Does water kefir help coeliacs? - Gluten Free Guerr...

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Does water kefir help coeliacs?

Hi everyone,

I thought I'd post this question as everyone was so helpful earlier in the year when my son was going through hell!

He finally got his diagnosis for coeliac disease in July, after a lot of prevaricating by the hospital he had been referred to for his biopsy in March.

He is maintaining a gluten free diet but he is still suffering from bouts of IBS-D, he has had a follow up appointment at the hospital where the consultant recommended that he continue on a low dose of Amtryptaline (10mg or mcg ) daily as she said this will help.

Having been undiagnosed for about 4 years and constantly being told that his symptoms were all in his head has left him somewhat anxious which I think exacerbates the IBS-D symptoms. He is now in his second year at Uni and coping well with the work and attending most lectures.

He does have another concern as he is due to spend a year abroad next year, as part of his degree, so ideally I would like to help him to get on top of his symptoms as much as possible before he goes away ( the fact that he is even considering this is a huge leap forward as he almost gave up altogether before his diagnosis!)

So the main question is would water kefir help to calm his symptoms down and has anyone else with coeliac disease tried it with success?

Sorry for the long post, also I wasn't sure whether to post here or on the IBS forum but since he is definitely coeliac I thought someone here might be able to help.

Many thanks in advance.

22 Replies

Hi Knitwitty

Eating fermented foods is certainly recommended to increase the healthy bacteria in your gut. I haven't tried water kefir yet, but I have started trying another fermented product, sauerkraut. If your son is ok with dairy, has he tried live-culture yoghurt?

I think the general advice is to start with a very small amount and to increase this very slowly, to give yourself time to adapt to it.

Well done to your son for coping so well with all the challenges in his life. I do hope he can sort out his digestive problems.

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Hi Penel

Many thanks for your response, he seems to be ok with dairy and I have encouraged him to eat live yoghurts, I came across the kefir when reading the 'clever guts' book by Michael Mosely. However from being a small child he has never liked milk very much so I thought I'd try the water kefir grains first, they don't contain as many of the healthy bacteria as the milk but I was working on the premise that some are better than none!

I am very proud of him, as he has really struggled with his health over the last few years and he was determined to continue with his studies.

Thanks again for your help.

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Good old Michael Mosely and his books, very informative. I've put a book on fermentation on my Christmas wish list. I don't cope well with milk, so will have a go with water kefir too.


Hi again, if you need any information about where I got mine just let me know and I'll message you back with the details, I'm not sure if it will need to be a PM as I'll be advertising a specific company.

Water kefir is really easy to make, I can let you know how I did it if you need any help. Once the water kefir grains start multiplying, ( if you feed them) they go berserk and you get loads!

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Thank you, that would be very helpful.


Hi Penel

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond, I was trying unsuccessfully to post my instructions for making water kefir but for some unfathomable reason I was unable to copy them, says it all regarding my computer skills!

I bought my kefir grains from amazon marketplace from a company called Living probiotics, the total cost was £5.23 if that helps you to locate the correct seller.

The grains were dispatched really quickly and they arrived in a small plastic pouch which I put into the fridge as I didn't have all the equipment to get started. I had also ordered a book on water kefir fermenting which didn't arrive as quickly as the grains.

Living probiotics send you really good instructions with the grains and they also email you to tell you what equipment you need.

I have used:

1 litre glass kilner jar (seal removed)

1 litre glass kilner bottle

small plastic funnel

glass measuring jug

plastic sieve

I also have used evian water to make the kefir and unrefined golden caster sugar.

My grains have multiplied really quickly and I am now storing the excess in sugar water in the fridge, I think this puts them in a sort of suspended animation.

When you are making your kefir you need to replenish the sugar water every 24-48 hours, I decant mine into the glass jug then into the kilner bottle, each batch makes about 1/2 litre which I then mix with fruit juice, I can't quite bring myself to drink it neat!

When the fermentation is complete, after 24-48 hours, the liquid smells a little yeasty/ sour this is quite normal.

You then mix up the next batch of sugar water and put your drained grains into that and start all over again.

I remove the seals from the kilner jars to prevent a build up of gas as the kefir is fermenting, I do however close the lid.

I hope that is helpful if you need any more info just let me know.

Sorry again for the delay in replying.

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Thank you. I shall give it a go.


Hello Knitwitty,

I would suggest pro biotic yoghurt, I make mine using EasiYom it cme sin powder form and is very easy to make if you go to the Easiyo site UK, otherwise you will shipping from NZ.

i have never heard of Water kefir, so cannot comment on this. i do know probiotic yoghurts do settle IBS and are food for Coeliacs.


Hi Fidgetsmum

Thank you for taking the time to respond, I used to make my own yogurt years ago but since I was the only one to eat it I gave up.

I shall encourage him to continue eating his pro biotic yogurts, he sometimes has Greek yogurt with fruit too.

I have been drinking the water kefir( which I mix with fruit juice as it's a little tasteless otherwise) I have had fewer digestive problems since drinking it.

It is extremely easy to make once you get started, mine is multiplying at a fast rate!

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

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I don't have coeliacs but suffer from ibs-d. I use milk kefir and can honestly say my symptoms improve greatly. You should start with a small amount to start with as it can make symptoms worse to start with and then build up as the body gets used to it. From what I have read it would benefit anyone with stomach issues. Definitely worth trying!

Good luck with it!


Thank you Padders12 for responding, as I mentioned above to another poster I thought I'd try the water kefir first as he has never really been keen on milk or milky tasting things.

I'm glad you are benefitting from drinking the milk kefir yourself, Thank you again for letting me know of your experience with the kefir.

He is back home from uni again in a couple of weeks, I shall ply him with some more water kefir.

Hope your IBS continues to improve.


Don't know about Kefir haven't tried it but something I use all of the time to help soothe & alleviate my symptoms is enterosgel, which you can get from Lloyds Pharmacy etc. Also maybe he needs to establish if other foods bother him if he is still reacting. Also probiotics, particularly VSL via the GP help hugely.


Hi virgolizzy

Thanks for responding, I shall pass on your comments re: the medications that he can ask his doctor for.

I have bought a FODMAPS book which we can look at over Christmas, when he will be home for a few weeks. I understand that it is a very restrictive diet to begin with, perhaps not the easiest thing to follow over the festive period!

If you wanted to make your own kefir it is super easy, you buy the water grains from amazon and you place them in sugar water ( I use mineral water)They ferment for a couple of days and you then strain them and start again. I mix the fermented water with fruit juice.

Mine have been multiplying like crazy!

Good luck if you give them a go!


Hi again virgolizzy

If you wanted to have a go at making your own kefir I have given some information higher up this thread to Penel. Hope it is useful.


I have been brewing milk kefir over 3 years- it is amazing stuff and great for the gut. Water kefir I found a bit to alcoholic


Thanks Jessiepup

For replying, I had thought about making some milk kefir, but I was a bit wary about liking the taste, do you drink it straight or do you make it into a smoothie or use it for cooking etc.?


I have it with banana and blueberries / raspberries with a teaspoon rae honey before bed. It is an aquired taste (tastes better than it smells) it is a very potent probiotic and should only start with 1 teaspoon and increase gradually.

If you have trouble getting grains then let me know (if you are UK?) I can send you some as mine grow well. Started from same batch 3 years ago, its the cheapest health food


Thanks Jessiepup for the info regarding the quantity you should start with when you first eat it, I probably would have started with a yoghurt pot full and made myself sick!, and thanks for the offer of some grains.

I had already identified a seller it was just a matter of taking the plunge and having a go at making some.

You may have convinced me that it's worth a go!

Good health.


My OH was diagnosed with coeliac disease in July as well, and he's still experiencing some IBS-like symptoms every so often, so I half wonder if it's the healing process?

What is his living situation like? Is there a chance he's getting cross-contamination?

There's a growing number of gut healing diet books coming out at the moment, including a number of recipe books - I would recommend trying one of those! But stewed apples with cinnamon are also very good for healing the gut.


Thanks Cooper 27

My son is away at university, so he is a bit restricted regarding food prep. He bought himself a huge slow cooker and tends to batch cook his meals and then freeze them. He is in uni accommodation but he has told all his flat mates about his condition and they are very careful regarding cross contamination. He had a repeat antibody test a few weeks ago which showed that he is sticking to a gluten free diet.

I think many of his IBS like symptoms are possibly due to nerves as he was told for a very long time by numerous doctors that his constant diarrhoea was all due to exam stress and nerves, I fear that worrying that he could do nothing about it has left him somewhat lacking in confidence.

I have just bought the clever guts cookbook so we shall be embarking on a variety of goodies when he is home for Christmas.

I hope your OH continues to improve and that his IBS symptoms get better.

Thanks again for responding.

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I've just bought that recipe book myself :) I really hope it helps, their guts have such a lot of healing to do!

This apple recipe was recommended to me by a nutritionist, so I would also pass it along. It takes 1 hour in the slow cooker:

It's great his housemates are so accommodating - it can be hit & miss when it comes to halls!


Hi again Cooper

Thanks very much for the link and the recipe it looks lovely, I shall have a go at making it myself so that he can try it out when he is home in a couple of weeks.

I shall also send it to him so he can have a go himself.

Good health.


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