This study investigated the effects of 12 wk of postexercise kefir consumption in cancer survivors who have undergone chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
All participants were enrolled in a structured exercise training program and separated into kefir (KEF) or control (CON) treatment groups. KEF consumed 8 oz. of kefir after exercise sessions (3 d·wk−1) for 12 wk. Outcome measures included assessments for body size and composition, aerobic fitness and muscular strength, medical history, and psychological state at pre- and postintervention time points. Blood was collected and analyzed for C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) concentrations, and LPS-stimulated whole blood IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor α production were obtained using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays at both time points. Monocyte numbers and phenotype were obtained using flow cytometry.
Participants (N = 24; 9 males and 15 females) were an average of 61 ± 9.9 yr old. Kefir consumption was associated with 6.3% (P = 0.034) improvements in lean body mass, as well as 51.4% (P = 0.046), 39.3% (P = 0.017), and 64.7% (P = 0.021) improvements in measures of depression, fatigue, and gastric distress, respectively. KEF also experienced a significant 35.4% (P = 0.01) reduction in circulating LPS along with an 18.0% increase (P < 0.001) in classical monocytes % and a 22.3% decrease (P = 0.04) in nonclassical monocytes %. There were no significant changes in any other variables.
Twelve weeks of kefir consumption improved lean body mass, depression, fatigue, gastric distress, and a biomarker of gut dysbiosis. Kefir improved overall and classical monocyte numbers. Kefir should be considered as a component of a postexercise dietary regimen for cancer survivors.