Could Yogurt Help Reduce Chronic Inflammation?

Inflammation is important as it’s the body’s first line of defense against illness and injury. However, if it lasts too long, it can lead to chronic inflammation. With chronic inflammation, the body begins to attack itself, increasing the risk for health problems such as inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, asthma, obesity as well as chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. However, a recent study has highlighted the possible effects yogurt can have on inflammation.

The study

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison explored the hypothesis that yogurt may help reduce inflammation as anti-inflammatory medications, although beneficial, each come with its own risks and side effects. The hypothesis examines the plausibility of yogurt improving intestinal lining, thus preventing pro-inflammatory molecules from entering the blood stream. The study registered 120 premenopausal women – half of which were obese and half of which weren’t. Sixty of the women ate 12 ounces (around 350ml) of low-fat yogurt every day for nine weeks while the other 60 consumed non-dairy pudding for nine weeks.

At various points during the study the researchers also took fasting blood samples from participants and assessed and collection of biomarkers that scientists use to measure inflammation. The participants also partook in a high-calorie meal challenge where they started with a serving of yogurt or non-dairy pudding followed by a large high-fat, high-carb breakfast meal.

The results

The results revealed the plausibility that consuming yogurt does provide anti-inflammatory effects. Specifically, the blood work revealed that the yogurt appetizers helped to reduce inflammation with the yogurt-eaters having improvements in certain key markers – one is TNF, which is an important inflammation-activating protein.

The verdict

The study helps to highlight how foods can impact inflammation. Although a promising study, it doesn’t identify which compounds in yoghurt are responsible for the change in inflammation thus more research is required. Furthermore, the study was funded by the National Dairy Council, which is a non-profit organization whose objective is to promote dairy products.

Read more about the study here.

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