Chronic dairy product intake is associated with improved cardiovascular outcomes, whereas high dietary Na impairs endothelial function through increased oxidative stress and reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of acute cheese consumption with consumption of Na from non-dairy sources on microvascular function. We hypothesised that dairy cheese ingestion would augment NO-dependent vasodilation compared with Na from non-dairy sources. On five visits, fourteen subjects (61 (sem 2) years, eight male/six female) consumed either 85 g dairy cheese (560 mg Na), 85 g soya cheese (560 mg Na), 65 g pretzels (560 mg Na), 170 g dairy cheese (1120 mg Na) or 130 g pretzels (1120 mg Na). Two intradermal microdialysis fibres were inserted in the ventral forearm for delivery of lactated Ringer's solution or 10 mm-ascorbate (antioxidant) during local skin heating (approximately 50 min). Erythrocyte flux was measured continuously by laser-Doppler flowmetry (LDF), and cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC=LDF/mean arterial pressure) was normalised as %CVCmax (28 mm-sodium nitroprusside). Following a plateau in CVC, 15 mm-N G -nitro-l-arginine-methyl-ester was perfused to quantify NO-dependent vasodilation (approximately 45 min). NO-dependent vasodilation was greater following consumption of dairy products (560 mg Na 57 (sem 3) %) (1120 mg Na 55 (sem 5) %) compared with soya (560 mg Na 42 (sem 3) %; P=0·002) or pretzels (560 mg Na 43 (sem 4) %; P=0·004) (1120 mg Na 46 (sem 3) %; P=0·04). Ascorbate augmented NO-dependent vasodilation following intake of soya (control: 42 (sem 3) v. ascorbate: 54 (sem 3) %; P=0·01) or pretzels (560 mg Na; control: 43 (sem 4) v. ascorbate: 56 (sem 3) %; P=0·006) (1120 mg Na; control: 46 (sem 5) v. ascorbate: 56 (sem 3) %; P=0·02), but not dairy products. Na ingestion via dairy products was associated with greater NO-dependent vasodilation compared with non-dairy products, a difference that was ameliorated with ascorbate perfusion. The antioxidant properties of dairy proteins may protect against Na-induced reductions in NO-dependent dilation.