Study: One Glass of Kefir Equals a Month’s Worth of Probiotics

Drinking one 16-ounce glass of kefir has as many beneficial bacteria as a whole bottle of expensive probiotic pills

Researchers from the University of Maryland recently counted the number of beneficial microorganisms in dozens of fermented foods.

The results of the 2016 study were published in the scientific journal Integrative Medicine.

Kefir scored first place for the highest for the number of living beneficial bacteria, ahead of yogurt, kombucha, beet kvass, and even the most powerful probiotic pills on the market.

According to the study, popular brands of both cow’s and goat’s milk kefir had 1.2 trillion viable bacteria per pint.

The most potent probiotics on the market contain about 50 billion colony-forming units per capsule, or 1.5 trillion per bottle.

That means one 16-ounce glass of kefir is equal a month’s worth of the highest-quality probiotic pills.

Kefir also had the greatest variety of bacterial species of any of the fermented foods tested, ten in cow’s milk kefir and 11 in goat’s milk kefir.

The brands with the best bacteria counts were Green Valley Organic (cow) and Redwood Hill Farm (goat).

At $3 a pint for the former brand, you’re getting the same number of beneficial bacteria as you would in a $30 bottle of probiotics.


Sauerkraut was not tested in the study, but similar unsubstantiated claims have been made about it.

Internet holistic health guru Dr. Mercola reportedly sent his homemade sauerkraut to a lab to have it analyzed in 2012.

“We found in a 4-6 ounce serving of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria,” Dr. Mercola claimed in a video.

If true, that means a pint-sized jar of homemade sauerkraut is equal to about 8 bottles of probiotics.