Kefir is an amazing probiotic beverage that’s able to increase your quality of life through improving your overall health. As such, this beverage is often recommended by nutritionists, as well as other doctors, to patients with gastrointestinal, digestion, and cholesterol problems. However, some of the studies indicate that kefir also has anticancer properties, especially aimed towards malicious types of tumors.
In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the most recent studies about kefir and its ability to fight against cancer. Cancer is the most deadly disease of this century and numerous probiotics are known to help against it. However, kefir showed that a simple beverage like this can also be of great help.
Let’s elaborate on these studies.
Kefir Cancer Studies
During the past decade, many scientists and nutritionists were attracted to numerous probiotics and fermented milk products. Health care, pharmacy, and industry were only some of the areas in which kefir was examined. Scientists came to the conclusion that probiotics such as kefir have the potential for fighting against cancer. Furthermore, they said that kefir can be used in the prevention of cancer. Kefir, as a drink made of kefir grains and milk/water, represents a traditional Tibet or Caucasian beverage that’s much older than you think.
These kefir grains are a perfect mixture of yeast and bacteria, as they live in a symbiotic association. Kefir grains possess anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial effects. Scientists also discovered that kefir has an ability to inhibit the proliferation of apoptosis in tumor cells, thanks to peptides and polysaccharides. Cancer-wise, kefir has the ability to fight against malignant T lymphocytes, lung carcinoma, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer.
One study done in 2015 shows us a thorough investigation of kefir’s effect on cancer. This study was done to further evaluate the study about the chemopreventive effects of kefir, a fermented milk product, on carcinogenesis. Simply put, the study is here to check the evidence on kefir regarding fighting against cancer or preventing it. The scientists used relevant studies published before 2015 and the whole database was swept. There, they found more than 2000 studies of which around 4 were eligible. 7 of them were in vitro.
In vitro studies on the skin, gastric, colon, and breast cancer, as well as leukemia cell lines, kefir proved to have some positive effects. These studies showed some experimental studies on different sarcomas and every single study showed beneficial effects of kefir in both cancer treatment and prevention. While kefir’s cancer prevention capabilities were almost proved, its cancer treatment is yet to be proved. Some studies are alluding to bioactive components in kefir such as polysaccharides, sphingolipids, and peptides. These substances are, allegedly, beneficial in terms of cancer prevention and treatment.
In this study done in May of 2018, scientists proved that the conditions of the culture fermentation impact kefir’s anticancer properties. Since cancer is the main health issue at this time, and its treatment is very expensive, let alone unsafe, scientists wanted to try this beverage. The study began by addressing the hypothesis that says that kefir’s anticancer properties are volatile to fermentation conditions. Having that in mind, scientists tested 4, 25, and 40 degrees Celsius temperatures, as well as 24, 48, and 72 hours of fermentation time.
This study showed that the amount of anti-cancer cells in kefir changed with these conditions. Cancers such as myelogenous leukemia cells, as well as colon cancer, were most susceptible to kefir extracts. These conditions allowed the scientists to enhance these capabilities from 5 to 8 cells against cancer. That being said, kefir’s anticancer properties can further be optimized with different fermentation conditions. We hope to see further studies that might back this up and even come up with the best conditions for fighting cancer.
Breast cancer is one of the most stubborn types of cancer out there. Women with breast cancer, if not detected early, can have serious problems or even die. However, this study tested numerous effects of kefir on breast cancer cells. Kefir cultures show different effects, depending on the parts of the world, as there is a variation in culture conditions and media. The scientists used some kefir water made from Malaysian kefir grains and they investigated its antimetastatic and antiangiogenic effects on 4T1 cancer cells.
Kefir water was used to treat 4T1 cancer cells. Previously, scientists injected mice with 4T1 cancer cells and they were treated orally for 28 days. The results were phenomenal. Kefir water showed cytotoxicity toward 4T1 cells for 48 to 72 hours. Furthermore, tumor weight and size were reduced significantly. Kefir water did a great job of inhibiting tumor proliferation both in vivo and in vitro, through apoptosis.
Also, by immunomodulation, kefir stimulated cytotoxic T and helper cells and, as well as antimetastatic, antiangiogenesis, and anti-inflammatory effects.
The study done in 2011 is here to investigate kefir’s effect on ALL, a malicious disease appearing in white blood cells. In adults, the cure rate is about 40%. Children have a better chance, and cure rate of 85%. As kefir is known to control and prevent many types of cancer, scientists investigated the effect of a cell-free fraction on HTLV-1-Negative malignant T-lymphocytes – CEM and Jurkat cells. These cells were then incubated with different concentrations of kefir and the cytotoxicity of the compound was measured by determining the percentage of cells’ viability.
The results were generally positive. After 48-hour treatment, the maximum cytotoxicity was recorded and it was 42% in CEM and 39% in Jurkat cells, followed by the significant reduction in proliferation. This reduction was, however time-dependent. The increase in cell-cycle distribution in the preG1 phase of both types of cells. However, the mRNA expression of metalloproteinases, needed for fighting against leukemic cells, wasn’t affected.
In 2017, the study in which scientists tested the effects of kefir on cancer survivors’ recovery, started from a fact that kefir has anticancer capabilities. As mentioned earlier, this great source of protein and good bacteria is able to improve health and recovery from exercise. The scientists made kefir with milk, kefir grains, natural sweeteners, whole fruit, and other natural ingredients. Kefir was given to cancer survivors following a session of exercise. By doing this, scientist let the participants rate this beverage in a sense of overall liking, mouthfeel, taste, aroma, and appearance.
Participants also evaluated physical and psychological feelings about kefir using a 5-point scale. Scientists explained to participants the basics and health benefits of kefir before they tasted it. The interesting thing is that almost all the participants gave kefir an A+ for the taste before they learned about its health benefits. After learning about its health benefits, kefir scored significantly for overall liking. Their expressions were now much closer to 9, on a 9-point scale. A high intent to purchase was also recorded. Before they learned about its health benefits, 75% of participants wanted to buy it. After they learned more, it was 89%.
Numerous studies prove that kefir is indeed a great anticancer beverage. This means that many types of malicious cancer can be kept under control if they’re detected before it’s too late. It’s one of the reasons why you and your family should drink kefir. As a beverage made from milk/water and kefir grains, it’s not expensive and won’t cost you a fortune. Since it’s the best probiotic on the planet and contains healthy ingredients, kefir is an undisputed king when it comes to cancer prevention or treatment.
However, kefir isn’t going to treat cancer on its own. Be sure to regularly check your doctor and do the annual examinations, to prevent any kind of malicious disease. Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases of the 21st century and should be taken seriously. At least, you can always check yourself regularly and drink kefir. These are only some of the evidence that kefir is great for your body and wellbeing.
- The Antimetastatic and Antiangiogenesis Effects of Kefir Water on Murine Breast Cancer Cells – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- Short communication: Sensory analysis of a kefir product designed for active cancer survivors – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed