Since the first version of the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) developed in the past decade, several other versions have been developed. However, to date no study has attempted to compare these versions with respect to their associations with biomarkers of inflammation.
We aimed to investigate the relationship between four dietary inflammatory scores [DII, two energy-adjusted derivatives (E-DII and E-DIIr), and the Inflammatory Score of the Diet (ISD)], and circulating levels of several inflammatory markers and adipokines.
This study included 17 637 participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort with at least one marker of inflammation measured in blood. Associations between the four scores and C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)6, IL10, IL1RA, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor-1 (sTNFR1), sTNFR2, leptin, soluble leptin receptor (sLeptin R), adiponectin, and High Molecular Weight (HMW) adiponectin were evaluated using multivariable linear regressions adjusted for potential confounders.
Positive associations were observed between the four dietary inflammatory scores and levels of CRP, IL6, sTNFR1, sTNFR2 and leptin. However, only the DII and the ISD were positively associated with IL1RA levels and only the DII and the E-DIIr were positively associated with TNFα levels. The proportion of variance of each biomarker explained by the scores was lower than 2%, which was equivalent to the variance explained by smoking status but much lower than that explained by body mass index.
Our results suggest that the four dietary inflammatory scores were associated with some biomarkers of inflammation and could be used to assess the inflammatory potential of diet in European adults but are not sufficient to capture the inflammatory status of an individual. These findings can help to better understand the inflammatory potential of diet, but they need to be replicated in studies with repeated dietary measurements.