~ Food Has Power ~
I've not used kefir starter as it only has 7 microbials and REAL kefir grains have 56+ beneficial microbials. Kefir grains are free, or less than $15, all over the internet for a lifetime supply.
Here is more about easy homemade probiotics:... http://heal-thyself.ning.com/profiles/blogs/homemade-probiotics
Actually, kefir grains have many microbials which retard growth of pathogenic microbials. "Bacteriocin ST8KF (bacST8KF), produced by Lactobacillus plantarum ST8KF isolated from kefir, inhibits the growth of Enterococcus
Basically, consumption of kefir could inhibit the growth of Enterococcus faecalis. And listeria and salmonella! http://lib.bioinfo.pl/pmid:17719671
And kefir appears to inhibit the growth of E. coli. http://lib.bioinfo.pl/auth:Vinderola,CG
This is a long and fascinating discussion of probiotic organisms: http://sci.tech-archive.net/Archive/sci.med.nutrition/2008-01/msg00269.html
Everything Probiotics: http://heal-thyself.ning.com/profiles/blogs/everything-probiotics
Dom, the Kefir King's site: http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html#intro
Furthermore, freshly made kefir can have an average microbial count as high as 10 billion cfu/ml of beneficial probiotics.
Consumption of milk kefir and soymilk kefir suppressed the IgE and IgG1 responses. (decreased allergies)
Kimchi has even more beneficial microbials. I'm making my first batch today. Over 200 microbials!!
Our gut microbial balance includes 500-1000 microbials. Kefir helps bifidum to reproduce, and colonizes the gut, not just transiently passes through.
Homemade REAL kefir is one of my favorite topics. :-D I totally trust kefir. Kefir has been around for over 2000 years.
I believe that real food has more benefits than processed food. And is much less expensive, because kefir reproduces itself and you do not have to keep buying more again and again.
Just found this quote, "The usage of kefir allegedly originated over 2,000 in the Caucasus Mountains (that border modern-day Russia and Europe), where people seem to live easily to 100 and above." The "longevity" benefits of kefir are renowned.
Here are 1680 research studies on REAL kefir grains on PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed (just type in kefir)
Kombucha has different microbials, specifically Saccharomyces Boulardii which displaces and replaces candida albicans in the gut. The issue with this is, as candida is displaced it "dies-off" and releases toxins and mercury (if mercury toxins are bound to it). Skin is a detox pathway, as are lungs and other mucosal surfaces, so the toxins can excrete through the skin and have a "candida flare" effect (with consuming kombucha when you have mercury issues).
Kefir does not have Saccharomyces Boulardii.
The microbials of kefir thrive in a symbiotic balance indefinitely when provided a food source. REAL kefir grains have hundreds of more research studies and history than any processed starter package of microbials or bottle probiotics.
MICROFLORA OF KEFIR GRAINS is well documented: http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html#composition-of-KG
I will caution that kefir has so many more beneficial microbials that only a teaspoon has more microbial benefit than any probiotic capsule. Start with small amounts of kefir, if your gut is messed up. Microbials are recolonizing and shifting the gut microflora whenever we consume any probiotics. Kefir has 100x more microbial benefits due to the variety and quantity of microbials, just like fermented vegetables do.
Kefir grains reproduce easily. And if you check at your local health food store, oftentimes people post "Free Kefir" on the bulletin board. I have kefir grains from half a dozen sources and they are all combined and thriving fabulously!
Even your teeth feel cleaner and healthier when you drink kefir. The whole body microbials are optimized.
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