The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Dairy and Inflammation

Dairy and inflammation

Inflammation is a biological process that occurs when the body activates an immune response to protect itself from environmental stimuli such as dietary triggers, pathogens, or toxins. During the inflammation process, special chemical messengers are released, which initially may lead to redness, swelling, or even pain. This is a normal reaction and is generally short-lived, and consequently referred to as acute inflammation. However, if the inflammatory response presents more persistently, it leaves the body in a state of distress, which can trigger disease and illness. This type of inflammation is considered to be chronic. It is well known that dietary components in the foods we consume can potentially have either an anti- or a pro-inflammatory effect. In recent years, dairy has received increased interest regarding its effect on inflammation, often unfairly fuelled by media claims and so-called ‘research documentaries’, which do not always have a scientifically balanced perspective. This sparked a growing interest in evidence-based research on dairy and inflammation. However, the nutritional composition of dairy, such as its lipid profile, and relative leucine content of fermentation status, can affect its inflammatory potential. This review reports the most recent research on dairy and the inflammatory response which suggests that the consumption of milk and dairy protein have a neutral or beneficial effect on inflammatory biomarkers.

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