health benefits of kefir, probiotics

One of the most useful-and widely used-medications for type 2 diabetes, metformin, is known to cause digestive distress for some of the people who take it. One reader found, however, that drinking the fermented milk beverage kefir could help alleviate the symptoms.

Metformin and Diarrhea:

Q. I have type 2 diabetes for which I take metformin. Unfortunately, this medicine gives me severe diarrhea. At times I have been afraid to leave the house. My doctor just shrugs and says diarrhea is a side effect of metformin.

I have discovered that drinking kefir in the evening helps control the diarrhea. I don’t like the tart taste, but the drink has helped me a lot. It took about three weeks before it took effect and I got control of my bowels.

A. Diarrhea can be a symptom of a serious metformin side effect, lactic acidosis. Ask your doctor to check for this complication.

Why Might Kefir Help?

Kefir is fermented milk. This provides probiotic bacteria that may help stabilize your intestinal flora and help control diarrhea (Rosa et al, Nutrition Research Reviews, June 2017). Kefir appears to provide a range of health benefits (Bourrie, Willing & Cotter, Frontiers in Microbiology, May 4, 2016).

People with diabetes may also find that kefir can help lower blood sugar and HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar over time) (Tonucci et al, Clinical Nutrition, Feb. 2017). Even though the taste doesn’t please you, you’re smart to stick with plain kefir. Many of the flavored kefir products are sweetened, which might not be good for blood sugar control.

Taking Care of Your Diabetes:

We discuss the pros and cons of metformin along with many other strategies for blood sugar control in our Guide to Managing Diabetes.

Everyone with diabetes needs to be monitoring blood sugar as well as managing any symptoms. While natural approaches can be beneficial, they should not be used as a substitute for appropriate medical care.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Susan S
    Reply

    When my husband increased his Metfromin dose, he suffered from diarrhea for about eight months. He didn’t get rid of it until he stopped eating all dairy, fermented dairy included.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Total
USD
Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.