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Kefir alleviates obesity and hepatic steatosis in high-fat diet-fed mice by modulation of gut microbiota and mycobiota: targeted and untargeted community analysis with correlation of biomarkers.

  • 2017-06
  • The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 44
    • Dong‐Hyeon Kim
    • Hyunsook Kim
    • Dana Jeong
    • Il‐Byeong Kang
    • Jung-Whan Chon
    • Hong-Seok Kim
    • K. Song
    • K. Seo


Kefir is a probiotic beverage containing over 50 species of lactic acid bacteria and yeast. In this study, the anti-obesity and anti-non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) effects of kefir were comprehensively addressed along with targeted and untargeted community analysis of the fecal microbiota in a high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mouse model. HFD-fed C57BL/6 mice were orally administrated either kefir or milk (control) once a day for 12 weeks, and body and organ weight, fecal microbiota and mycobiota, histopathology, blood cholesterol and cytokines and gene expressions were analyzed. Compared to the control, mice in the kefir group exhibited a significantly lower body weight (34.18 g vs. 40.24 g; p=0.00004) and histopathological liver lesion score (1.13 vs. 3.25; p=0.002). Remarkably, the kefir-fed mice also harbored more Lactobacillus/Lactococcus (7.01 vs. 6.32 log CFU/g), total yeast (6.07 vs. 5.01 log CFU/g) and Candida (5.56 vs. 3.88 log CFU/g). Kefir administration also up-regulated genes related to fatty acid oxidation, PPARα and AOX, in both the liver and adipose tissue (PPARα, 2.95- and 2.15-fold; AOX, 1.89- and 1.9-fold, respectively). The plasma concentration of IL-6, a proinflammatory marker, was significantly reduced following kefir consumption (50.39 pg/ml vs. 111.78 pg/ml; p=0.03). Strikingly, the populations of Lactobacillus/Lactococcus, total yeast and Candida were strongly correlated with PPARα gene expression in adipose and hepatic tissue (r=0.599, 0.580 and 0.562, respectively). These data suggest that kefir consumption modulates gut microbiota and mycobiota in HFD-fed mice, which prevents obesity and NAFLD via promoting fatty acid oxidation.

Keywords: Fatty acid oxidation; Fatty liver disease; Intestinal microbiota; Intestinal mycobiota; Kefir; Obesity.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Eastern European Wild Kefir CultureIncreased Fatty Acid OxidationBeneficial
Eastern European Wild Kefir CultureReduced Body WeightBeneficial
Eastern European Wild Kefir CultureReduced Interleukin-6 LevelsBeneficial
Eastern European Wild Kefir CultureReduced Liver Lesion SeverityBeneficial
Lactobacillus kefirIncreased Fatty Acid OxidationBeneficial
Lactobacillus kefirIncreased Gut Levels of Lactobacillus and LactococcusBeneficial
Lactobacillus kefirReduced Body WeightBeneficial
Lactobacillus kefirReduced Histological Liver InjuryBeneficial
Lactobacillus kefirReduced IL-6 ConcentrationBeneficial
Lactobacillus kefiriElevated Gut Yeast LevelsBeneficial
Lactobacillus kefiriIncreased Gut Levels of Lactobacillus and LactococcusBeneficial

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