Kefir for Cancer: An Easy Potential Home Remedy

 

Although it’s not very well-known, there is a product at most grocery stores now that has been studied as a potential treatment against a variety of cancers with extremely positive results. It’s called kefir, and it’s a fermented beverage (either water or milk) filled with beneficial probiotics. From the numerous studies done on kefir, it has been found to:

  • Increase the number of good cells that fight cancer
  • Decrease the proliferation of cancer cells (preventing tumor growth and metastasis)
  • In one study, “tumor disappearance” was observed within 20 days in mice treated with kefir daily (Source, pg. 4 of full text, under “Sarcoma”)
  • Decrease the number of bad bacteria in the digestive tract that can cause some types of cancer, such as stomach or intestinal cancer

Warnings

Before going any further, it is very important that you know these two warnings about kefir:

  • A 2003 study in rats found that KEFIR PREVENTS RADIATION FROM WORKING (and therefore should not be taken during radiation treatments).
  • A 2014 study review found that, although rare, probiotics can cause sepsis (a life-threatening condition) in people with cancer, possibly due to the commonly seen immunocompromised state.

Disclaimer

I am just an independent researcher sharing with you what I’ve found about this subject from studies available online. However you decide to use this information is completely your responsibility. Please consult your doctor about this information for your own safety.

Quick Overview

Kefir is a grain that looks like cauliflower or cottage cheese, though you don’t eat that part. The grains are put into a liquid, either water or milk (dairy or non-dairy milk) and in 24 hours it ferments to create a beverage that is filled with beneficial bacteria (probiotics), then the grains are strained out and used again. There are many premade kefir drinks available at grocery stores and they come in a variety of flavors. You can also order kefir grains online (Amazon, etc.) and make your own beverage for a fraction of the price of the premade varieties if preferred – more on that below.

The Studies on Kefir

There have been numerous studies on kefir and specific strains of probiotics found in kefir against a variety of types of cancer, including skin cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, leukemia and more. Here are some study findings to illustrate how promising kefir is for cancer treatment in general:

A study from 2007 compared various doses of milk kefir against breast cancer cells and found that at a low dosage (.63%), kefir stopped the growth of the cancer cells, and at a higher dosage (2.5%), it killed off 56% of the cancer cells within 6 days. This study also showed that kefir had no effect on normal (non-cancer) cells.

If you really want to be impressed, look at Figure 2 from this 2016 study on mice with breast cancer tumors using water kefir ingested by mouth as the treatment. In that figure, you can see in the top (pink) area the bad (cancer-growing) mitotic cells are much more prevalent in the sample from the non-kefir group of test subjects, whereas in the lower (yellow) area, you can see the good (cancer-killing) apoptotic cells are much more prevalent in the sample from the group that consumed kefir.

The 1994 study that showed total tumor disappearance with kefir ingestion in mice was done using milk kefir at an amount of .5 mL per day for 20 days. A laboratory mouse is the species Mus musculus, which has a weight of about .68 ounces.

Kefir has been shown in multiple studies to both stop the cancer cells from replicating (proliferation) and also killed them (apoptosis). Here are a few more examples:

Although there has not yet been a study determining whether milk kefir or water kefir is more effective, a 2002 study in mice found soy milk kefir to be 6% more effective than dairy milk kefir.

According to the LA Times, there was a human trial done in 2007 in Japan that showed an increase in “natural killer cells” from consuming kefir.

Kefir has also been shown in a 2016 study to decrease the number of a bacteria in the intestines called Fusobacterium nucleatum that has been linked to intestinal cancer. Similarly, kefir has been shown in a 2011 study to aid in the eradication of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria known to cause gastric cancer.

Kefir for Chemotherapy Symptoms

A 2009 study showed that patients consuming probiotics had less sleep disturbances that are a common side effect of chemotherapy, however that study did not show a connection to kefir being helpful for gastrointestinal problems as hoped.

How to Consume Kefir

Buy

Most grocery stores and supermarkets like Walmart and Target have both milk kefir and water kefir available. Milk kefir is often located with the yogurts and water kefir is often located with the single serving juices. At health food grocery stores like Lucky’s and Whole Foods you can find even more of a variety – goat milk kefir, flax milk kefir, coconut milk kefir, etc.

Here are some brand names to look out for: Kevita water kefir, Lifeway milk kefir, Wallaby milk kefir, and The Greek Gods milk kefir. However, it is important to note that store-bought products contain additional ingredients that may or may not be recommended for use during cancer treatment which is another important reason to consult your doctor.

Make it: Here is a guide to making milk kefir at home and here is a guide for making water kefir. Water kefir is slightly different because it requires adding sugar to feed the bacteria whereas milk naturally has sugar in it that they will eat so no further preparation is necessary.

Kefir grains can be purchased online and reused indefinitely. There are many options for buying kefir grains through Amazon, or they can be purchased through Walmart.com. Although you will see some fermenting containers available online as well, according to The Pioneer Woman you really only need a jar with a lid, though a plastic strainer helps (metal should not be used with kefir).

Eat it: You can simply pour yourself a glass of kefir and enjoy, or there are other ways you can consume it as well. Milk kefir is thicker than regular milk, but can be used in place of milk or other common milk products in many recipes. Here are some ideas:

  • The Food Network recommends using it in place of mayo in pasta, potato or various other cold salad recipes. They have some other delicious ideas as well.
  • Here is a recipe for a kefir sauce that Pompeian recommends serving over a purple cauliflower steak, though it sounds like it would be good over pretty much anything
  • Here is a kefir oatmeal breakfast bowl recipe from Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen.
  • Here is a kefir nut butter recipe from CulturedFoodLife.com.
  • For even more great recipes, there are a few kefir cookbooks that can be found online through Amazon or Kindle.

Update:
Just 5 weeks after publishing this article, my oldest cat was diagnosed with cancer. It was difficult to hear of course, but I felt so much better knowing exactly what I could do to help her. I discussed kefir with her vet immediately and he told me to start her on it that very day, which I did.

Long story short, two weeks later I decided to switch vets and the second vet… said she never had cancer!! (Well, probably/hopefully doesn’t anyway. It’s more likely that she has Inflammatory Bowel Disease which minics Lymphoma so closely that only a biopsy can tell the difference, but unfortunately my girl is too old for a biopsy surgery. As luck would have it, kefir (probiotics and B12) is one of the main treatments for IBD as well! So we were already on the right track. As usual, I did lots of research as well and have been doing everything she needs to get her better. She’s doing extremely well now and I will be creating a post on how I treated her IBD soon.)

However, while believing that she did have cancer, I did more research. Turns out, the kefir sold in stores is usually made from what’s called a started culture. I wrote to Green Valley Creamery – the brand of kefir my kitty decided she liked the most, and the good people there wrote back a long explanation for me: certain bacteria strains are chosen from a kefir culture to be used in making commercial kefir. This is done to eliminate the need for filtering out the kefir grains from the final product and to get the desired taste, which is why some bottles of commercial kefir list only 12 strains and those strains vary from one brand to the next. Also, when kefir grains ferment, there is a small amount of alcohol present, which would require commercial operations to regulate. Point being, commercial kefir is based on natural kefir grains and it is immediately available, so it’s a good place to start. However, if my kitty had not had her cancer diagnosis removed, I was considering also ordering the kefir grains to make the full natural kefir product that was likely used in the research studies, but I needed to do more research on the alcohol aspect in regards to cats as even a trace amount might not be safe for a cat.

You can help!!

There are many home remedies online for cancer, but how much these ideas are actually being used is unknown – until now! Here is a quick little quiz asking about your plan to use kefir and if I can send you a follow-up email in a couple months to see how you’re progressing. The more people who help share their home remedy use and outcome, the better others will be able to determine which home remedy is right for them. As soon as this quiz provides any helpful information, I will update this article! (For example, I’m hopingto someday be able to say something like: “70% of people who took this survey that had cervical cancer consumed homemade water kefir daily achieved remission in 8 weeks or less.” Wouldn’t things like that be awesome to know!!!)

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