Dietary linoleic acid intake and blood inflammatory markers: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Food Funct. 2017 Sep 20;8(9):3091-3103. doi: 10.1039/c7fo00433h.


Purpose: The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of increasing dietary linoleic acid (LA) intake on the blood concentrations of inflammatory markers including cytokines, acute phase reactants and adhesion molecules in adults.

Methods: We comprehensively searched PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Library for eligible studies. Overall, 30 randomized controlled studies involving 1377 subjects were included for meta-analysis.

Results: No significant effect of higher LA intake was observed for cytokines: tumor necrosis factor (SMD: -0.01; 95% CI: -0.19 to 0.17), interleukin-6 (SMD: 0.11, 95% CI: -0.07 to 0.29), adiponectin (SMD: 0.17, 95% CI: -0.17 to 0.50) and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (SMD: 0.14, 95% CI: -0.33 to 0.60). Pooled effect size from 16 studies showed that the C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration was not significantly affected by increasing LA intake (SMD = 0.09, 95% CI: -0.05 to 0.24). However, subgroup and meta-regression analysis suggested that in subjects with a more profound increase of dietary LA intake, LA might increase the blood CRP level. Other acute phase reactants including fibrinogen and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and adhesion molecules were not significantly changed when LA was increased in diet. No significant heterogeneity or publication bias was observed, although only a limited number of eligible studies were included for some markers.

Conclusion: Our meta-analysis suggested that increasing dietary LA intake does not have a significant effect on the blood concentrations of inflammatory markers. However, the extent of change in dietary LA intake might affect the effect of LA supplementation on CRP.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Linoleic Acids / metabolism*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Biomarkers
  • Linoleic Acids
  • C-Reactive Protein