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Not inherently good or bad, Inflammation is the process recruiting immune cells to tissues in the body for their actions; good for immunity and cell defense, excessive levels can cause joint pain and accelerate signs of aging and disease pathology such as cancer or obesity.

Our evidence-based analysis on inflammation features 3 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel.
All content reviewed by the Examine.com Team. Published: Feb 6, 2013
Last Updated:

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Frequently Asked Questions about Inflammation

Should I take Fish Oil if I am sick?

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect inflammation
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-a Minor Moderate See all 17 studies
Highly mixed and unreliable influences on circulating inflammatory cytokines (although, due to immunosuppression on cellular adhesion factors, the overall effect may still be antiinflammatory)
grade-b Notable Very High See all 6 studies
There appears to be a decrease in disease states or conditions characterized by inflammation associated with curcumin ingestion, does not appear to be too discriminatory in which inflammatory states it benefits
grade-b Minor Very High See all 4 studies
Inflammatory parameters seem to be reduced following ginger consumption
grade-b Minor High See all 4 studies
Appears to reduce swelling and inflammation following surgery or trauma, although to a lesser degree than corticosteroids. There is a lack of practical evidence for the claims behind serrapeptase (instead, studies tend to only look at post-surgery inflammation)
grade-b - High See all 3 studies
Classical inflammatory cytokines do not appear to be altered much following CoQ10 supplementation, although there may still be a minor antiinflammatory effect
grade-b - Very High See all 4 studies
Insufficient evidence to support significant changes in inflammatory status.
grade-b - Very High See all 5 studies
No significant alterations seen in inflammatory cytokines associated with Vitamin C supplementation
grade-c Notable - See study
The study in question measured nF-kB activity and noted a 25% decrease, which is somewhat novel (not a common measurement) and to quite a large degree; may be related to the resveratrol or stilbene content
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Mixed effects depending on what inflammatory biomarker or cytokine is measured; practical significance unknown
grade-c Minor - See study
Possible antiinflammatory effect on exercise-induced inflammatory biomarkers
grade-c Minor - See study
A reduction in inflammatory cytokines is noted with melatonin supplementation
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in IL-6 concentrations has been noted
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Some various and uncertain changes in cytokines that are seen as indicators of inflammation; not enough human interventions to draw conclusions.
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Appears to reduce LPS-stimulated proinflammatory cytokine release, and thus is likely to have anti-inflammatory effects. The potency of this is not overly remarkable
grade-c - - See study
Insufficient evidence with the preliminary evidence failing to any influence on circulating cytokines.
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on inflammatory cytokines except perhaps IL-6 seen with glutamine supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant effects on biomarkers of inflammation when measured
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on inflammatory cytokines
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influence on standard inflammatory cytokines
grade-c - - See study
Mixed influence on inflammation, but does not appear to at all be practically significant
grade-c - - See study
No significant alteration in serum biomarkers noted with chia seeds
grade-c - - See study
Supplementation of sea buckthorn in persons on hemodialysis has failed to significantly influence any inflammatory biomarker measured at the standard supplemental dosage.
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on inflammatory cytokines noted with theaflavins supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on select inflammatory cytokines
grade-c - - See study
Insufficient evidence to support whey protein as interacting with inflammation and biomarkers of inflammation
grade-d Minor - See study
Some influence on typically inflammatory cytokines, practical relevance of these changes unknown
grade-d Minor - See study
Requires more evidence, but at the moment appears somewhat effective
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease in some inflammatory cytokines has been noted with coffee ingestion
grade-d Minor - See study
Possible decreases in MCP-1 with mixed or no influence on other inflammatory cytokines


  1. Byleveld PM, et al. Fish oil feeding delays influenza virus clearance and impairs production of interferon-gamma and virus-specific immunoglobulin A in the lungs of mice. J Nutr. (1999)
  2. Schwerbrock NM, et al. Fish oil-fed mice have impaired resistance to influenza infection. J Nutr. (2009)
  3. Byleveld M, et al. Fish oil feeding enhances lymphocyte proliferation but impairs virus-specific T lymphocyte cytotoxicity in mice following challenge with influenza virus. Clin Exp Immunol. (2000)