly. Without doing this, you might end up experiencing a lot of unwanted side effects that you could have avoided entirely. If you are undergoing a treatment requiring antibiotics, there is no denying that kefir can have many benefits. After all, it is a fermented drink that can supply your digestive system with a lot of needed healthy gut flora. That being said, you need to test out whether or not your body is capable of handling the digestion of kefir before going out and drinking a lot of it. Otherwise, you might quickly find yourself having to deal with the consequences of doing so.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23378456

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Showing 9 comments
  • Elma Powers

    Does kefir have vitamin k2?

  • Coral

    I have been making Kefir for about 6 weeks got the hang of it now, I like it when it separates and it’s like cottage cheese , But I’m getting a lot of discomfort and wind , I’m thinking is it the Kefir or is there something wrong with me , I’ve been reading up on it and I’m going to stop it and see how it goes. Can you get bad side effects?

    • Imogen Dransfield


      Believe it or not that can be a good sign, the bacteria in your gut when it’s doing it thing produces excess gas which can make you get a little windy when you start drinking Kefir, this should sort itself out over time. Make sure you are getting enough Fibre in your diet too whilst you are taking Kefir.

  • Roxanne R Garrett

    I have not tried Kefir and wonder if someone with a milk “allergy” should? I don’t believe I am just lactose intolerant but milk products make me “sluggish” and my ears ring, ring, ring to where I can barely hear! I’m age 74 and other than being overweight and have Arthritis/Fibromyalgia..

    • Imogen Dransfield

      The process of Kefir actually breaks down the lactose in milk which means it can be easily digested by people who have issues with digesting lactose.

      More information about this can be found in our health benefits page.

  • John macLeod

    I have just started Kefir but I have no spleen and was told this could be dangerous. Is this true? Please help.

    • Imogen Dransfield


      We would always say to check with a medical professional/your doctor if you are unsure.

  • Adrien Smillie

    I drank basic kefir from hone bargains With great success then flavoured Kefirs M.S food and had a violent reaction with sickness

    • Imogen Dransfield

      We reccomend Kefir made using live grains like ours, all natural ingredients. Supermarket and commercial kefir is filled with additives and doesn’t even contain the live bacteria that comes from Kefir grains.

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