Many researchers and clinicians now believe that chronic, low grade inflammation plays a role in disease development.  It is thought to play a significant role in the development of disease in obese people.  Researchers in the Netherlands tested their theory that certain dietary components can reduce low-grade inflammation as well as metabolic and oxidative stress.  They found reduced inflammation in people taking a combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients.


Inflammation is a response of our immune system to infection, injury or irritation.  The area is flooded by white blood cells, heat, swelling, pain, redness and the tissue (organ’s)  abnormal functioning. It is a protective response.  But if it happens on a continuous, long term basis, it is a major contributor to the development of many chronic diseases.


When the first response stimulates the immune system, inflammation is the critical initiating step in healing wounds and warding off infection.  But, when it continues, and the immune system is active on an ongoing basis, chronic inflammation can lead to the development of chronic disease.


Dietary supplements including green tea extract, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, tomato extract, and resveratrol were selected due to their known anti-inflammatory properties were combined and given as supplements to 36 healthy overweight men with mildly elevated plasma C-reactive protein concentrations in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study with treatment periods of 5 wk.  Inflammatory and oxidative stress defense markers were quantified in plasma and urine.


In a double-blinded, crossover study, the researchers gave the nutrient blend or a placebo to 36 overweight men whose mildly elevated plasma C-reactive protein levels indicated a state of inflammation. The mix included 94.5 milligrams green tea extract, omega-3 fatty acids, 90.7 milligrams alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), 125 milligrams vitamin C, 6.3 milligrams resveratrol, from fish oil, and tomato extract.


The participants received the anti-inflammatory dietary mix or placebo capsules during four 5-week periods, after which plasma and urine samples were analyzed for markers of inflammation and oxidative stress defense. In addition, 120 plasma proteins, 274 plasma metabolites and certain segments of their DNA located in white blood cells and fat tissue were evaluated.


The C-reactive protein levels (an important marker for inflammation) stayed the same, many other factors improved after 5 weeks of the anti-inflammatory dietary mix, including a 7 percent increase in an anti-inflammatory chemical released by fat cells. Changes in other measurements indicated improvements in adipose tissue inflammation, the function of cells lining arteries, oxidative stress levels, and increased liver fatty acid oxidation.


The authors wrote, “The changes in concentrations of genes, proteins, and metabolites induced by the anti-inflammatory dietary mix appeared to be consistent.”  The results showed that the anti-inflammatory dietary mix was able to influence processes of inflammation, oxidative stress, and metabolism in humans.


Source:  Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 March