Effects of Lifestyle Interventions on Inflammatory Markers in the Metabolic Syndrome

Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2011 Jan 1;3:168-77. doi: 10.2741/s142.


Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors which places individuals at increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In addition to obesity and insulin resistance, inflammation is emerging as a potential etiologic factor of the syndrome. One hypothesis suggests that obesity contributes to insulin resistance through increased production of adipose-derived inflammatory cytokines. Currently, lifestyle change is the first line of treatment for MetS. Only recently, however, have studies begun exploring the effect of lifestyle interventions on the mediation of inflammation in individuals with MetS. This review summarizes the strongest evidence (i.e. randomized controlled trial data) for a role of lifestyle interventions (diet and/or exercise) on the improvement of inflammatory biomarkers in people with MetS. Of six studies assessed, lifestyle interventions were consistently successful at improving the inflammatory and metabolic profiles. Interestingly, improvements in the inflammatory profile were found to be largely independent of obesity. Data currently suggest that alterations in dietary composition may be the most effective lifestyle change, although there is a need for more research in this area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diet therapy
  • Inflammation / epidemiology
  • Inflammation / therapy*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / therapy*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Fibrinogen
  • C-Reactive Protein