Effects of diets and dietary constituents on inflammation
- The field of nutrition has a notorious history of conflicting findings regarding the effects of specific diets, foods and nutrients on health. For example, the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular disease risk are being hotly debated, with a vast literature showing that they are beneficial in decreasing inflammation, and a parallel set of research questioning these beneficial effects. There is a growing recognition that a possible cause for these conflicting findings is individual variability in response.
- Our work has demonstrated that individual variability in response to dietary treatments is quantifiable and measurable using metabolomics and a study design that utilizes repeated measures over time. We have also demonstrated the individual variability in response to omega-3 fatty acids in a group of healthy individuals utilizing a comprehensive lipid metabolomic protocol. We have shown, in this same group of individuals, that those who were responders to the omega-3 treatment (i.e. had large increases in omega-3 in their plasma) also had concomitant changes in the gene expression of their circulating immune cells.
- We have also described the acute effects of different saturated fat enriched lipid challenges on the inflammatory response of individuals with metabolic syndrome. Our team found that individuals who have high baseline inflammation also have an exaggerated postprandial inflammatory response to the meals.