Milk and Dairy Product Consumption and Inflammatory Biomarkers: An Updated Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials

Adv Nutr. 2019 May 1;10(suppl_2):S239-S250. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmy072.


Milk and dairy products contribute ≤14% of the caloric intake in developed countries. Recent evidence has shown controversial results with regard to the role of dairy products in deleterious processes such as inflammation. The increasing number of studies on the anti- and proinflammatory effects of milk and dairy products in the past 5 y reflects the growing interest in this area of research. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the scientific evidence provided in the past 5 y on the effects of milk and dairy products on inflammatory biomarkers provided by randomized clinical trials. The search strategy was conducted in Medline (via PubMed) and Scopus (which includes EMBASE and the Web of Science) databases and included articles from 1 January 2012 to 30 April 2018. The risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane methodology. The number of study participants, type of study, doses, and the key results are reported. The following primary outcomes were considered for inclusion: circulating concentrations of C-reactive protein, interleukins, cytokines, and vascular adhesion molecules or expression of proinflammatory genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells; however, the primary outcomes considered were not limited to these. Sixteen studies (15 articles) included in this systematic review reported on healthy individuals and subjects who were overweight or obese and who had metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. The consumption of milk or dairy products did not show a proinflammatory effect in healthy subjects or individuals with metabolic abnormalities. The majority of studies documented a significant anti-inflammatory effect in both healthy and metabolically abnormal subjects, although not all the articles were of high quality. This review was registered on PROSPERO (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews) at as CRD42018094535.

Keywords: dairy products; diabetes; healthy; inflammation; inflammatory biomarkers; metabolic syndrome; milk; obesity; overweight.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Dairy Products*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Milk
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biomarkers