What You’ll Learn

Category: Guides
  • Probiotics have an effect on the gut-brain axis
  • The benefits of kefir, a fermented probiotic drink made from starter bacterial and yeast grains
  • Kefir vs Yogurt – which is better?
  • Product review of KePro, a natural kefir yogurt probiotic powder

“Take your Probiotics,” said everybody and their mother. Be it supplements or natural sources, probiotics have become a mainstay in people’s health routine. Nearly 75% of Americans were found to depend on some form of probiotic according to the Natural Products Insider global retail market report. Of this, 70% consumed natural probiotics.

Kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt are a few go-to natural probiotics. Expanding the landscape in this market segment is kefir, a centuries-old, yogurt-like drink which seems to be all the rage now in the United States.

What’s all the hype about kefir? And why is it different from good old yogurt? We’ll break this down below, talk about some kefir benefits, and review KePro, a kefir-based probiotic drink.

But first, let’s look at the gut-brain connection. A probiotics discussion without talking about the gut-brain axis would simply be incomplete.

The Gut-Brain Axis

The gut holds within it a second brain called the enteric nervous system which consists of 100 million nerve cells lining the entire length of the gastrointestinal tract. Scientists have found that the enteric nervous system is in constant communication with the central brain via the gut-brain axis.

In line with this finding, recent studies reported that the enteric nervous system affects not just digestion but also mood, behavior, and overall health. The popular phrases “gut feeling” and “butterflies” in the stomach are based on communication via this gut-brain axis. The Vagus nerve is central to this signal relay. Understanding how to regulate the vagus nerve via deep breathing goes a long way in restoring a state of health and homeostasis.

Probiotics and The Gut-Brain Axis – What’s the Link?

It is common knowledge that probiotics are needed to maintain optimal gut health. This includes digestion, absorption, and regulation of GI tract organ function. But when it comes to probiotics, there is more than meets the eye. In one study, the consumption of probiotics was found to be beneficial in Crohn’s disease and Irritable bowel syndrome.

Additionally, the gut microbiome regulates inflammation, mental health (anxiety and depression), stress, and even sleep! What’s more, these friendly microbes have even been linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Our gut microbiota is largely affected by our environment. And chemicals in processed foods, EMF pollution, stress, and negative emotions deplete the quality and diversity of this otherwise thriving ecosystem. Given our constant exposure to these microbiome stressors, probiotics are highly instrumental in maintaining gut health and can even restore the unique microbial signature required for overall health and wellbeing.

Related: The 7 Best Probiotics: A Clinical-Based Product Review

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk product similar to yogurt. It has been consumed for centuries for its probiotic properties. First originated in Russia, this tangy drink has now spread in popularity all over the world. Derived from Turkish, Kefir literally translates to “feeling good” which possibly explains how the gut feels after its consumption.

Kefir Grains

Kefir starter grains are a symbiotic mix of lactic acid-producing yeast and bacteria in a polysaccharide-protein mix. Fermentation begins when starter grains of yeast and bacterial colonies are cultured with milk for a minimum of 24 hours. These microorganisms multiply, ferment the milk and convert lactose to lactic acid. The final kefir product thus obtained has an impressive nutrient profile. Here’s what’s in it and why it is good for you.

Kefir Benefits

1. Kefir vs Yogurt for Gut Health

With over 60 strains of bacteria, Kefir holds several strains not native to yogurt, including Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter, and Streptococcus species. Additionally, beneficial yeasts in Kefir (also absent in yogurt) help control the population of destructive yeast species in the gut. Eliminating the bad guys responsible for yeast-related gut complications helps with overall gut health and aids in digestion.

2. Kefir Benefits Bone Health

Kefir is rich in both calcium and vitamin K. Calcium is a well-known contributor to bone density. In the context of bone health, Vitamin K content in kefir is a new and emerging player. Scientists are just now finding out that vitamin K2 in kefir is crucial for bone calcification and prevents calcification within kidneys & blood vessels. For this reason, it can be beneficial in people diagnosed with osteoporosis.

3. Kefir Could Have Anti-cancer Properties

The same Vitamin K responsible for enhancing bone health also has anti-cancer properties. Studies point to the fact that cancer patients who consumed kefir showed a marked decrease in cell proliferation in both leukemia and breast cancer.

4. Kefir Benefits Cognitive Function

We have seen that the gut microbiome influences mood and behavior via the gut-brain axis. Interestingly, in line with this understanding, kefir and fermented foods were found to improve cognition, owing to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The friendly bacteria in kefir have been reported to directly impact GABA production in the gut which then crosses the blood-brain barrier and positively affects behavior.

You might be thinking, okay, these kefir benefits are great! But what about the side effects of kefir?

Your gut might not be used to this new probiotic drink if you’ve never tried it before. When the gut is first calibrating itself to this new drink, bloating, cramping, and constipation are a few of the initial side effects of kefir. However, these gradually disappear with time.

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What makes KePro Unique?

The quality of starter grains directly impacts both the consistency and nutrient profile of the kefir final product. The makers of KePro use only the finest starter seeds to ensure quality control of this product.

Unlike other kefir drinks available in the market, Kepro is a unique powdered base for smoothies. The powder formulation of this product increases its shelf life compared to other kefir yogurt drinks.

Kepro smoothie base is a 100% preservative-free product. Shelf-life increasing preservatives can often be harmful to gut health in the long run, thus making KePro a healthier probiotic option.

As the KePro base is a powdered form, it is perfect for creating your own customized DIY recipes. KePro is thus a versatile product yet has an uncompromised nutrient profile.

Speaking of nutrient profile, KePro goes beyond fortified calcium alone. It is so much more than just a probiotic. Made with 100% natural organic components, this kefir smoothie base doubles up as a prebiotic as well. 

With no added sugar, no gluten, and no artificial hormones, KePro is high in healthy oils and fats which helps combat hunger cravings. What’s more, KePro has been used to benefit customers with hormonal imbalances, candida overgrowth, digestive issues, stomach ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Interestingly, the use of KePro doesn’t necessitate any pre-existing GI-related condition. Anybody looking to build up their gut protective barriers or even get a full gut cleanse can consume KePro and see beneficial results.

Additionally, KePro can be used for natural detoxification. The manufacturers of this product believe that cleaning up the system and eliminating toxins depends on the amount of toxin build-up. Thus, the desired results may be seen at varying rates in different people.

There isn’t necessarily a particular best time to drink kefir. That said, if you are experiencing poor absorption, menstrual cramps, and/or hormone imbalance, give KePro a try. It just might be what your gut is looking for.

Related: The Story and Science of Going with Your Gut (Microbiome) with Momo Vuyisich

Get Gut Happy

“Get-Gut-Happy” is a mantra we at Innovative Medicine stand by. After all, a happy gut = happy you! Is it safe to drink kefir every day? Why not! Having learned some of kefir’s benefits today, will you try KePro? Write to us. Or check out our other products that have been clinically tested by our medical team at the New York Center for Innovative Medicine here.

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About Anupama Sataluri

Anupama began as a clinical researcher with a Master’s in Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics. Working in healthcare for the past seven years gave her a bird’s eye view of how the industry operates. She worked with state-of-the-art diagnostics and witnessed the tremendous progress made by western medicine in robotic surgery, but also noticed disappointed patients walk away with minimal relief because of symptom based treatment. Her work in healthcare combined with her personal interest in ancient holistic practices has urged her to believe in a future of integrated medicine. As a content writer at Innovative medicine, she strives to make IM readers aware about their health & well-being. Through her articles, she hope to encourage them to rethink their beliefs about disease & healing, with a goal to ultimately empower individuals to become self-healers.