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Exploring how a traditional diluted yoghurt drink may mitigate heat strain during medium-intensity intermittent work: a multidisciplinary study of occupational heat strain

Journal article
Authors K. Lundgren-Kownacki
M. Dahl
C. S. Gao
Kristina Jakobsson
C. Linninge
D. P. Song
K. Kuklane
Published in Industrial Health
Volume 56
Issue 2
Pages 106-121
ISSN 0019-8366
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Occupational and environmental medicine
Pages 106-121
Language en
Keywords Occupational health, Heat strain, Yoghurt/analysis, Heat stress, Hydration management, Climate, climate-change, cognitive performance, salivary cortisol, mesoamerican, nephropathy, sugarcane cutters, aerobic fitness, kidney-function, stress, exercise, productivity
Subject categories Environmental Health and Occupational Health


It is common practice in India to consume the dairy drink buttermilk as a way of mitigating occupational heat strain. This paper explores the thermoregulatory and hydration benefits of drinking buttermilk but also the impacts of work in a hot environment on the gut microbiota, renal and cognitive function. Twelve healthy participants were subjected to a 3-h period of medium load physical intermittent work in a climatic chamber (34 degrees C, 60% RH). The subjects were given water, buttermilk (700 ml) or no rehydration at random. Mean body temperatures when no rehydration was given were significantly higher (p <= 0.001). When subjects drank water or buttermilk they had a lower sweat rate than with no rehydration (p <= 0.05) and the perception of feeling hot, uncomfortable, thirsty and physically exerted was significantly reduced (p <= 0.05). A hormonal stress response at the end of the exposure was seen when not drinking (p <= 0.05). No differences in cognitive abilities and gut microbiota were found. The exposure lowered the renal blood flow suggesting an acute impact of short term heat exposure. It was also found that buttermilk has a protective effect on this impact. Our results demonstrated that keeping hydrated by water/buttermilk consumption mitigates heat strain in well-nourished subjects.

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