Acute or Short-term Effects of Whey Protein Alone or Along with Carbohydrate on Inflammation: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials

  • Ali Akbari Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Mahsa Moazen Nutrition Research Center, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Siavash Babajafari Nutrition Research Center, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Seyedeh Maryam Abdollahzadeh Nutrition Research Center, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Maryam Ranjbar Zahedani Department of Nutrition Sciences, School of Health, Larestan University of Medical Sciences, Larestan, Iran
  • Najmeh Sasani Nutrition Research Center, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Asma Kazemi Nutrition Research Center, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Keywords: Inflammation, Whey Proteins, Carbohydrates, Acute, Systematic Review


Background: Excessive inflammatory response is associated with several diseases. Recently, there has been an increasing trend for investigation of the acute or short-term effects of whey protein alone or in combination with carbohydrates on inflammatory status, especially in athletes. This systematic review aimed to clarify these effects. Materials and Methods: PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were searched from January 1990 to September 2021, without language restriction. Adult studies examining the effects of whey protein alone or together with carbohydrates on interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and C-reactive protein levels with a maximum duration of 15 days and with at least one comparison group were included. The quality of studies was analyzed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Results: Twenty-five studies met the inclusion criteria. Significant reductions in inflammatory markers was observed in seven out of 25 studies (28%). However, one out of 25 studies (4%) reported a significant increase in inflammatory status. Among those studies comparing the effects of whey protein alone with non-protein or protein-containing groups, 18.18% (two out of 11) and 10% (one out of ten) of the trials revealed a significant decrease in the markers, respectively. Moreover, of those studies comparing whey protein plus carbohydrate with non-protein or protein-containing groups, 33.33% (two out of six) and 40% (two out of five) of them showed a significant reduction in the inflammatory response, respectively. The quality of the majority of studies (84%) was poor. Conclusion: It seems that whey protein alone or the combination of it with carbohydrates may not affect the inflammatory markers in the short run (PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021273915).[GMJ.2023;12:e2441]


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How to Cite
Akbari, A., Moazen, M., Babajafari, S., Abdollahzadeh, S. M., Ranjbar Zahedani, M., Sasani, N., & Kazemi, A. (2023). Acute or Short-term Effects of Whey Protein Alone or Along with Carbohydrate on Inflammation: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials. Galen Medical Journal, 12, e2441.
Review Article