Greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet, which had been evaluated using an index produced with biomarkers during a 20-year scientific follow-up, is associated with lower mortality in adults over 65 years of age. This is one of the main conclusions of a study conducted by Cristina Andrés-Lacueva, head of the research group on biomarkers and nutritional and food metabolomics of the faculty of pharmacy and food sciences of the University of Barcelona ( UB) and CIBER on Frailty and Healthy Aging (CIBERFES), also formed by the Food Innovation Network of Catalonia (XIA).
The article, published in the journal Medicine BCM, was conducted in collaboration with the US National Institute on Aging (NIA). According to the findings, the analysis of dietary biomarkers in plasma and urine can contribute to the individualized dietary assessment of the elderly. The study is based on the InCHIANTI project, carried out in the Italian Tuscany region, a study that was carried out for twenty years on a total of 642 participants (56% women) aged over 65 and which allowed researchers to obtain comprehensive data on dietary biomarkers.
As stated by Professor UB Cristina Andrés-Lacueva, head of the research group at CIBERFES, “we are developing a food biomarker index based on the food groups that are part of the Mediterranean diet, and we are evaluating their association with the mortality”.
In the study, researchers chose baseline levels of the following dietary biomarkers in urine: total polyphenols and metabolites of resveratrol (from grape consumption) and present in plasma, plasma carotenoids, selenium , vitamin B12, fatty acids and their proportion of monounsaturated and saturated. fatty acids. Using a predictive model, they assessed associations of the Mediterranean Diet Index and the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) with mortality.
During the twenty years of surveillance, there were 425 deaths (139 from cardiovascular disease and 89 from cancer-related causes). Once the models were analyzed, the Mediterranean diet score using the biomarkers was inversely associated with all causes of death.
This study highlights the use of dietary biomarkers to improve nutritional status and guide personalized assessment in the elderly. As noted by UB CIBERFES researcher Tomás Meroño, the study’s co-first signatory, the researchers “confirm that adherence to the Mediterranean diet as assessed by a panel of dietary biomarkers is inversely associated with long-term mortality term in the elderly, which supports the use of these biomarkers in follow-up assessments to study the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet”.