15 June 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Biological age (BA) is the hypothetical underlying age of an organism and has been proposed as a more powerful predictor of health than chronological age (CA). The difference between BA and CA (Deltaage) reflects the rate of biological aging, with lower values indicating slowed-down aging. We sought to compare the relationship of four a priori-defined dietary patterns, including a traditional Mediterranean diet (MD) and three non-Mediterranean diets, with biological aging (Deltaage) among Italian adults. We also examined distinctive nutritional traits of these diets as potential mediators of such associations.

METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis on a sub-cohort of 4510 subjects (aged >/=35 y; 52.0% women) from the Moli-sani Study (enrolment, 2005-2010). Food intake was recorded by a 188-item semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. A Mediterranean diet score (MDS) was used as exposure and compared with non-Mediterranean dietary patterns, i.e. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), Palaeolithic and the Nordic diets. A Deep Neural Network based on 36 blood biomarkers was used to compute BA and the resulting Deltaage (BA-CA), which was tested as outcome in multivariable linear regressions adjusted for clinical factors, lifestyles and sociodemographic factors.

RESULTS: In a multivariable-adjusted model, 1 standard deviation increase in the MDS was inversely associated with Deltaage (beta = -0.23; 95%CI -0.40, -0.07), and similar findings were observed with the DASH diet (beta = -0.17; 95%CI -0.33, -0.01). High dietary polyphenol content explained 29.8% (p = 0.04) and 65.8% (p = 0.02) of these associations, respectively, while other nutritional factors analysed (e.g. dietary fibre) were unlikely to be on the pathway. No significant associations were found with either the Palaeolithic or the Nordic diets.

CONCLUSIONS: Increasing adherence to either the traditional MD or the DASH diet was associated with delayed biological aging, possibly through their high polyphenol content.

23 November 2020 In Phenolic compounds

Low grade inflammation is characterized by raised concentrations of inflammatory markers in the absence of any overt symptoms and is recognized as a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Many studies suggest that low grade inflammation is mitigated by health promoting behaviours such as healthy eating patterns, physical activity, body weight maintenance and tobacco cessation. To date, large scale studies were mainly focused on circulating markers and little evidence is available on cellular biomarkers.

The MOLI-SANI study is a prospective cohort study that has recruited 24 325 men and women aged >/=35 years from the general population of the Molise Region, a Southern Italian area, with the purpose of investigating genetic and environmental risk/protection factors for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and cancer. Within this cohort, a composite score of low grade inflammation based on the use of plasmatic (C-reactive protein) and cellular (leukocyte and platelet counts and granulocyte : lymphocyte ratio) biomarkers has been proposed and validated. This score accounts for all possible synergistic effects of such inflammatory markers, thus overcoming any potential bias linked to the multi-collinearity of these variables.

Of notice, the MOLI-SANI study was the first to address the relationship between the traditional Mediterranean diet and platelet and leucocyte counts as emerging cellular biomarkers of low grade inflammation. The present review paper will discuss the main findings derived from the MOLI-SANI study on the association of low grade inflammation with a Mediterranean eating pattern, with a particular emphasis on the associated dietary polyphenols.

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