Strep: hiding in your yogurt, kefir, probiotic…

If you have a child with PANDAS, you have a fear of strep that’s right up there with nuclear war and ebola.  Other parents fear child predators.  You fear an outbreak of strep at school.  It’s no joke when a little germ can make your child lose her mind.  And you feel like you’re losing your mind right along with her.  We protect them where we can, we disinfect, we sanitize, we douse them in essential oils, and we pray.  We pray.  A lot.

Now, to add to your list of ways you can protect her (or him) from strep invaders.  Get them out of your refrigerator!!!  Yeah, the super healthy stuff you’re putting in her lunch box, it’s full of strep.  Sorry about that.  Here it is.

Probiotics.  How hideous to find out the probiotic you’ve been forcing your kid to take actually has strep strains in it.  Check the label.  We use Gut Pro, off and on, strep free and formulated for PANDAS.  I figure we get lots of good probiotics in our camel / donkey milk, so I’m not a huge pusher of the powder all the time.

Yogurt.  Yep.  That yummy store bought yogurt that’s full of “good probiotics”, also, most likely, contains strep strains.  (also called Streptococcus thermophilus, or S. Thermophilus, so it doesn’t sound so scary.)  For Pandas kids, this can set them off.  Sorry, Dannon.  Get out, Yoplait.  We don’t need you round here no mo’.

Milk Kefir.  Sorry.  We loved it too.  I pushed it whenever we were on antibiotics.  Little did I know ““Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria…[such as] Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.”

Water Kefir.  Ugh.  I thought this one would be ok…alas.  Look at the other name for Streptococcus strains.  Right there at the bottom of the list.  Species Streptococcus: S. lactis

So.  What’s a PANDAS mom to do?

DONKEY MILK!!!  Donkey milk has 8 strains of probiotics, and the unique L. Plantarum strains boost butyric acid production, which is linked to gut microbiome health.  More info here: Italians Target Infants with Donkey Milk Probiotics

KOMBUCHA!!!  Yummy, you can make it yourself, (order a scooby on Amazon.)  Or you can buy it at the health food store for premium prices.  I’m not going into how to make it, I’ve done it, my girls love it, and it’s awesome.  And way cheaper than store bought.  Still, I love the fizzy store bought variety.  Delicous.  And nutritous.  And STREP FREE!!!  This is the best post from Harmonious Belly that I’ve found summing up the strains in each of the above.  She spells it out, so I don’t have to.

And Kombucha is supposed to help fight strep!  Who knew?  Love it even more.  Too bad I have to share it with the kids.


This post is written by an anonymous mom. PANDAS disease is ugly. It’s practically unheard of, but it’s not rare. 1 in 200 kids has it. That’s right up there with childhood diabetes…but my pediatrician had never heard of it. This leads me to the question, how many kids out there are misdiagnosed, drugged for “behavioral issues”, OCD, schizophrenia, ADD, Autism, ADHD, Anorexic, or taken from their “bad” parents by well meaning doctors, teachers, and lawyers who don’t know about PANDAS. How many parents are searching for answers every night, in silent agony over losing their child, and have no one to talk to, no one who understands. This blog is for those parents. Those doctors. Those teachers. But mostly, it’s for those children. The ones with the fear in their eyes and the haunted look. The chapped and bloodied hands from washing incessantly. The lost childhood.

Lord, multiply this, share it with those who need it most. I don’t have time, or resources, or knowledge to get it into their hands. If it will bless them, let this reach them. In Jesus Name I pray for each hurting child. Amen.

This blog exists for informational purposes only. Posts should NOT be regarded as medical advice.
No author or commentator shall be liable for advice given.

It is every parent’s responsibility to determine whether camel milk, donkey milk, specific supplements, the ACC protocol or other biomedical interventions are appropriate for their child.
Furthermore, dosing for vitamins and supplements needs to be tailored to an individual’s needs with the help of a professional.

Thank you for reading the blog, please share it with those in need of hope!



18 responses to “Strep: hiding in your yogurt, kefir, probiotic…

    • I do make my own suarkraut (fermented cabbage), but I haven’t given it to my PANDAS kid…or, rather, she won’t eat it. If you have information on what strains of bacteria are in fermented veggies, fire away!

      • I never did culture analysis, so I can’t be sure about all cultures carrots I make contain. I do carrots exactly the same way as I do cabbage, only with salt without making brine. I add some red capsicum and 1-2 table spoons of cabbage to make sure I have enough liquid to kick start fermentation.
        I also know that both these products are beneficial to heal digestive system. But of course the taste of these products would not appeal to a child.

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  2. Thank you so much for this post! I have twins with autism who we treat naturally with diet, supplements, and homeopathy. Our homeopath sends probiotics that are strep-free, but not only are they pricey, they’re probably not very alive by the time they get to us as they must be shipped and are supposed to be refrigerated. She suggested I look into making our own kefir and I was going to go with the water kefir until I read this. If Kombucha is the way to go, that’s much easier for me as our health food stores sells lots of it. I’ll buy that while I learn how to make our own. It’s expensive, but not as expensive as a $76 pack of probiotic capsules that’ll last me 15 days. Thank you for saving me time, money, and most importantly my kids from a strep strain!

    • Hi Sara,
      I’m so glad it was helpful! Probiotics are so expensive, it’s nice to have an option that my kids love to drink! There is also a probiotic called GutPro that is strep free, if you need to supplement the Kombucha. It’s expensive, but it lasts forever. Good luck making your own Kombucha too, it’s not that hard once you get used to things growing in your kitchen. 🙂 God Bless you and your sweet twins! Thank you for taking time to comment. I really appreciate your kind words.

    • There is a group on facebook called “Healing with Camel Milk”, they’ve discussed camel milk kefir there. I really can’t answer that since we never tried it. Blessings!

  3. Great article. Thanks for sharing. Yes I was shocked to find this in my reaserarch too. We also use GutPro
    Where do you get donkey milk.
    Could you advise me the best way to find it.

    • Hi Monique, I’m so sorry for my late reply! If you are in Oklahoma, you can pick up donkey milk at our farm. Unfortunately we can’t ship it (legally.) The only place in the US that ships their donkey milk is

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  5. Hi! Great post! I was wondering- do you worry about cheese? I am on this journey and have cut out S. Thermophilus in all probiotics and we don’t even buy yogurt- but I am trying to find an answer about cheese and having a hard time. It’d be amazing to be able to keep it around what with the food restrictions we already have going on with him.

    • Hi Maggie, thank you! Actually, I would recommend a complete paleo diet, which means no cow milk cheese, or goat milk cheese. After being paleo and dairy free (except for the donkey milk) for three years, we now add in the occassional cow milk cheese or milk, but honestly, I try to limit it because it still affects her negatively if she has too much. And it’s such an indulgence that we tend to overdo it. And on a personal note, I’ve noticed that when I have cheese or cow milk I feel bloated and my throat hurts, or I feel phlegmy…so I know it’s not a good choice for us. We do use butter in our paleo baked goods occassionally, but not often…usually it’s coconut oil. On a good note, Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain book “Celebrations” is on sale on Amazon now for $2.99! It’s normally over $30…and I love her first two books. (I’m not getting a kickback, just sharing because I love her recipes, and it makes life as a paleo mom so much easier!!!) 🙂 So, all that to say, I would definitely cut out the cheese. 😦 Sorry…I know it’s not easy!

    • Some cheeses are acid set, and not made by using lactic acid bacteria (such as S. thermophilus). Unfortunately, most cheeses are made with S. thermophilus.

  6. So, this article is completely false…. Streptococcus thermophilus is not a pathogen, not even to immune-compromised individuals. It doesn’t have the capability to infect humans. Just because it is a Strep species/strain doesn’t mean anything. You also have a species/strains naturally colonizes your skin and intestinal tract.

    There are over 50 species of Strep bacteria in several different Groups. According to literature, PANDAS is diagnosed by histories of Group A strep or beta-hemolytic strep. Which the bacteria used in cheese, yogurt, etc. are not and do not even have the genetic code to be an infectious agents to humans. They’ve actually never been linked to a single infection…ever. The species of Strep classified in Group A, are infectious. You really need to look up the types of SPECIES found in this group and then look up it’s natural habitat and avoid (aka Streptococcus pyogenes).

    Please don’t listen to crazy people just because they say something in a blog and don’t know the facts and are too ignorant to look it up. I work with this bacteria every single day. It has never been the cause of any infection…ever. Please look it up. There are also tons of other things that Streptococcus thermophilus is used in and it’s not just cheese and yogurt, it’s used in many other products produced by fermentations as well.

    • Hi Gina, thanks for your cheese expertise, I looked you up on facebook and saw that you work in the cheese industry. Interesting. However, please check your facts on auto-immune disease and consult with an immunologist before labeling me as a “Crazy / Ignorant Person”, and re-read this post carefully to fully understand. I never stated that the streptococcus in cheese was causing strep infections. Let me clarify for you what happens with children with PANDAS. Often times their immune system is on hyper alert status, and extra sensitive to strep in any form, so when they are exposed to strep bacteria (in cheese or yogurt or kefir), it can trigger their immune system to go into overdrive and cause a flare. In fact, I spoke to a nurse at Moleculera Labs (where they do the only laboratory test in the world for PANDAS) and they had a patient who spent $15,000 on IVIG, (google it), and afterward they went into a horrible flare. They hadn’t had a case of strep throat, or been sick. They finally traced the trigger to the streptococcus bacteria in their probiotic. The same bacteria that you are claiming is harmless for kids with PANDAS.
      I hope you never have a child with PANDAS. But if you do, please re-visit this blog with an open mind and a less judgmental attitude.
      And if I ever attempt to make Pule Cheese, I’d love your assistance in developing it, without Strep strains.
      And forgive me for taking so long to reply. It often takes me a while to formulate a response to this type of comment that is appropriate.

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