Chronic inflammation in the context of everyday life: Dietary changes as mitigating factors

Denisa Margină, Anca Ungurianu*, Carmen Purdel, Dimitris Tsoukalas, Evangelia Sarandi, Maria Thanasoula, Fotios Tekos, Robin Mesnage, Demetrios Kouretas, Aristidis Tsatsakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


The lifestyle adopted by most people in Western societies has an important impact on the propensity to metabolic disorders (e.g., diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases). This is often accompanied by chronic low-grade inflammation, driven by the activation of various molecular pathways such as STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3), IKK (IκB kinase), MMP9 (matrix metallopeptidase 9), MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinases), COX2 (cyclooxigenase 2), and NF-Kβ (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells). Multiple intervention studies have demonstrated that lifestyle changes can lead to reduced inflammation and improved health. This can be linked to the concept of real-life risk simulation, since humans are continuously exposed to dietary factors in small doses and complex combinations (e.g., polyphenols, fibers, polyunsaturated fatty acids, etc.). Inflammation biomarkers improve in patients who consume a certain amount of fiber per day; some even losing weight. Fasting in combination with calorie restriction modulates molecular mechanisms such as m-TOR, FOXO, NRF2, AMPK, and sirtuins, ultimately leads to significantly reduced inflammatory marker levels, as well as improved metabolic markers. Moving toward healthier dietary habits at the individual level and in publicly-funded institutions, such as schools or hospitals, could help improving public health, reducing healthcare costs and improving community resilience to epidemics (such as COVID-19), which predominantly affects individuals with metabolic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4135
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Diet
  • Fasting
  • Inflammation
  • Polyphenols
  • Real-life risk simulation


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