Dairy nutrients and their effect on inflammatory profile in molecular studies

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Jul;59(7):1249-63. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201400569. Epub 2015 Feb 26.


Dairy products contain milk fat, proteins, minerals, vitamin D, and other bioactive nutrients that have the potential to contribute to the association observed between increased dairy intake and a decreased risk of inflammation. The objective of this paper is to review the role of dairy bioactive molecules including dairy fat, proteins, micronutrients, and vitamins on inflammation markers in adipose, macrophage, and vascular tissues, which play a key role in the regulation of inflammation. A review was conducted to identify current scientific literature on dairy nutrients and inflammation in cell studies published until November 2014. The majority of saturated fatty acids (FAs) activate proinflammatory markers. Therefore, other dairy FAs or components may offset these harmful effects. Protein and amino acid composition of dairy products may have anti-inflammatory action. Magnesium may have beneficial effects on inflammatory profile; on the contrary, studies on vitamin D demonstrate conflicting results. In conclusion, numerous studies assessed the effects of individual or mixtures of FAs on inflammatory markers; yet, there is far less research on the effects of other dairy bioactive nutrients. The exact bioactive molecule or combination of these molecules in dairy products, which underlies the inverse association between dairy intake and inflammation remains to be elucidated.

Keywords: Fatty acids; Inflammation; Milk; Nutrigenomics; Proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Biomedical Research
  • Dairy Products*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diet therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Micronutrients / pharmacology
  • Milk Proteins / pharmacology
  • Vitamins / pharmacology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Fatty Acids
  • Micronutrients
  • Milk Proteins
  • Vitamins