Kefir for Health: A Fermented Alternative to Yogurt

| Modified: Jun 14, 2020
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Kefir is a fermented dairy food much like yogurt that is traditionally enjoyed in Middle Eastern countries. It has built a popular following throughout the world because it offers many of the same benefits as yogurt--probiotics, healthy bacteria that aid digestion, and an easily digested source of nutrition. Kefir supporters claim that it is superior to yogurt in several ways, first in offering a greater number of beneficial strains of bacteria and also in being easily digestible even for those who are lactose intolerant.

You can create your own kefir naturally at home. All it takes is a kefir starter, rather like sourdough starter, added to any sort of milk. This mixture is allowed to ferment and is then strained to retain the starter, leaving the finished kefir behind.

Kefir's naturally occurring bacteria can bolster and rebalance the body's existing intestinal flora, helping us to get the most out of our dietary intake and promoting a healthy digestive system. Kefir is said to ease bowel movements and is reputed to be a major support to immune system health. It is a good source of B vitamins and is a complete protein source.

Adrenal Fatigue

Posted by Deana (Knoxville, Tn) on 06/15/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Kefir! Kefir! HOMEMADE KEFIR! Can't say enough good about this hug-from-heaven-food! I was overrun with wild symptoms of adrenal fatigue and who knows what else (16 MD specialists could do nothing for me) and then I discovered homemade kefir.

I was so very ill few years ago that I had to quit my job teaching school while I prayed for answers to weird and debilitating symptoms from hives to heart palpitations to absolute fatigue. I am not exaggerating when I say that I put aside over $400 worth of supplements each month when I found kefir. Took about a cup or so a day for three weeks before I felt the changes. At first, felt rather unwell, but I know now that there was a "die-off" of so many bad guys living within and their waste and removal from my system led to this unwell sense for a week or two, then the sun broke through! Truly!

Kefir has so remarkably changed my world that I have actually started business teaching about this food and other cultured foods. Having a ball doing something so valuable, something most weary folks don't know exists. Let's spread the news!

God bless you all. Love Earth Clinic! I have learned so much from this amazing resource. So glad to share what I eventually found to be exactly what my frail body needed. Now, more energy than ever and absolutely med free!! When you understand how the microbes in kefir work in your digestive tract, you might be drinking it daily like this grateful gal. :)

Replied by Connie
Meridian, Idaho

Hi, thank you for posting. I must know how to obtain kefir starter please...I have suffered so with leaky gut agony for nine years now and tried everything to no avail. Please tell me how do I get/find/make my own starter. Thank you, Connie

Replied by Anon

Have you ever considered Colostrum for your leaky gut?

Replied by Mama To Many

I was able to get milk kefir grains on ebay. They worked very well for me. I followed directions that I found online. Making it was easier than any description of the process, by the way.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Jasmine

What did you exactly feel the first 2 weeks of taking kefir? Did you feel more fatigue, sleepy, lethargic and seem like your symptoms got worse? Did you have fever?

Replied by Helder Costa
Rio De Janeiro
5 out of 5 stars

Espetacular, magnifico o kefir. Curou-me varias enfermidades que me acompanhavam desde adolescência, como gastrite, colite ulcerativa diarreia e falta de absorção de vitaminas, minerais, enzimas e produção de hormônios a níveis ajustados.

EC: Google translation of above text:

"Spectacular, great kefir. It cured me of several illnesses that accompanied me since adolescence, such as gastritis, ulcerative colitis diarrhea and lack of absorption of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and production of hormones at adjusted levels."

Replied by Id

Do you think water kefir would work as well? Did you start with particular brand? thanks!

Replied by Robert

I am going through the beginning stages now myself, This is about a week in and I have been sore everywhere. I have been feeling like ugh and I was saying this has to be the storm before the calm. Thank you for your comment, it was just what I needed to hear.

Energy, Digestion, Eye Puffiness

Posted by Zahira (Hawkes Bay, New Zealand) on 12/28/2013
3 out of 5 stars

Better But With Side Effects

I am using Kefir made from young coconut water. I tried it 2 or 3 months ago and stopped because of side effects. I have started it again and I am having the same side effects - dermititis or some fungal disease on my feet and herpes. Last time my sleep was also disturbed. I take 20 to 30mls a day. Has anyone else had this result and will it pass? There have been good side effects as well - the puffiness around my eyes went, my bowel worked better and I had more energy (despite having herpes regularly which really drain me). Any feed back would be appreciated.

Replied by Mike 62
Denver, Colorado

Zahira: I take 1 gallon home brewed water kefir daily. I get more energy than the 120g organic whole flour and organic whole cane sugar I put in. I believe kefir is the most potent of all remedies. The microbes change matter into gases that pulsate at very high energies. The nutrients are more active and available. You are experiencing a detox reaction. I am going to tell you what you must do to get well like me. I went through this myself so I understand this is not going to be a pleasant experience. For 24 hours eat raw organic fruit and raw honey, make green smoothies from organic baby leaves, and 0 fat. Dr. Doug Graham candida at naturalnews says the candida does not eat sugar in the presence of insulin when there is 0 fat. The lifespan of candida is measured in hours. Dieting is not an option because low levels of atp increase the diseased state according to Andrew Kims 3 blogs. Candida eats the sugar in the blood causing low blood sugar and chronic fatigue. Some of the candida dies and the rest hides behind biofilm makes spores and goes dormant waiting for some food. After 24 hours follow the 80/10/10 program. This nourishes the cells and creates an atmosphere where candida does not reawaken. Watch raw food for candida videos.

Replied by Tochukwu

What do mean by 80/10/10? You didn't explain it very well.

Replied by Anonymous

Gasses don't 'pulsate' at high 'energies.' This is your typical bla bla of people without any science education. If you experience problems then I would think twice before taking any of the replies seriously!

Replied by Sam
Miami, FL

Real kefir WON'T give you what you call side effects.

Replied by Sam
Miami, FL

80/10/10 can be googled and it is a ratio of carbs/fat/proteins which has been debunked. Paleo diet is now leading and is based on the latest research (Chris Masterjohn, ChrisKresser).

Don't blame Kefir for your symptoms.

Read about candida on "candida" page.

You can't cure your symptoms unless you overhaul your lifestyle that includes not only diet.

General Feedback

Posted by Lardiver (Abbotsford, Bc Canada) on 04/19/2012

I have been using kefir for a few years but in the food matters one of the Dr. said milk kefir reacts with the fat and is not good, has anyone else heard of this? Lardiver

Replied by Lardiver
Abbotsford Bc Canada

I have since found that this was not what the Dr in Food Matters was saying. I am still drinking my kefir and eating the grains. Not too many people like my milk kefir so I have a lot of grains, I keep them in the fridge and change them around now and then. I tried making water kefir but just couldn't get it to work, it did not taste good. some time I will try again.

Replied by Elena
New Zealand

Kefir grains don't like fridge temperature. Low temperatures disturb the balance of yeast and bacteria in the grains. It is mainly yeast surviving and working after the fridge, that's why resulting kefir may be runny and yeasty. Other lactic and yoghurt making bacteria in the grains are affected and it may take some time for them to develop again. Kefir is generally thicker if made at higher temperature but may lack flavour, due to more yoghurt making bacteria and less yeast working.


Replied by Nandarani~nancy

I know you will probably not see this but thanks for making me laugh! ;D I mean.... it's wonderful to read 'not many people like my grains' - because I guess I'm like you.... I try to give stuff and generate enthusiasm but it doesn't always work. Thanks again....

How to Make Ginger Ale Kefir

Posted by Larry (Abbotsford, BC) on 09/15/2014

I found a recipe to make ginger ale kefir with milk grains used in water, mmmmgood.

Kefir grains, 2 quarts water, 2 large tablespoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon tumeric, 1/4 lemon, 1/4 lime, 5 thin slices of ginger.

Let sit in dark spot 1 to 3 days.

Every one likes it even though they don't like the milk kefir.

Replied by Jr
Michigan, Us

I thought I heard that you weren't supposed to use honey with Kefir because it would kill the grains? How many times can you use the kefir grains doing this?

Replied by Lardiver

I have been using the milk kefir grains in the water ginger ale for a couple months.

Replied by Lardiver

I have come up with a new way to use kefir, its like making greek yogurt but with kefir.

Use 3% milk to make the kefir, let sit for 2 days, strain off the kefir grains, pour kefir into a towel suspended in a container so the whay can drip off. ( not cheese cloth, to big of a weave ) let it sit on counter for 2 days, after 2 days you will have 1/4 kefir left and 3/4 whey, #1 with the kefir make whip cream by adding sugar and vanila extract, no need to beat, or #2 add salt to taste and spices to your taste to make cream cheese. great on crackers. you can find recipes to use the whey to make several things, I like lemon pie.

Replied by Elena
New Zealand

The easiest way to drain kefir is to heat it up to around 35-40°C inside and then drain through the cheese cloth or muslin. It drains within a couple of hours, not days this way. I make fresh cheese (Tvorog) this way. All bacteria and enzymes are still intact at this temperature, Tvorog keeps fermenting in the fridge.


Replied by June Rose
Leeds Uk
5 out of 5 stars

I made the Ginger Ale Kefir, thanks for recipe, it is really good, and I drink it often.

Increased Life Expectancy

Posted by P. Raghavan (Virudhunagar, Tn, India) on 08/15/2016

Kefir and Life Expectancy

During tenth century, some shepherds in Bulgaria accidentally discovered Kefir when they kept goat milk in their leather bags lined with goat's intestine. The probiotics in the goat's intestine multiplied in the stored goat milk. When they drank this fermented food, they felt healthier and energetic. They kept this information as secret. They supplied Kefir starter only to their friends and relatives on condition that they should not supply kefir starter to anyone else and also should not reveal its benefits to other people; otherwise, kefir will loose all its powers.

In the year 1905, Russian Government ordered its scientists to rediscover kefir. Russian scientists went to Bulgaria and rediscovered kefir. Then kefir production started in Russia. Russian doctors gave kefir to tuberculosis patients and people with intestine problems initially. According to the document available in the net " Home remedies that some people have said worked for them ", some people are still taking kefir to cure tuberculosis. Kefir contains about 30 probiotic strains whereas ordinary yogurt contains only 2 probiotic strains.

Russian microbiologist who won Noble Prize in the field of medicine (year 1908) " Ilya Mechnikov " did a study on kefir. He divided the population of Bulgaria into two groups:

1) Kefir consuming population

2) Non-kefir consuming population

He counted the number of people who were above the age 100 in each group. The number of people who were above the age of 100 per 10000 population in Kefir consuming population was very much higher than that of Non-kefir consuming population. His conclusion was kefir consumption increased life expectancy.

My own feeling is if a person takes one half of kefir in the morning on empty stomach for about 2 days in a week regularly, can expect his / her life expectancy to go up and will face less number of medical problems since a considerable number of diseases originate in the digestive system.

Best wishes P. Raghavan.

Replied by Bibi

P. Raghavan, you wrote, "If a person takes one half of kefir in the morning..."

A half of kefir? Do you mean a half cup? I take 4 ounces of dairy kefir daily for my ibs. I have done some research, but I don't think I ever heard of on an empty stomach. I'll have to try it that way and see if it makes a difference. I usually take it before bed (over 2 hours after my last food) so that I get the tryptophan. I also add turmeric paste to it before drinking. Not so very tasty, but I am blessed to be able to drink it down without actually tasting it.

For those who don't like the sourness, do a second ferment to mellow the taste. (Strain out the kefir grains, then cap the strained kefir milk tightly and let sit on the counter, unrefrigerated, for several hours. If it gets effervescent and you don't like the sparkle then just don't leave it so long. Mine is thick, creamy and not sour at all after 2 hours out like this. Then put in refrigerator.)

Replied by P. Raghavan
Virudhunagar, Tn, India


There is a typo error. It should read as " If a person takes one half cup of kefir in the morning ..." instead of " If a person takes one half of kefir in the morning ...". Sorry for this error.

Some probiotic strains in kefir may not survive in stomach acid. Stomach acid will not be there in the morning on empty stomach. If one takes kefir in the morning on empty stomach, the effectiveness of kefir will be high.

Best wishes. P. Raghavan.

Replied by Ecwannabe71

Don't quote me, but I thought I heard somewhere that natural death (as opposed to an accident) starts in the gut.

Replied by Herbal
Ontario, Canada

Hello Mr. Raghavan,

I was reading on kefir, also started making it, and having it for week. While reading I came across this site and it was wonderful to read. I have a problem that somewhere within a day or two, I got a very bad pain in my back and it is still persisting. I took pain kill too, as it was difficult to breath..I think I started with a cup..I want to continue...Please if you can give some suggestions.

Replied by P. Raghavan
Virudhunagar, Tn, India


You may be either allergic to kefir or have infection in the pain area. Find out the problem.

Best wishes,

P. Raghavan.

Replied by Elena
New Zealand

If you use kefir itself, not the grains as a starter, inoculate milk with a small amount of kefir, then your next kefir will be milder in taste. Kefir made with the grains is actually a starter in the commercial setting, it may have too many bacteria and yeast.

If kefir is left on the bench to ferment more after it is ready (thickened) it will have a buildup of lactic and acetic acid which will eventually suppress the yeast and bacteria. Not really good to have too much acid.


Kefir Side Effects

Posted by Tp (Knoxville, Tn) on 06/03/2018
0 out of 5 stars

I have been making and using kefir for about a month or so and like it drink 20oz or more a day, morning+night. I have recently been experiencing very loose stool and gas. I have high BP and type 2 diabetes. But I take metformen twice a day 1000m for it and stays around 100. For BP I take lisinopril, amlodipine, metaprolol, hydrochlolothiazide (! )

Could any of these with kefir be the source of the diarrhea?

Replied by Tim
22 posts

First you will to discontinue consuming kefire for a few days and see the result. Diabetes most often is cause of SIBO, so the main thing you must do is to reduce, even exclude all fats from your diet. It will stop your diarhea&gas immediately. Milk&all milky consist of sugar called galactosa, non -digestion of which, in your case, may lead to serious problems with liver, so as globuls of triglycerides( milky lipids). Make the changes in your diet only and you will avoid al troubles.

Wish you best.

Replied by Charity
Faithville, Us

Kefir should be started at a tolerable dose of 2 TBSP and then work your way up as your gut restores the enzymes gradually... I can tolerate two cups a day . No diarrhea

Posted by Mitchell B. (Nottingham, Uk) on 02/06/2017
0 out of 5 stars

Over the last couple of weeks I've been making kefir from organic whole milk, and enjoyed the results. I've also made some delicious kefir cream cheese. But I've found since having it that my appetite has shot through the roof, and especially a desire for sweet food. I've always had a good diet but have a tendency to put on weight. However, recently lost two stone in weight at Weight Watchers, so obviously do not want to put this back on through an overactive kefir driven appetite. When I stopped having the kefir my appetite returned to normal. Has anyone else experienced this?

Posted by Joy (Falls Church, Va) on 05/06/2013
0 out of 5 stars

Hi, I have been drinking milk kefir every morning for more than a week and I noticed that it makes me acidic. I have lots of saliva and betwen 3-5 am, I have to wake up because of acid reflux. I am vegan and do not do dairy, except kefir since I want to try it out. Has anyone experienced this? This morning I change the milk to soy instead of regular dairy.

Replied by Cz
Winchester, Va

Soy is very dangerous for our health unless it is first fermented. You are a vegan and not used to dairy. Start with a small amount of kefir and build up. Being a vegan is also very dangerous for your health.

Replied by Pam
Springdale, Ar 72762 Usa

Joy from falls, you need to drink water kefir not soy it is made with water and is wonderful contact me and I will tell you how pjaco (at) cox (dot) net.

Replied by Sam
Miami, FL

Water kefir? Are you talking about kombucha? Kefir is made from milk, cow or goat. Goat kefir is available even at some Walmarts.

Stay away from any form of soy unless it is fermented.

Take everything you read with a grain of salt. GOOD, reputable sites to educate yourself, based on the LATEST research are

The Daily Lipid and If some scientist or doctor makes sense, Dr. Mercola woould interview him. Period.

Posted by M.chris (Dallas, Texas) on 09/29/2012
0 out of 5 stars

I am not lactose intolerant, but kefir give diarrhea, but I can eat butter, youghurt, cheese, milk. I love kefir.

Posted by Deirdre (Atlanta, Georgia) on 10/21/2010
0 out of 5 stars

I started making homemade kefir early September after hearing such great results from our Thousand Oaks, California Lisa. I purchased the grains online and used organic milk to make the kefir. I agree with Lisa that it makes your skin look great and your nails grow like crazy! Unfortunately, however, I am one of the few people who react badly to the enormous amounts of what we figured must be tryptophan in the kefir. It makes me unbelievably sleepy and happy-goofy with brain fog. I put up with the side effects for 2 weeks before giving up. I even tried putting the grains in goat milk to see what would happen. Same reaction, though not quite so potent. I had a similar reaction to hyaluronic acid containing inositol that Alfred from Bangkok, Thailand had recommended! Incidentally, the kefir does not have the same effect on my husband, who feels nothing, good or bad, after drinking kefir for the last few weeks. The uniqueness of each person's brain chemistry truly amazes me. I would love my siblings to try the homemade kefir to see if they react the same way as I do. I suspect they would!

On the subject of brain chemistry -- I accidentally discovered that my brain craves B vitamins when I bought a gluten and dairy free chocolate bar with (surprise, surprise) added B vitamins. 2 hours after eating a bar, I feel a calm and somewhat euphoric state set in that lasts for hours. I am also discovering some concoctions of fresh vegetable juice having the same effect; namely parsley greens, celery, apple, lemon and ginger.

Good luck, everyone! Thanks for all your wonderful sharing.

Replied by Carly
Seattle, Wa Usa

Hi Deidre - That is really interesting. I was just cruising the internet looking at the Kefir thing and Lisa's posting on it last night. I know a few people who would pay money for those side effects on a Saturday night. Lol (just kidding I think). ;-) I am really wondering what it tastes like. Is it like drinking liquid yoghurt ? Do you think it may have been the infamous "herxheimer" effect? Everything Lisa and the web says about it just sounds so darned good. I am still considering it.
Thanks for the feedback and your experience with it! Carly :)

Replied by Roger
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Deirdre from Atlanta, Georgia, you might try water kefir. I doubt if the water kefir microbes make tryptophan.

Replied by Julie
Atlanta, Ga

Deirdre, The brain fog you experienced from kefir is what Donna Gates, author of the Body Ecology Diet, states comes from an over growth of yeast (candidiasis). Check out her website at - her diet has changed my quality of life by giving me good health back & now I drink kefir without the brain fog symptoms.

Replied by Susan
Salt Lake City, Utah

I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome a few years ago and I was taking medication for it and they said I was going to have to be on the medication for the rest of my life but when I started drinking the kefir I dont have any side effects from it and I have been drinking it for months. In fact, it totally lowered my blood pressure and it is even getting rid of my pcos and my cysts.

Replied by Amit
Delhi, India

Hello All

Lowering of blood pressure is the first thing that happened to me after the very first consumption of home made milk kefir( 30 -40 ML). It has a sedative like effect, maybe thats what people are calling brain fog...( actually I experience a kind of sleepyness which goes away after 20-30 minutes). But the blood pressure remains lowered for a long time. This is very good for someone like me who has high blood pressure. I almost dont feel the need for my BP meds but I stay on them to be on the safer side.

Once the sleepyness goes away, the head clears up and feels sharper and more alert.

The skin look and feels better.

My Breathing is better.

(Initially after taking kefir, my sinuses started clearing , a lot of mucous came out. for a couple of days.)

Another good effect of the milk kefir which I observed upon myself was that my acid reflux was GONE! This happened inside 2 days. I have a feeling that taking too much of kefir brings back some acidity. So now I just take about 5-6 tea spoons at a time(1 mouth full).twice in a day and give a break of 1 -2 days after every 5-6 days.

I would recommend taking the milk kefir fresh and directly after straining the seeds/grains. It did not seem so potent when I had it after keeping it in the fridge.So if I want to have it after an hour, I cover it and let it sit in tumbler at room temp.

incidentally the kefir I make comes via a "milk kefir "culture I bought from someone who got it from Australia.

I would recommend Milk Kefir. I think its heart friendly too.Its definitely lowered my Blood pressure.

Google> Dom Kefir to go to Dom's site. A load of Info there on Kefir.

Warm regards ,

Amit Nayar

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Amit,

Thank you for sharing your kefir story!

I love milk kefir. I found it interesting that it lowered your blood pressure. I thought I would mention, for those who do have low blood pressure, that I tend towards low blood pressure (90/60) but have never had trouble with it lowering my pressure further. Perhaps kefir, like many natural remedies, has a normalizing effect.

I will have to pay attention to whether or not the most fresh kefir seems more effective. A very interesting observation.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Nandarani

Hello Deirdre... You probably have made many more discoveries since writing in 2010 all valuable. At least now you know if you ever have trouble getting to sleep what to do... and the rest of us have more proof of it if we use it for that which am just beginning to do. If anyone can ever find book(s) by someone who wrote under the name Gurudas and was published by Pegasus Products get the book - there are details in it that go far beyond what usually we find - the foods you mention, for example - all the esoteric values of them. Have the flower essences book myself - which contains fruits and foods which bear resemblance to their flowers in terms of properties - spiritual, physical, and mental. There is a Spiritual Properties of Herbs book, and two volumes of gem and mineral information - have read them all and signatures having to do with properties and effects are all over. Celery is one: note the stringiness of it which relates to nerves - which it calms.

Kefir Tips

Posted by Ozmel (Melbourne, Australia) on 11/08/2013

Hello everyone, the kefir consumers,

I have been consuming kefir for the last 6 months. It really has done wonders for me for my bowel.

Please do not use metal utensils when dealing with kefir. It spoils in time. Instead of the benefits you will see ill effects. Metal containers, spoons, strainers and any other metal utensil will destroy your kefir. Wooden, glass and plastic utensils are the ones to use. You will see your kefir grow healthy and you will also take pleasure by sharing it with your friends.

Happy kefir making to all.


Replied by Planky
New York, United States
8 posts

I bought water Kefir grain on ebay and instructions were not clear. Put it in sugared water and waited 36 hours and still looks like colored water. What should I do?

Replied by Mike 62
Denver, Colorado

Planky: I make kefir everyday from organic whole dried cane juice, called sucanet or rapadura, and organic buckwheat flour. If you use white sugar you have to add some blackstrap molasses for nutrients. You probably got kefir grains that were dormant. It takes around 4 days for them to fully wake up. Put 30g sugar in a pint of water. Wait 24 hours. Taste. When slightly sour add another 30g. Repeat this proceedure. When the kefir is fully awake the water gets vinegry instead of slightly sour. Drink. Start the next batch with 4oz. from the previous batch. Bubbles rising to the surface show that the kefir is fermenting. After the kefir grains wake up you can make more than 1 pint. I make a gallon per day. You have to feed them 30g sugar per pint.

Posted by Frank (Perth/mindarie, W/australia) on 06/14/2013

Kefir is my GOD. I use it already on and off for over 25 yrs. I use it for many internal/external problems. Kefir lives/grows "only on full cream milk". I use it as a milk tester. If it doesn't ferment the milk, I know the product might be marketed as milk, but according to my very reliable expert "Kefir", the fluid I bought as milk is only some overpriced coloured water. I did experiment with just about any milk on the market (soy included). It will probably ferment some of the not so good milk as well, but it wouldn't grow on it. The growth factor of my Kefir is an indicator for the quality of milk. If the culture/Kefir grows like crazy, I know I bought a top quality milk. If after the fermentation I am being left with some murky fluid, I wouldn't touch it at all. Treat Kefir as you would treat any food product! It can go off. If it goes off it still doesn't mean it is dead! Strain it and add fresh milk. Repeat the process a number of times. If the Kefir responds and grows, it will revive itself and can be used again with no problem at all. As long as one follows the simple rules of the Kefir cultivation, I never ever met anyone who ever developed or had any health problems or complications caused by Kefir, maybe with stupidity. (There are always some odd ones, mainly because their body just doesn't respond to anything any longer. THE BODY'S NATURAL RESPONS/COMMUNICATION IS ALREADY IRREVERSIBLY DAMAGED BY DRUGS/MEDICATIONS, therefore gives misleading info.)

Kefir should be kept in a dark place, maybe in a glass jar, with the lid lose. Fermentation needs oxygen. Kefir lives preferably on full cream milk. Any type of milk can be used, but the growth and the quality of the culture/Kefir is always an indicator! Time for the fermentation depends on the amount of Kefir, the amount of milk, and the temperature. Fridge isn't a good place. Cold slows down the growth/fermentation. May even kill the culture/Kefir, just like heat can. The best quality you've achieved when the milk is fermented and lightly thickened all the way through. If it separates, you are being left with a level of conglomerate/waterish liquid, and thickened Kefir, smells acid and not pleasant (light lemonish, sourcream smell), you left it too long. Can be used maybe for another condition, but most of the time it is an indication it is off. You left it too long. I definitely wouldn't drink it, or wouldn't offer it to my friends. In my experience the best time is around 18-24 hrs. Again the amount of milk, the amount of Kefir and the temperature, plays an important role. Make sure the Kefir you use is Kefir and not something else. People in Health Food stores should have the knowledge to give you the proper information. Although there is a problem! It grows endlessly, therefore "THANKS GOD" nobody can make any real profit out of it. The legend says it was given to the Muslims by their GOD. A more reliable version says! It originates from the Caucasus in Russia, where the mountain people used to carry their goats milk down to the villages and on the way back the grains they bought down there in exchange for their milk. The two things started to germinate creating the culture called Kefir. Good luck!

Reader Feedback

Posted by Lisa (Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa) on 09/16/2012

It's been great to see all this talk about kefir for this past week or so. I don't remember who posted first but, it was a great reminder of my kefir grains. I had been wanting to go back to kefir making since I've returned to making fermented veggies. Well, yesterday, I dug them out of my fridge where they have been residing in milk for well over a year and a half. I know kefir grains are extremely hearty because of Dom's kefir site but wasn't sure how they'd fair after such a long time in a jar of milk and neglected... Well, this evening, I am happy to say, they are alive and well and ready to make their amazing kefir once again. Good luck everyone in kefir making! Lisa

Replied by Paula
Yreka, Northern California, California

I would love to get some Kifir Grains and I wonder if anyone up in the Northern California/ Southern Oregon area is making Kifir. Or, I will pay for shipping/handeling. BTW, I have heard it is best to use raw unpasturized milk to make kifir. Any comments about this? I know it is possible to obtain good healthy raw milk. Thanks.

Replied by Ed2010
Oakville, Canada

Hi Paula, try your local classifieds website or get from ebay. thanks

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Paula, I posted not that long ago to someone else looking for kefir grains. When I first started my interest in making kefir, I didn't know better and bought mine from a commercial site. As I would research more and more, I found you could obtain them for free. There are kefir groups all over the internet. I'll post a link to a couple of them for you.

You can google and find more. Many are willing to just share their grains. When you start making your own kefir, your grains will multiply and you can then share them with your friends and family. I did with mine and everyone really appreciated that.

Also, I made all my kefir with raw milk. It was my preference but it isn't necessary. If you can get raw milk, by all means use it. It's full of real nutrition and healing.

Best to you, Lisa

Replied by Joni
Selma, Oregon

Hi Paula, I live in southern Oregon and have kefir grains if you are still needing some. I don't know how to send you my email address privately.

Replied by Kim
Vancouver, Wa

I'm inquiring about kefir grain starter. How much u charge? I live in Vancouver, wa. Please email back. Thank u.

Replied by Lk
Jersey City, Nj

I have a question. I have stored my kefir grains in milk and it has been sitting in the refrigerator over 2 weeks and I opened it up today. It seems the milk has gone spoiled. I read from your posting that you put the kefir in a jar of milk and kept if over a year and a half. Did you ever change the milk at all? When you reopened the jug, I suppose the milk might have gone bad. How was it and how did you re-start the kefir? Thanks in advance. LK

Replied by Ed2010

It is not spoiled. It is just a separation of whey (liquid watery substance) and kefir. Strain the whey, and add some more milk. It is good to use. I have in my refregirator for more than 6 months the kefir grain without getting spoiled. when I need to start a fresh batch I take the kefir grains and use it.Good Health

Replied by Tg

Just rinse your kefir grains in fresh milk, discarding the old milk. You may want to use less milk for the next batch and toss that one, but those things last a long time. They can get contaminated if you don't follow sanitary procedure (if one falls into the sink, don't use it anymore--feed it to the pet). You can tell if it's really gone bad by the smell--it just won't have that good smell to it. And, if it gets slimy toss it. For long-term storage, I rinse mine with water and then set them on a paper towel to dry. When thoroughly dry, can take several days, put them in a baggy with some dry milk powder and store them in the freezer. When you are ready to use, pull out as many grains as you want to use and put them in milk. Mine usually rejuvenate within 24 hours. There are 2 sites that have a lot of info about kefir--do a search for Dom's kefir page and the kefirlady. Great info on both.

Posted by Merryanne (Orange City, Florida, Usa) on 11/12/2010 120 posts

Well, I am a newbie with kefir, a lady gave me some grains, clump like a piece of cauliflower and I used powdered reconstituted milk. Well I got a bunch of white clobber floating on top of some yellow water. OK, so I went back to my trusted computer and went to you tube and looked at there stuff. OK, so I mushed threw the white stuff and found my firm grains, put them into fresh made milk and put into the fridge, put the yellow stuff into a jar into the fridge, put the white stuff into a covered container into the fridge. OK, Now after drinking yellow stuff and eating white stuff on bread, I made this 4 or 5 times and found more firm pea size balls- new grains?

Then I order some from eBay from a person in California said a couple of dollars for 1 Tablespoon of grains. OK, Then they get here and I see a spoon of milk in a baggie and a few yellow dots. I read the paper and it is 1/4 teaspoon of grains. OK, I fix the milk and it WORKS, but where is my GRAINS??? OK, I do the milk again and it works(I used all the white stuff)

OK, question: What is What?? How do I grow grains? How do I use this for my health? How do I make a usable spread with the white stuff? What is the proper names to the parts of this?

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Merryanne,
I have been making kefir for about 3 months now quite successfully and have been enjoying the benefits even more! I will try to answer your questions.

First, the grains start off small and they are yellowish in color and yes, as they grow, they look like tiny cauliflowers. Those living grains will grow over time and you can then give them to others so they can enjoy the benefits of kefir for themselves or you can eat some of them for even more benefits. You will usually see them start growing after about a couple of weeks.

As for the kefir, it can be different consistencies and that is contingent on time, weather conditions, the amount of milk to grains. I live here in CA so it's pretty warm most of the time. In the 24 hours that I let my grains do their work, my kefir often separates. That's when you see the curd separate from the whey. The whey is the yellow liquid, the white is the curd. I just shake my jar up so it all comes back together and then I strain it into a bowl before putting it in a glass bottle. I drink my kefir straight but people often add fruit, juice, etc for flavor.

As for growing the grains, you want to add a sugar in your milk as well because the grains feed on it. You have to use a real sugar, no substitutes. I like to use blackstrap molasses in mine because my grains really thrive on it and I'm also getting the benefits of BSM as well. If you want to make a useable spread, you can strain the kefir through a nut milk bag or cheese cloth and then you'll have kefir cheese which can be spreadable.

The health benefits are countless. So as not to repeat myself, I have a few posts here on earth clinic in the kefir section and give a couple of website links you can go to to learn all the health benefits. Hope this info helps, Lisa

Replied by Jamie
Lakeworth , Fl

Hi Merryanne, what did you do with the original grains? How you described the way your grains arrived in the mail was about how mine got here to. It sounds to me like you got kefir on your first attempts. What I do is let it ferment for about 24 hours. What you described is what I usually get. I use a 48 oz. Pickle jar, add about 32 oz. of milk maybe a little more. I do not add sugar of molasses. Although I have read you can even use coconut milk, but your grains wont grow. I would use my extra grains for experimenting. If I didnt have time or I didn't use my last batch of kefir I just put the jar in the refrigerator, with the grains in it. I have noticed this seems to make a creamier kefir. When ready I put a mesh strainer over a 1/2 gal pitcher. I take a wooden spoon and gently push the globs of kefir around.

Then all I have left is the grains, they as of late seem to have a slime on them. From what I have read this is normal. It takes about 3 or 4 dumps of the pickle jar to empty it. I think that is where you may be falling short. Putting it through a strainer emulsifies the kefir, so it is like drinkable yogurt. I have heard of people who put the kefir in the blender after they get the grains out. You can do it the way you are doing it but it is much more enjoyable as a beverage to me. I add stevia for sweetener, a drop or two of vanilla. I sometimes put grated coconut in it and stir. I have a coffee sock, that is a cone shaped piece of like cheese cloth that is on a round plastic piece. I use that to pour my unstrained kefir in. I get a whipped cream type consistency ball of kefir. I put that on fruit, or baked sweet potato. Oh you have to fish the grains out before putting it into the coffee sock. I got that in the Spanish store, they use it to out coffee in and pour boiling water through. I also want to mention they say not to use metal when making kefir, utensils or vessels. Also chlorine like in the public water supply will kill the grains. About the only thing that will. I put water in my tea kettle, fill it up. When I am done straining my kefir, for the next day. Like you would let tap water set before adding it to a fish tank. My grains have grown tremendously in a couple of months. I got about 1 tablespoon and have already gave some away, still I have over 1/2 a cup. The amount of grains and milk directly relates to how long it will take to make the kefir.

Replied by Merryanne
Orange City, Florida, Usa
120 posts

Thank you for the information, at least now I know the name to the different parts on the stuff in the jug. ha, ah.. But I still can't find the little yellow dots that I paid $4 for. I hope she has sense enough to be ashamed of herself, but I was stupid enough to keep them and not make a scene on eBay. But, I have to say, her grains(dots) made a nice smooth tasting curd, um, I do love growing it, I am learning to grow yogurt, then I may cross some of both my kefir grains and see how they taste, um.. Have a um-my weekend everyone, and be Blessed EC

Replied by Jamie
Lake Worth, Fl

Merryanne, you lost your grains? Geez, this is a hard luck kefir story. Tell you what, since we live in the same state, I can send you grains free. I will even pick up the postage. I have just split up my grains and I imagine that it may take a couple of weeks to get them growing again. My e mail address is on this post so e mail me with your information. I will then be able to keep you up to date as to how well my grains are growing. Then you will know when to start looking for them in the mail. I was surprised as to how little grains it took to make the kefir. I think I started with about a table spoon. The directions were to divide into 3 separate 2c. Containers. I put them all into one. I think they may shrink in the mail, since they are not being fed with large amounts of milk. When I got mine it was still very hot out.

Replied by Rhonda
Port Orange (daytona), Fl

Where can I get starter grains? I am very interested in trying this.

Replied by Stonefieldsian
Auckland, New Zealand
Replied by Jamie
Lake Worth, Fl

I have kefir grains, I would be willing to share them. Even though we are in the same state you are a couple hundred miles north of me. I would have to mail them. Let me know how I can contact you.

I would recomend finding out how to care for the grains, they are living things. You will have to do a couple of batches to get the adjusted to the kind of milk you use.

Replied by Karen
Macon, Georgia

Jamie... I am in Georgia and have been searching for kefir grains from someone close. If you still have some available, would you be willing to ship them to me? I will gladly cover your costs. My email is: sktx94 (at) hotmail (dot)com

Replied by Tradervic
Boynton Beach, Florida, Usa

To Jamie in Lake Worth, FL: I would love to start making my own kefir, and I see that you are practically my neighbor --- I actually live next to Lake Worth Christian School. If/when you have kefir grains available, I would love to buy some from you and would be more than happy to pick them up at your convenience. Thanks! Hope to hear from you. :-)

Replied by Jamie
Lake Worth , Fl

Please do your research, it is not difficult or time consuming, however it does involve some time.

Posted by Lisa (Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa) on 10/12/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Hi everyone, I haven't written for quite awhile but I wanted to say that my most recent journey has been with kefir. Those of you who know me know that I have been through many of the remedies here on earth clinic and each has been wonderful and beneficial. Still, I am always in search of alternative remedies/ protocols for ultimate health. I continue with my hyaluronic acid, once to twice a week I take apple cider vinegar and baking soda in water in the morning and zeolite once to twice a week as well to remove heavy metals/toxins.

For 3 months we were about 90% raw and had green juices everyday for 10 months. I had been dealing with excruciating pain in my body for 5 years and the juicing and raw really brought that to an end and all within about a week. I continue to not eat pasta or mainstream bread and no dairy. With that, I began to learn about kefir and had been making my own young coconut kefir for about 4 months drinking it daily. Then, I began to learn a lot about milk kefir. I was concerned about it because I had pinpointed the culprit of my pain was dairy so I was hesitant about milk kefir. I did a lot of research and what I learned was that those who are dairy intolerant rarely have a reaction to real kefir. I say "real kefir" because I'm not talking about commercial kefir but rather making it yourself at home with living kefir grains. It has been a little over 2 months now that I have been drinking it daily and have fallen in love with it. The benefits are amazing. Although I saw my skin change with green juices and going raw, I saw it change yet again with milk kefir. I have had melasma for the last 10 years or so and with the kefir have seen it disappear. Also, I notice my lungs feel very strong and when I'm teaching my voice is very strong and I can speak all the way to the other side of the room. I feel steady and calm when I drink it too. My nails grow unbelievably fast now and my digestion is really good too.

When I first started researching this, my thought was, this sounds miraculous but could it be true? The history of kefir is also fascinating. So far, it is proving to be a miraculous food. It contains over 30 strains of bacterias and yeasts that the body needs to stay healthy and strong. It can combat candida and prevent candidiasis. Anyway, if kefir is something that interests you due to its benefits you can google it and find lots of info. There are sites you can order living kefir grains from which I believe is the way to go to truly get the benefits that are claimed about kefir. Don't just get the commercial kind in the store. Also, if you buy the grains, they live forever because they are self-propagating so you never have to buy them again!

Here's to our health! Lisa

Replied by Elsaeasterly
Elsewhere, Ca, Usa

Hi, Lisa,
Good to see you back! I'm glad you're having such good results with kefir. Do you use raw or pasteurized milk for your kefir?

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Elsaeasterly! Thanks for the welcome back! I use raw milk to make my kefir but it's available here in CA and legal. That sounds so weird- real milk, legal. Still, in my research you can use pasteurized milk to make it as well. Either will work, I just think the health benefits of raw milk are superior to the pasteurized. Do you make it?

Replied by Janice
Coloma, Mi

Hi Lisa, it's good to see your posts again. You have gotten me interested in Kefir. I'd like to try to make it and wondered where you got your grains? I have been on youtube watching videos but have a gazillion questions. Do you know of any good web-sites to get more information? Thanks.

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Janice, Thanks for the welcome! In regards to kefir, I have found one website in particular of great interest. It is quite a comprehensive site on this subject in its many forms.

I'm sure you will find all of it fascinating and informative. As for buying kefir, I purchased it from but people acquire it all sorts of ways. There's a yahoo group I belong to which people offer their grains for free- if you live close by you can pick them up or you can pay just shipping and they send them to you. price seems to be $10 that most ask for.

There are other kefir making groups that you can google and find as well which offer the same thing. I recall one that I found listed people all over the world and they make their own kefir and offer their grains for free as well.

If you have questions I would be happy to answer them although I think the site I gave you covers all of it!

Replied by Elsaeasterly
Elsewhere, Ca, Usa

No, I haven't tried making it yet. I have bought it, and I thought the plain would be hard to drink, but I don't mind it at all. I'm sure that raw milk is superior, but I do have reservations. Do they sterilize the udders? There is a reason for pasteurization, so how is the safety of raw milk ensured? It kind of grosses me out a little, like I might as well go up to the cow and take a drink. I'm not saying I will never use it, clearly it hasn't made you sick, I'm just hesitant.

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Elsaeasterly,

Actually, I did a lot of research on raw milk because I started hearing controversy on pasteurized milk and since I always like to research anyway, I thought I should understand this subject. The first person to bring my awareness to this subject was Dr. Joseph Mercola and he had a lot to say on it! You can find information on on the Weston Price Foundation as well which is an amazing source of information on the importance of whole, real foods.

Also, I noticed that you are here in CA one of the states where raw milk is legal. Organic Pastures is a raw dairy farm here in CA and I get their raw milk at our farmer's market and also at a local health food store. If it interests you, go on their site and you will learn so much! The farm is very humane in the treatment of their cows and the strict laws and guidelines that raw dairies are held to are a world above the pasteurized milk dairies. You will actually learn some scary and disturbing things about pasteurized milk dairies. I hope you take the time to read about the differences- they are quite eye-opening!

Oh, one other interesting thing is that my husband and daughter cannot tolerate milk but after studying about raw milk, I introduced it to them because they both love the taste of milk. Well, neither of them had any adverse reactions as is the common reaction for those who are "lactose intolerant". Because the milk has not been heated to destroy all the enzymes and nutrients the milk is handled differently by the body. As a result, we have continued to use it regularly in addition to my kefir making!

Replied by Bb
Atlanta, Ga Usa

I buy raw milk & make kefir & yogurt from it. Though the directions say to boil the milk, I thought WHY destroy the milk?! ? Therefore I only heat to about 80 degrees & cool a bit before innoculting. It sits on my counter for 24 to 48 hours til thick, them refrigerate. You will never go back to commercial products again.

Replied by Janice
Coloma, Mi

Thanks for those web-sites Lisa. I have visited them briefly and will definitely check them out further when I have a little more time. I'm going to try to get some grains and give it a try. I guess my only concern is that hubby and I won't be able to use it up fast enough and I'll have the stuff growing out of my ears! ... Hmm they say the grains look like cauliflower. That would give me cauliflower ears! ..

Replied by Lily
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Hi Lisa from Thousand Oaks, I know you can buy milk kefir grains and water kefir grains, but on a website called yourkefirsource they say you can use the milk kefir grains in water but you have to wait nearly a week for fermentation due to the change of medium. I was wondering if you have heard of this. Lily.

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Lily,
Yes, I know of this. You can cross mediums w/ the milk kefir grains in water but they will eventually die. It will only work for a period of time. It's best to order water kefir grains for that purpose and retain your milk kefir grains for milk. If you need a source for water kefir grains, I can give it to you or you can go to the Yahoo Group I also cited and ask members if they have any they can send to you. It should only cost about $7 which is for shipping and handling. Hope this helps. Also, if you check out the website that I posted at the top of this thread you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about kefir! Hope this helps, Lisa

Replied by Lily
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Hi Lisa, thank you for your reply. I had read a few posts regarding the milk kefir grains not lasting in water because of the lack of lactose. Some people seem to have success with it and others none. I can buy water kefir grains here in Australia so I shouldn't have a problem. I have ordered some more milk kefir grains already because I didn't change the milk in my last batch before it went off. Thank you for all your posts, we all appreciate your amazing input. Lily.

Replied by Butterfly

Hello Lisa,

Afte reading your post about kefir, I ordered it to make my own home made kefir drink. I am having melasma for last 7 years, and nothing till date has helped me. However, your post has encouraged me to drink kefir. I want to ask if we can add cold freshmilk straight from the freeze to kefir grains. Also, let me know if kefir is effective when prepared with pasteurized milk and not with raw milk. Since here it is not easy to get the raw milk.

Please update your progress with kefir for melasma. I am keeping my fingers crossed, and hoping to get positve results soon.

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Butterfly, I'm glad you ordered kefir grains! Did you check out the sites I recommended?

Now to answer your questions. Yes, you can use cold milk right out of the refrigerator to add to your grains. It's no problem at all. I leave my kefir on my counter to ripen as well after it's done. It builds the beneficial bacteria and reduces all traces of lactose. Any kind of milk can be used as well so, pasteurized is fine. You can also experiment to see how you like your kefir. If you like it a bit fizzy then close the lid to your jar. If you'd prefer flat just set the lid on top w/ out tightening. The longer it ripens the stronger it gets too. So if you'd rather it not be too strong, you can refrigerate it after it becomes kefir. Some people actually use powdered milk and it works too!

And as for my melasma, it has been greatly reduced since drinking kefir. Almost to non-existent.

Anyway, hope this info helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! Lisa

Replied by Butterfly

Hello Lisa,

Thanks for the prompt reply and quick info. Yes, I have checked the sites regarding kefir. My kefir is coming out fine, and I do like it's taste too. I like to refrigerate it before drinking since here it is quite warm. Hoping to get the benefits of kefir soon.

Replied by Sunny
Hyderabad, India

I want to know where live kefir grains are available in India. Can anyone please help me?

Replied by Butterfly

Hello Sunny,

You may find the kefir grains in India in limited cities only.

Just google, Water kefir grains to make Probiotic drink at home-Jaipur. Here, you will get the info regarding kefir grains.

Replied by Butterfly

Hello Lisa,
I am drinking kefir for curing the melasma. How much kefir should ideally be consumed since presently I am taking a cup of kefir in the afternoon. Should I take it in the morning or this is okay?

I want to know if I can also drink Apple cider vinegar along with kefir. Will it accelerate the process or kefir is enough to help me remove melasma?

I have also read about grapefruit seed extract for melasma. Have you used it? Please share your views.

Please also let me know if you have seen the fading of brown patches or permanent disappearance of the spots with kefir.

Replied by Sue

Hi Butterfly from Singapore, I am Sue from Singapore and am interested to purchase some kefir grains from you. How can I contact you?

Replied by Butterfly

Hello Sue,

I have recently started making kefir, and it takes time for the grains to grow.

But, if you are really interested in purchasing kefir grains, just google, Kefir grains sharing in Singapore, and you will find a blog. This person share his kefir grains with many people. You may contact him, and he will surely help you.