The Effect of Kefir Supplementation on Improving Human Endurance Exercise Performance and Antifatigue

Metabolites. 2021 Feb 25;11(3):136. doi: 10.3390/metabo11030136.


Kefir is an acidic, carbonated, and fermented dairy product produced by fermenting milk with kefir grains. The Lactobacillus species constitutes an important part of kefir grains. In a previous animal study, kefir effectively improved exercise performance and had anti-fatigue effects. The purpose of this research was to explore the benefits of applying kefir to improve exercise performance, reduce fatigue, and improve physiological adaptability in humans. The test used a double-blind crossover design and supplementation for 28 days. Sixteen 20-30 year-old subjects were divided into two groups in a balanced order according to each individual's initial maximal oxygen uptake and were assigned to receive a placebo (equal flavor, equal calories, 20 g/day) or SYNKEFIR™ (20 g/day) every morning. After the intervention, there were 28 days of wash-out, during which time the subjects did not receive further interventions. After supplementation with SYNKEFIR™, the exercise time to exhaustion was significantly greater than that before ingestion (p = 0.0001) and higher than that in the Placebo group by 1.29-fold (p = 0.0004). In addition, compared with the Placebo group, the SYNKEFIR™ administration group had significantly lower lactate levels in the exercise and recovery (p < 0.05). However, no significant difference was observed in the changes in the gut microbiota. Although no significant changes in body composition were found, SYNKEFIR™ did not cause adverse reactions or harm to the participants' bodies. In summary, 28 days of supplementation with SYNKEFIR™ significantly improved exercise performance, reduced the production of lactic acid after exercise, and accelerated recovery while also not causing any adverse reactions.

Keywords: exercise performance; fatigue; kefir.