The inflammatory response is essential for survival in an environment where continuous exposure to noxious events threaten the integrity of the organism. However, the beneficial effects of the response are influenced by factors, which disadvantage individuals within a population. These factors include malnutrition, infection, genotype, gender, pre-existing inflammation, and chronic intoxication. Although the inflammatory response is generally successful in dealing with noxious events, life-long exposure to these events takes its toll on the integrity of the body and becomes apparent as chronic disease, atherosclerosis, organ failure, and frailty. Progress in ameliorating the consequences of lifetime exposure to inflammatory events can only occur if a fuller understanding can be obtained of the factors, which influence the persistence and outcome of the inflammatory response at an individual level. A multitude of studies has shown that specific nutrients, diets, and dietary restriction are able to modulate the inflammatory response in the population as a whole. To advance in this area, precise knowledge is needed of how the disadvantageous factors, mentioned above, affect the individual's response to anti-inflammatory nutrients.