Kulwara Meksawan, PhD; Jaya T. Venkatraman, PhD; Atif B. Awad, PhD; David R. Pendergast, EdD
Dietary fat intake and exercise affect the immune system. This study determined the changes in inflammatory components of the immune system in response to maximal exercise with three levels of dietary fat intake: 19%, 30%, and 50% of total calories.
Five men and six women were randomly assigned to consume diets with 19% and 50% calories from fat for three weeks each, with a one-week washout. The habitual and washout diets were 30% calories from fat. At the beginning and the end of each diet, body composition and maximal exercise tests were performed. Blood samples were collected before and after exercise to determine the immunological parameters.
The subject’s energy intake was balanced to expenditure on the 30% and 50% diets, but was in negative balance on the 19% diet. Exercise led to significant increases in the concentrations of leukocytes, neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, plasma tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, plasma interleukin (IL)-2, plasma soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule (sVCAM)-1, and the production of IL-1 beta and IL-6 by peripheral blood mononuclear (PBMN) cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), irrespective of diets (p less than 0.05). The 19% fat diet resulted in increased plasma soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM)-1 after exercise. Leukotriene (LT) B4 concentration released by neutrophils stimulated with LPS was higher in the 50% fat diet, compared to the lower fat diets, and the sICAM-1 production of neutrophils stimulated with LPS was significantly increased after exercise only with 30% fat diet.
While a short, intense bout of exercise increased pro-inflammatory mediators of the immune system, decreasing fat intake to 19% on a caloric deficient diet caused a greater increase in plasma TNF-alpha, sVCAM-1 and sICAM-1 concentration than the 30% and 50% fat diets in male and female subjects. Increasing fat calories to 50% with caloric balance did not exacerbate pro-inflammatory mediators compared to a 30% fat diet.