Inflammation has been an important tool for the evolution and survival of living organisms, including humans. Inflammation comprises a series of cellular and biochemical responses to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. 

During the natural process of aging, we experience a certain amount of oxidative damage, accumulation of senescent cells, increased fat tissue, a decline in sex hormones, and reduced immune regulation. Any dysregulation of the inflammatory processes represents a compromised ability to combat infections, autoimmunity, poor immunologic memory, and re-emergence of latent infections (i.e. shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, Cytomegalovirus, etc). The term inflammaging recognizes the immune implications of getting older: becoming frailer to stressors over time. Inflammaging manifests itself as chronic, low-grade inflammation that occurs during aging. Persistent viral and bacterial infections, cell debris, misplaced and misfolded molecules that accumulate during a lifetime are thought to contribute to the inflammaging manifestations, such as the secretion of pro-inflammatory molecules by the immune system and adipose tissue.

However, science has shown us that we can slow the aging process, reduce inflammaging effects and improve our quality of life.

  • Activate yourself!

Exercise has been associated with anti-inflammaging effects, which explains reports of lower levels of pro-inflammatory molecules in adults that have an exercise regime. 

Fat mass increases with age, which has been associated with low-grade chronic inflammation. Exercising muscles secrete anti-inflammatory molecule IL-10, which provides a counter to inflammaging[2]. It has been reported that physical activity performed 1-6 times per week has reported improved mobility and function of immune cells[3].

  • Take control of your diet.

Studies have reported the association between reduced expression of pro-inflammatory markers and diets designed to be low in saturated and high on monounsaturated fats, such as the Mediterranean diet comprised mainly of olive oil, legumes, and fiber-rich foods.

Chronic nutrient excess, particularly a high-fat diet, has shown to increase systemic inflammation, which over time activated immune cells promoting inflammation in many metabolic systems, such as fat cells and liver cells[4].

Our biological mates, bacteria, have also been shown to modulate inflammation. Aging is associated with a reduction in Bifidobacteria (beneficial bacteria, probiotic) [5]. A study published in 2009 showed that probiotic supplementation for 13 weeks improved the immune response in persons over 70 years old[6].

Vitamin D supplementation has been reported to boost the immune response to acute infections in age-associated inflammatory disorders[7]. Also, zinc supplementation has been shown to reduce infection incidence in older adults and has many effects indicative of reversal of immunosenescence[8].

  • Stem cell therapy.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) are key modulators of inflammaging because of their stemness, safety, and fantastic immunomodulatory properties[9,10]. MSC possess immuno-privileged properties, thereby they are considered safe for both autologous and allogeneic use. MSC secrete not only anti-inflammatory molecules but also encapsulated vesicles of nucleic acids and proteins called exosomes, which exert a therapeutic effect[11].

Human MSC benefits from a single infusion can persist for months and multiple dosing can be well tolerated helping to sustained beneficial health effects.

At Rehealth, we believe that having informed patients is the only way to deliver optimal healthcare. Visit our website to find out more interesting content and be a part of an amazing health integrated community!


This article was written and researched by Rehealth’s MSc Susana Hernández Reyes.*********

  1. Abbas AK, Lichtman AH, Pillai S. Cellular and molecular immunology, 9e. Elsevier, 2017.
  2. Steensberg A, Fischer CP, Keller C, Moller K, Pedersen BK. IL-6 enhances plasma IL-1ra, IL10, and cortisol in humans. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003. 285:433-7.
  3. Chrysohoou C, Paagiotakos DB, Pitsavos C, Das UN, Stefanadis C. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet attenuates inflammation and coagulation process in health adults: the ATTICA Study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004. 44:152-8. 
  4. Franceschi C, Garagnani P, Vitale G, Capri M, Salvioli S. Inflammaging and “Garb-aging”. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2017. 28:199-212.
  5. Pae M, Meydani SN, Wu D. The role of nutrition in enhancing immunity in aging. Aging Dis. 2012. 3: 91-129.
  6. Boge T, Remigy M Vaudaine S, Tanguy J, Bourdet-Sicard R, van der Werf S. A probiotic fermented dairy drink improves antibody response to influenza vaccination int he elderly in two randomized controlled tirals. Vaccine. 2009. 27:5677-84.
  7. Yin K, Agrawal DK. Vitamin D and inflammatory diseases. J Inflamm Res. 2014. 29:69.87.
  8. Prasad AS. Effects of zinc deficiency on Th1 and Th2 cytokine shifts. J Infect Dis. 2000. 18:62-8.
  9. Le BC, Yu KR. Impact of mesenchymal stem cell senescence on inflammaging. BMB Rep. 2020. 53(2):65-73.
  10. Glenn JD, Whartenby KA. Mesenchymal stem cells: emerging mechanisms of immunomodulation and therapy. World J Stem Cells. 2014. 6(5):526-39.
  11. Klyushnenkova E, Mosca JD, Zernetkina V, et al. T cell responses to allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cells: immunogenicity, tolerance, and suppression. J Biomed Sci. 2005. 12(1):47–57.

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