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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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°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.


External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • Climate change, Heat strain, Heat stress, Hydration management, Occupational health, Yoghurt/analysis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-121
Number of pages16
JournalIndustrial Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch