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Kefir: Post-workout Drink for Cancer Survivors

Kefir: Post-workout Drink for Cancer Survivors Dr. Peter Smoak, Ph.D.

Cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases affecting society today, with just over 1.8 million new cancer cases projected for the year 2020 in the United States alone. An underlying cause of cancer is unresolved inflammation. Monocytes are part of the innate immune response which plays an important role in the initiation of inflammation in the body, especially in the presence of pathogenic bacteria. . Elevated numbers of inflammatory monocytes are associated with tumor cell survival and metastasis. Chemotherapy and radiation are two of the most effective and commonly used cancer treatments; however, both are associated with monocytopenia and increases in the proportion of inflammatory monocytes (8, 9) in concert with major disturbances of the microbiome. The number and strains of probiotic species play an important role in determining their survival in the human gut and large numbers of highly diverse microbial gut populations have the potential to provide significant health benefits. Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that differs from other fermented milk products in that it is started by a culture containing a robust quantity and combination of many different bacteria and yeast species bound together in an exopolysaccharide matrix. Given the potential for kefir to improve the health of cancer survivors, this study examined the effects of 12 weeks of kefir consumption on body size and composition, cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, measures of depression, fatigue, quality of life, gastric distress, biomarkers of gut dysbiosis, whole body inflammation, and monocyte phenotype and function in a population of cancer survivors enrolled in a structured exercise program.


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