Can I buy milk kefir from a shop?

Do I have to make milk kefir myself? Can I buy it from the health-food store?

Milk kefir made for drinking in a huge vat by a company interested in making money is not as good as milk kefir you make yourself at home using fresh (never dried) milk kefir grains. In store-bought kefir, additions have usually been made, modifications to the fermentation process to make it less sour, more saleable, easier to package up, longer storage times.

The reason we recommend you make your own is because the stuff you make at home is clearly fermenting, and you know exactly what’s in it. This means the results you get can’t be later blamed on store-bought kefir, that may or may not have even had any live bacteria in it.

‘Good’ milk kefir means it is thick, sour and does not contain added ingredients at all, and nor does it need to be ‘low fat’ (usually means high sugar). Milk kefir in its natural state is not designed to be a sweet and delicious drink: it is tangy, sour and thickened, more like yoghurt than milk. It should not be pasteurised or adulterated in any way by heat, light or freezing. This isn’t clear on the label.

It should not contain any preservatives, additives, colours or flavours. If someone is selling you milk kefir as a drink, you’d want to know exactly how they made it, because people will sell you anything – diluted, dead, full of additives – if they think you will buy it because it’s ‘good for you’. We are suckers!

Flavoured options should never, ever be used, as they are full of all sorts of ingredients like colours, flavours, and worst, sugar. Milk is naturally high in lactose – milk sugar – but that is what the probiotics feed on while being cultured.

Look in your local health food store, and talk to them about what they have. Locally-sourced kefir that is not processed at all is best because it will contain the highest levels of live bacteria.

You are looking for in your milk kefir

  • Sour
  • Thick
  • Tangy
  • 100% natural
  • Freshly fermented
  • Live bacteria and lots of it
  • Many varieties of bacteria

Cooling kefir slows the growth and activity of the bacteria it contains, so there is a chance it may not be as active if you take it straight from the fridge. In this case I would recommend only using kefir at room temperature, so perhaps leave it in a warm spot (not hot) overnight so the bacteria can really become active before you use it vaginally or orally. You want active bacteria, not hibernating bacteria.

Original price was: USD $9.95.Current price is: USD $0.00. ex GST/VAT/TAX
Original price was: USD $9.99.Current price is: USD $0.00. ex GST/VAT/TAX
Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)