Pasteurized Kefir is 99% lactose free and has lots of probiotics , which of course are really good for you.
Raw milk is raw, not pasteurized and its proponents claim it way better for you than heat treated milk.
I'll be drinking at least 3 glasses a day, trying to get absorb able calcium, so I want to pick the best source: kefir or milk or raw milk.
PS: bonus points if you weigh in on cheese vs. kefir vs. milk vs. raw milk from a calcium absorb able perspective.
Homemade Kefir made with raw milk is the best... Store bought kefir is loaded with sugar and only contains a few strains of probiotics where homemade kefir can close to 40 strains and it also has very minimal carbs and sugars. I got my kefir grains from kefirlady and they were active right away.
Pasteurized milk is essentially 'dead', as the heating process kills off the live enzymes and denatures the proteins which can make it highly irritating to the intestinal tract and renders the minerals almost useless. Your body will have a tough time absorbing any calcium despite what these companies would have you believe. Futhermore, pasteurization and homogonisation make calcium far less bioavailable as to what you would see in raw milk (which is also brimming will live enzymes).
Raw milk from a reputable dairy farmer would win hands down. This article delves into the raw vs pasteurized milk debate in more depth.
Fermentation breaks down lactose, and so you don’t need that enzyme as long as you only eat fermented dairy products, such as yoghurt, kefir and matured cheese. This explains why those with lactose intolerance can often eat these foods. kresser has a great article about Kefir and its benefits. It's more complete and complex nutritional profile aids in the absorption of calcuim.
If you ferment pasteurized milk, (i.e. make kefir or yoghurt from store brought milk), you are essentially helping to rejuvenate the damaged proteins which helps to make the minerals more bioavailable. So it would be better than drinking the pasteurized milk.
From this, it's clear that Kefir made from raw milk would be the most effective way to get calcium. I would say the case would be similar for cheese. This study is interesting and notes that 'fortified' calcium cheeses do not provide any extra calcium that the same fresh cheese. I would say the same goes for 'fortified' milks.
Remember that in order for the body to absorb calcium effectively, you also need to have sufficient levels of vitamin D (they do not need to be taken together though).
I'm going to go with Kefir made from organic grass-fed milk, such as Organic Valley grass-milk. I still don't trust raw milk. The downside of potentially contaminated milk could be bad news. Also, to get the full bang out of the probiotics make sure to take a prebiotic supplement.