Kefir is often described as a great choice if you have acid reflux or stomach problems but is kefir really good for acid reflux?
Kefir can be helpful for acid reflux for some people but for others can also make their acid reflux worse. This comes down to the root cause of the acid reflux and how the kefir may or may not effect it positively.
Below we will get into this in more detail to help you decide if kefir is right for you.
Is Kefir Good or Bad for Acid Reflux?
For more people than not kefir should be a fine choice even if you have acid reflux. Of course, there are some exceptions to this that I will cover below.
Before I do that it’s important to talk about kefir itself. If you didn’t know kefir is fermented milk. Because it has been fermented means it is high in natural good bacteria such as the well-known lactobacillus and a selection of other probiotics. This can help the balance of bacteria in the gut which often can lead to improving acid reflux for certain people.
Cultured foods like kefir have been known to have anti-inflammatory properties. This is also beneficial if you have acid reflux because there is often inflammation that can occur in the esophagus and digestive tract. There this anti-inflammatory effect can help to alleviate them symptoms at least somewhat.
When it comes to the acidity of kefir it is around a 4-4.5 pH. This makes it acidic on the pH scale. While it is not very acidic it is sort of a middle ground when it comes to acidity. This means people with more severe acid reflux like GERD or LPR may need to be more aware when taking it as the acidity alone could be a trigger for some. Of course, this is more typical for people with more sensitive acid reflux and isn’t really the cause for most people with acid reflux, but it is something important to be aware of.
The second troublesome element of kefir is the fact that is high in bacteria. Even though it is good bacteria for some people with digestive issues this can lead to further problems.
For instance, people with SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth) have too much bacteria build up in the small intestine where it shouldn’t be. This can often lead or contribute to acid reflux problems for them. When someone with SIBO takes kefir this adds more bacteria to the mixture and this will often contribute to the SIBO which in turn will make their acid reflux worse.
Also kefir and good bacteria is often touted as a great thing for gut health and that is true though it’s not an overall solution that helps everyone. For instance, people with IBS may find some improvement from taking kefir though others might find that it worsens their IBS and this in turn can also worsen or contribute to their acid reflux too.
It’s worth mentioning that as kefir is made from milk it may be troublesome for certain people. Some people may be intolerant to diary or lactose and often taking any or too much dairy can be problematic. If you know you are prone to problems with dairy it probably is best to avoid kefir and find an alternative.
Overall, what we recommend if you want to try kefir is to start with a small amount and see how you feel. If you are known to have gut issues like IBS or SIBO it would be best to start slowly and take more later if you notice that there is no negative effect.
The same applies if you have more severe acid reflux start with a little amount of kefir and add more the following time if you notice no downsides from taking it.
If you only have more occasional acid reflux it’s less likely that kefir will worsen your acid reflux and may even in fact help alleviate some of your symptoms.
Important Related Questions
When Should I Take Kefir for Acid Reflux?
There is no specific time for taking kefir that works better for acid reflux. For example, taking kefir as soon as you wake up on an empty stomach can work well for some people. Also having some kefir after a meal can also be helpful for some. Though keep in mind that kefir not a guaranteed fix for acid reflux and can be troublesome for some people.
Does Drinking Kefir Help with Acid Reflux?
Drinking kefir may be helpful for acid reflux for certain people. Though for some people kefir may actually make their acid reflux worse. This is usually on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, if you want to try kefir to help your acid reflux it is usually a good idea to start with a small amount and then work from there.
Does Kefir Give You Indigestion?
For certain people kefir may give you indigestion. This could be for a host of reasons such as it being dairy, being high in bacteria or being too acidic. Each people has their own triggers but it’s likely it could be one of them that has caused the indigestion.
Is Kefir Good for Inflamed Stomach?
Kefir can be good for an inflamed stomach thanks to having anti-inflammatory properties which can help to ease the inflammation. Though you will only really get the benefit if you are not negatively affected from some of the other factors that we have covered more about above.