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Kefir in the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders

  • Functional Foods (CM Whisner, Section Editor)
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Abstract

Purpose of Review

This review summarizes recent animal and human trials examining the potential for kefir to improve obesity, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Evidence for pathways affected and suggestions of possible mechanisms of action are also considered.

Recent Findings

Human trials examining the ability of kefir to recapitulate metabolic health benefits previously observed in rodent models have found mixed results.

Summary

Kefir has long been associated with improvements in health including obesity, diabetes, NAFLD, and dyslipidemia in preventative animal trials. While recent evidence from human trials supports a positive role of kefir in modulating diabetes-related markers, the impact of kefir consumption on markers of dyslipidemia, NAFLD, and body composition has been for the most part contradictory to animal findings. Variability in organisms for kefir fermentation poses a significant challenge in making meaningful comparisons. Recommendations for future well-controlled animal and human research are provided.

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Funding

BPW and CR are supported by the Canada Research Chairs program. BCTB was supported by a Canadian Dairy Commission Graduate Scholarship.

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Correspondence to Benjamin P. Willing.

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All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).

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Bourrie, B.C.T., Richard, C. & Willing, B.P. Kefir in the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders. Curr Nutr Rep 9, 184–192 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13668-020-00315-3

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