Kefir is extensively studied, and it’s generally considered a safe drink. Nutritional Research Reviews show that Kefir bolsters digestive health. But because it’s a fermented food, a few people may not tolerate it.
While Kefir is a solution to many people’s digestive woes, it may cause undesirable symptoms in others. Here are the side effects of Kefir that you should be aware of:
It Can Trigger Allergic Reactions
If milk typically triggers allergic reactions, you should steer off milk kefir as it may cause severe, life-threatening allergic reactions.
Some types of Kefir are made from substitutes like rice or coconut milk. Those products are safe to drink. Always be aware of the ingredients to avert allergic reactions.
May be Dangerous to Diabetics
A 2012 study showed that while Kefir’s glycemic index score(GI) is low to moderate, its insulinemic score is high. This means Kefir can cause a more significant spike in blood insulin levels than most other foods.
The studies comparing Kefir with white bread, based on satiety, also found that kefir milk won’t make you feel full for long. Another negative aspect of kefir drinks is that they’re often rich in natural sugar from the liquid or fruit juice. Besides, manufacturers often add flavorings and sugar to enhance the drinks’ taste.
You should always scrutinize the label to find out the sugar levels in a product; don’t just go with the wording on the package. Some of the kefir products that are touted to be ‘low-fat’ or ‘natural honey favored’ contain huge amounts of sugar. You can make Kefir at home so that you control the ingredients.
Conversely, some research revealed that people who drank Kefir regularly have lower levels of fasting blood sugar than those who consumed conventionally fermented milk. Besides, the kefir group has lower levels of A1C over three months.
May Contain Alcohol
The fermentation process generates alcohol. Typically, Kefir products contain less one percent of alcohol, if you’re super-sensitive to alcohol or if you’re a recovering alcoholic, you should keep this in mind. Some brands are alcohol-free; if you want to steer off alcohol, you should opt for these brands.
Could Exacerbate Your Condition or Symptoms
Kefir contains live bacteria, and so it can make some health issues worse. People with these conditions should be wary of probiotic-rich foods like Kefir:
- Histamine intolerance
- Those taking anti-depressants
- Those who get migraine headaches regularly
- Those with a compromised immune system
- Those with HIV/AIDS
- Those with various bowel issues and those with a family history of colon cancer
- Besides, if you’re taking immunosuppressants (medicine that compromises your immune system), you may be more vulnerable to falling sick from the yeast and bacteria. Some of the medications that compromise immunity include basiliximab (Simulect), azathioprine (Imuran), daclizumab (Zenapax), Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), Muromonab-CD3, tacrolimus, mycophenolate, corticosteroids, prednisone, and others.
Not Ideal for Cancer Patients
For colon cancer patients who’re undergoing chemotherapy, Kefir can exacerbate side effects like hair loss, sweats, intestinal and stomach problems, mouth sores, and drowsiness.
Besides, the immunity system of cancer patients is usually weakened and thus can be affected the probiotics. The live bacteria may spread across the body and cause other health issues such as sepsis and infections. Consult your doctor before you take probiotics.
Conversely, Kefir may have protective properties against cancer. Some studies show that probiotics reduce the rate at which tumors grow and stimulate the immune system.
Another study shows in the case of breast cancer; it halves the number of cancer cells. Yogurt, on the other hand, only annihilated 14% of the breast cancer cells. So while you shouldn’t take Kefir during chemotherapy, it’s a fantastic drink if you want to keep cancer at bay.
Caseins are proteins that are milk. Some dairy products like milk kefir also contain casein. Some research has linked dairy with cancer, while studies haven’t established any correlation.
Caseins are linked to allergies and respiratory issues. This protein is coarse and thick, and it triggers the production of mucus. For some people, caseins trigger the production of so much mucus that they find it difficult to breathe.
If you’re sensitive to caseins, opt for kefir drinks that use alternative milk sources like rice and coconut milk.
Conversely, an animal study has revealed that Kefir inhibited inflammatory reactions for asthma and allergies.
Ugly Side Effects
While fermented drinks have many amazing benefits, they can trigger undesirable side effects, including:
- Abdominal cramps
All these symptoms are oft temporary; you should reduce the quantity of Kefir you consume until your body acclimatizes to the spike in healthy bacteria.
Should You Drink Kefir?
Despite the side effects, Kefir is still regarded as an excellent probiotic source by experts and studies. However, in some people, Kefir triggers digestive symptoms, which may be linked to the milk. Besides, some people are sensitive to fermented foods, and some people have compromised immune systems, which makes the consumption of live bacteria risky.
If you experience undesirable side effects of taking fermented foods, you should opt for other probiotics. However, compared to other dairy products, Kefir contains quite low levels of lactose. So, depending on your level of lactose intolerance, Kefir may be much more tolerable than other dairy products with higher lactose quantities.
The bacteria in Kefir breaks down most of the lactose. One study found that lactose intolerance symptoms diminished for people who took Kefir regularly for an extended period.
Besides, there are numerous other supplemental and dietary sources of probiotics that don’t contain dairy. Alternatively, you can take fruit juice or nondairy Kefir.
In a Nutshell
Research shows that Kefir has a fair share of beneficial properties. It helps with weight control, lowers blood sugar, fights diseases, reduces lactose intolerance symptoms, enhances digestive health, reduces cholesterol, and improves bone health. Besides, it will supply you with healthy gut flora.
You should, however, be aware of the pitfalls and dangers of consuming Kefir. There are pros and cons to drinking Kefir. Depending on the state of your health, advantages may outweigh disadvantages or vice versa.