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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Aug 13;57(12):2497-2525. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2014.967385.

Dairy products and inflammation: A review of the clinical evidence.

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a Department of Agri-Food Sciences and Technologies , University of Bologna , Bologna , Italy.
b INRA, UMR 1019, UNH, CRNH Auvergne , Clermont-Ferrand , France.
c Clermont Université , Université d'Auvergne, Unité de Nutrition Humaine , Clermont-Ferrand , France.
d INRA, Joint Research Unit 1253, Science & Technology of Milk and Egg Products , Rennes , France.
e Department of Human Nutrition , Leatherhead Food Research , Leatherhead , United Kingdom.
f Agroscope, Federal Department of Economic Affairs , Education and Research EAER , Berne , Switzerland.
g Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa , Lisbon , Portugal.
h Insituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica , Oeiras , Portugal.
i Escola Superior Agrária , Insituto Politécnico de Santarém , Santarém Portugal.
j The S. Daniel Abraham International Center for Health and Nutrition , Department of Public Health , Ben-Gurion University of the Negev , Beer-Sheva , Israel.


Inflammation is a major biological process regulating the interaction between organisms and the environment, including the diet. Because of the increase in chronic inflammatory diseases, and in light of the immune-regulatory properties of breastfeeding, the ability of dairy products to modulate inflammatory processes in humans is an important but unresolved issue. Here, we report a systematic review of 52 clinical trials investigating inflammatory markers in relation to the consumption of dairy products. An inflammatory score (IS) was defined to quantitatively evaluate this interaction. The IS was significantly positive for the entire data set, indicating an anti-inflammatory activity in humans. When the subjects were stratified according to their health status, the IS was strongly indicative of an anti-inflammatory activity in subjects with metabolic disorders and of a pro-inflammatory activity in subjects allergic to bovine milk. Stratifying the data by product categories associated both low-fat and high-fat products, as well as fermented products, with an anti-inflammatory activity. Remarkably, the literature is characterized by a large gap in knowledge on bioavailability of bioactive nutrients. Future research should thus better combine food and nutritional sciences to adequately follow the fate of these nutrients along the gastrointestinal and metabolic axes.


Milk; cheese; chronic diseases; health; immune system; obesity; yoghurt

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