First, it is important to stress that all types of kefir drinks contain live bacteria and yeast. Milk and water kefir are no exception.
Therefore, if you still do not have experience with kefir or any other probiotic food containing live microorganisms, it is good to take some precautions.
The first and most important rule is to start consuming kefir carefully, gradually, and step by step, by testing the reactions of your body first.
Begin with a spoonful of kefir a day, then increase the dose to two spoons. If everything is fine, try a teacup, then two.
The optimal daily dose of milk kefir for healthy individuals is around 0.5 liter, up to 1 liter a day.
There is not enough scientific information to determine the “best” dosage of kefir. Your appropriate dose of kefir depends on several factors, such as your age, health, and several other conditions.
Remember that natural products are not always safe for everyone and an individual approach to dosage is essential.
Women should take special precautions for the periods of pregnancy and breastfeeding. While kefir is considered safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mums, it is a good idea to read more details in our articles “Kefir during pregnancy” and “Kefir while breastfeeding“.
Milk kefir is regarded as possibly safe for kids between the ages of 1 and 5 years, but only for no longer than 10 days in a row. For more than 5 years old kids, kefir is considered perfectly safe.
Immune system precautions
All types of kefir are potent immune system modulators! As such, kefir is known to balance and harmonize the human immune system, which is precisely what most people usually are expecting from kefir.
Some diseases, however, called autoimmune diseases, are due to “overreactions” of the immune system, and consumption of kefir from people with autoimmune diseases may lead to a risk of aggravating the symptoms of their conditions.
In case you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, please consult your physician before taking any probiotic, including kefir.
In AIDS and other conditions that weaken the immune system, kefir may be a concern. This milk beverage contains active bacteria and yeast, and there is some concern that people with a weakened immune system might be more prone to infections from these bacteria and yeast.
In people undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer, kefir might increase side effects such as stomach and intestinal problems, mouth sores, drowsiness, sweats, and hair loss.
Patients should take special precautions when taking medications that suppress the immune system (Immunosuppressants).
The first reason is that kefir acts as an immunomodulator that can interfere and inhibit the treatment with immunosuppressants.
Secondly, as kefir contains live bacteria and yeast, it is suitable for healthy people with a stable immune system. Medications suppressing the immune system can increase the chances of getting sick from the bacteria and yeast of kefir.