Exploratory analysis of the effect of a controlled lifestyle intervention on inflammatory markers

the Healthy Lifestyle Community Programme (cohort 2)

authored by
Christian Koeder, Corinna Anand, Sarah Husain, Ragna Marie Kranz, Nora Schoch, Dima Alzughayyar, Norman Bitterlich, Andreas Hahn, Heike Englert

Background: Chronic low-grade inflammation is associated with an increased risk of chronic disease and mortality. The objective of the study was to test the effect of a healthy lifestyle intervention on biomarkers of inflammation (among other risk markers). Methods: We conducted a non-randomized controlled trial with mostly middle-aged and elderly participants from the general population in rural northwest Germany (intervention: n = 114; control: n = 87). The intervention consisted of a 1-year lifestyle programme focusing on diet (largely plant-based; strongest emphasis), physical activity, stress management, and social support. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) was assessed at baseline, 10 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year. Homocysteine (Hcy) was assessed at baseline, 10 weeks, and 1 year. Adiponectin (Apn) was assessed at baseline and 10 weeks. An exploratory analysis of these inflammatory markers assessing the between-group differences with ANCOVA was conducted. Results: The 1-year trajectory of hs-CRP was significantly lower in the intervention group compared to control (between-group difference: -0.8 (95% CI -1.2, -0.3) mg/l; p = 0.001; adjusted for baseline). The 1-year trajectory of Hcy was non-significantly higher in the intervention compared to control (between-group difference: 0.2 (95% CI -0.3, 0.7) µmol/l; p = 0.439; adjusted for baseline). From baseline to 10 weeks, Apn decreased significantly more in the intervention group compared to control (between-group difference: -1.6 (95% CI -2.7, -0.5) µg/ml; p = 0.004; adjusted for baseline). Conclusions: Our study shows that healthy lifestyle changes can lower hs-CRP and Apn levels and are unlikely to significantly affect Hcy levels within 1 year. Trial registration: German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS; reference: DRKS00018775, registered 12 Sept 2019; retrospectively registered; www.drks.de).

Institute of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Nutrition Physiology and Human Nutrition Section
External Organisation(s)
Münster University of Applied Sciences
Medicine and Service Ltd
BMC nutrition
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Medicine (miscellaneous), Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Nutrition and Dietetics, Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
Electronic version(s)
https://doi.org/10.1186/s40795-023-00684-2 (Access: Open)