Meal-exercise challenge and physical activity reduction impact on immunity and inflammation (MERIIT trial)

Diana Silva, Rita Moreira, Oksana Sokhatska, Marília Beltrão, Tiago Montanha, Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, Rodrigo Villegas, Milton Severo, Andreia Pizarro, Mariana Pinto, Carla Martins, Ana Duarte, Luís Delgado, João Rufo, Inês Paciência, João Paulo Teixeira, Carla Costa, Pedro Moreira, Joana Carvalho, André Moreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The effect of a pre-exercise meal as countermeasure to exercise induced immunodepression is poorly known. Also, sedentary behavior is associated with increased cardiometabolic risk but studies on immune changes are lacking. Therefore, we aimed to assess: 1) the impact of a pre-exercise Mediterranean meal (MdM) compared with a fast-food type meal (FFM) on exercise-induced immunological changes and 2) the impact of an induced acute period of sedentary behavior on neuro-immune-endocrine status. Methods: /Design: This is a two steps clinical trial including: (a) randomized crossover clinical trial, comparing the effect a high-fat/low-nutrient dense meal, FFM, with an isoenergetic similar high-nutrient dense meal, MdM, in the immune response to an exercise challenge (EC) and (b) a pilot trial assessing the neuro-immune-endocrine change induced by acute decreasing by half the usual physical activity level. Results: A total of 46 participants (26 females), median aged 25 years were included. Of those 39-completed protocol, including overweight, physical active and inactive and participants with asthma. There were no differences in the EC between interventions. Dietary factors and physical activity were closely monitored during interventions and kept similar. During physical inactivity induction, 31% reached the target of 50% reduction in mean step number and 77% reached a 30% reduction. Conclusion: The use of a pre-exercise meal to modulate immune response and the understanding of the immunological impact of physical inactivity might help to establish future recommendations on how to practice exercise in a safer way and to recognize the potential impact of inactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-189
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials Communications
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Allostatic load
  • Exercise challenge
  • Meal
  • Physical inactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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