Dairy products may reduce intestinal inflammation

Fermented milk, yogurts, certain cheeses, and kefir are just some of the dairy products that have been linked to possible health benefits.

Dairy products may reduce intestinal inflammation
Evidence suggests that dairy products can ease intestinal inflammation. Photo by Kenny Eliason / Unsplash

Inflammatory bowel diseases can present various conditions in the body such as chronic inflammation, altered immune response, changes in the microbiota, and damage to intestinal permeability. In particular, the latter, which functions mainly as a barrier that prevents the passage of macromolecules that can damage the body and, at the same time, allows the absorption of nutrients, could be altered by the consumption of allergenic foods and the use of antibiotics, among other factors, giving way to unwanted substances, which triggers an inflammatory response. This permeability damage can occur in inflammatory bowel diseases as well as systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.

The treatments that have been implemented to reduce intestinal permeability damage are based, above all, on following a balanced diet, restoring the intestinal microbiota, and improving the response of the immune system, as well as on the intake of supplements. About the above, among the alternatives that are reported as adjuvants are functional foods, such as dairy products that have demonstrated various effects against inflammation. The regulation of inflammation and permeability may be due to the intrinsic compounds in milk and the action of metabolites such as peptides, exopolysaccharides, short-chain fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids that help repair the intestinal barrier.

Among the dairy products that have been associated with potential beneficial effects are fermented milk, yogurts, some cheeses, and kefir. These functional fermented dairy foods have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the ability to regulate intestinal permeability, following the modulation of associated proteins.

Currently, in the Laboratory of Chemistry and Biotechnology of Dairy Products at CIAD, the research project A1-S-53161 is being developed, supported by the National Council of Science and Technology (Basic Science call 2017-2018), which the aim is to elucidate the components and metabolites of lactic acid fermentation associated with the anti-inflammatory response, such as those that affect intestinal permeability.

Dairy products as adjuvants in inflammatory bowel diseases


Reduction of Bilophila, Butyricicomonas, Flavonifractor, Oscillibacter, Prevotella, Bacteroides, Barnesiella, Butyricicomonas, Clostridium, Haemophilus.

Fermented milk

Potential effect on decreasing inflammatory response associated with Th1/Th17 response by metabolites contained in the milk; decreased intestinal cell infiltration.


Mozzarella: regulation of NF-kB pathway, modification of cytokine profile, and reduction of intestinal permeability. Emmenthal: Reduction of IgA secretion in the small intestine and regulation of genes involved in the induction of proinflammatory cytokines TNFα, IFNγ, and IL-17.


Regulation of intestinal permeability, increase of zonulin and claudin.

Authors: A. Alejandra López-Pérez, M.Sc. student, and Lourdes Santiago-López, Adrián Hernández-Mendoza, Belinda Vallejo-Cordoba and Aarón F. González-Córdova, researcher(s) of the Laboratory of Chemistry and Biotechnology of Dairy Products of the Coordination of Food Technology of Animal Origin of CIAD.