Diet and Inflammation: Possible Effects on Immunity, Chronic Diseases, and Life Span

J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34 Suppl 1:10-3. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2015.1080101.


Chronic inflammation negatively impacts all physiological functions, causing an array of degenerative conditions including diabetes; cancer; cardiovascular, osteo-articular, and neurodegenerative diseases; autoimmunity disorders; and aging. In particular, there is a growing knowledge of the role that gene transcription factors play in the inflammatory process. Obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes represent multifactorial conditions resulting from improper balances of hormones and gene expression. In addition, these conditions have a strong inflammatory component that can potentially be impacted by the diet. It can reduce pro-inflammatory eicosanoids that can alter hormonal signaling cascades to the modulation of the innate immune system and gene transcription factors. Working knowledge of the impact of how nutrients, especially dietary fatty acids and polyphenols, can impact these various molecular targets makes it possible to develop a general outline of an anti-inflammatory diet that offers a unique, nonpharmacological approach in treating obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Several important bioactive dietary components can exert their effect through selected inflammatory pathways that can affect metabolic and genetic changes. In fact, dietary components that can modulate glucose and insulin levels, as well as any other mediator that can activate nuclear factor-kB, can also trigger inflammation through common pathway master switches.

Keywords: AA/EPA ratio; diet; inflammation; longevity; nutrition; telomere.

Publication types

  • Congress

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Diet / methods*
  • Fatty Acids / immunology
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diet therapy*
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Polyphenols / immunology
  • Transcription Factors / immunology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Fatty Acids
  • Polyphenols
  • Transcription Factors