Four weeks of spice consumption lowers plasma proinflammatory cytokines and alters the function of monocytes in adults at risk of cardiometabolic disease: secondary outcome analysis in a 3-period, randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Jan 11;115(1):61-72. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqab331.


Background: Numerous studies demonstrate acute anti-inflammatory properties of individual spices, but none have examined the effect of longer-term consumption of a spice blend incorporated in a meal.

Objectives: We investigated the effect of longer-term spice consumption on inflammatory cytokines and monocyte subsets [classical (CM), intermediate (IM), nonclassical (NCM)] in adults at risk of cardiometabolic disease.

Methods: A 3-period, randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial was conducted. Participants (n = 71 recruited; n = 63 completed) randomly consumed diets differing in terms of the quantity of spices: 0.547 g (low-dose spice diet; LSD), 3.285 g (medium-dose spice diet; MSD), or 6.571 g (high-dose spice diet; HSD) · d-1 · 2100 kcal-1, for 4 wk with a ≥2-wk washout between diets. At baseline and after each diet period, proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and TNF-α) in plasma and LPS-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell culture supernatants, and the phenotype and function of monocyte subsets, were measured in fasted participants. Postprandial proinflammatory cytokines also were quantified at baseline by consumption of a low-spice-dose test meal, and after each diet period by consumption of a test meal containing a spice dose corresponding to daily spice consumption during the preceding 4-wk diet period.

Results: Fasting plasma IL-6 was reduced (mean ± SEM: -118.26 ± 50.63 fg/mL; P < 0.05) after MSD compared with baseline. Postprandial plasma IL-1β, IL-8, and TNF-α were lower (mean ± SEM : -9.47 ± 2.70 fg/mL, -0.20 ± 0.05 pg/mL, and -33.28 ± 12.35 fg/mL, respectively) after MSD compared with LSD (main diet effect; P < 0.05). CM adherence was reduced (mean ± SEM: -0.86 ± 0.34; P = 0.034) after HSD compared with LSD. IM migration was reduced after MSD and HSD compared with LSD (mean ± SEM: -0.39 ± 0.09 and -0.56 ± 0.14, respectively; P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Four weeks of MSD consumption reduced fasting plasma IL-6 and postprandial plasma IL-1β, IL-8, and TNF-α as well as altering monocyte function.This trial was registered at as NCT03064932.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; inflammatory cytokines; monocytes; nutritional intervention; randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Diet / methods*
  • Fasting / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Meals
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Postprandial Period
  • Spices*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines

Associated data