April 18, 2016

Hi Dr. Bell, my friends are on the Kefir kick and are recommending I give it a try. Have you had any experience with it? I was reading up on it a bit and I understand it’s a probiotic bacteria, but without further information, I’m always nervous experimenting with anything new!

I recommend you give Kefir a try and see how you feel after taking it for a few weeks.

Kefir originated in Southwestern parts of Asia and Eastern Europe. The name Kefir is actually derived from the Turkish word “keyif” which translates to “feel good after eating.”

Kefir is made by adding cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast to milk (cow or goat) and allowing it to ferment for about 24 hours. The yeast and bacteria ferment the sugars in the milk (reducing the lactose, so even those with a lactose intolerance can drink it). The cultures are removed and you are left with a slightly sour tasting drink similar to yogurt.

A 6 ounce serving comes in about 100 calories, 6 grams of carbs, 36 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, about 20% of the RDA for Calcium, Phosphorous and Vitamin B-6 and a decent amount of Vitamin D and Magnesium.

One of the best health benefits of Kefir is the high level of probiotics and other bioactive compounds like organic acids and peptides found in Kefir that research has shown to:

(1) Improve digestion, mental health and weight management.

(2) Kefir is a much more potent source of probiotic than yogurt

(3) Kefir contains 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making it a very good and diverse probiotic food.

(4) Outstanding Antibacterial Properties

(5) Preventative food source to prevent Osteoporosis as a rich bioavailable source of Calcium, D-3 and K-2. Kefir has been shown to increase bone density and prevent fractures.

(6) Kefir may prevent Cancer. One study found Kefir extract reduced the number of Breast Cancer cells by 56%, compared to only a 14% reduction by a yogurt extract.

(7) Kefir may be used to prevent / reduce various digestive and G.I. Disorders including: diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion, heart burn, acid reflex, etc.

(8) Kefir is generally well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance, since it has much lower levels of lactose than regular milk products.

(9) Kefir may protect against allergies and asthma.

(10) Kefir may boost the immune system by increasing the “good bacteria” in your digestive track.

I would recommend you start with one serving/day for a week and see how it effects you and then increase to two servings the second week and three servings the third week. Your gut literally needs Billions of probiotics so it is hard to overdose on Kefir.

Warning: Because Kefir has a sour taste many manufacturers are adding sugar and other flavors that may denature the Probiotics. The health benefits listed above have only been observed from research on natural, grass-fed, drug and hormone free cows and goats.

For more detailed information on Nutrition Prescriptions, look toward the IFPA Sports Nutrition and the Advanced Sport Nutrition Certifications.

Good Luck

Dr. Jim Bell


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