The measurement of dietary biomarkers in plasma and urine can contribute to individualized dietary advice in older people, according to an international study with the participation of CIBERFES and the University of Barcelona (UB), in collaboration with the National Institute of Aging (NIA) from the USA. This research determines that greater adherence to the Mediterranean Diet evaluated by means of an index elaborated with biomarkers during 20 years of follow-up is associated with lower mortality in adults over 65 years of age.
The work, led by researchers from the Group of Biomarkers and Nutritional Metabolomics of Food of the UB and belonging to CIBERFES, has been published in BMC Medicine and is based on the InCHIANTI study, in relation to the Italian region of Tuscany, which has followed for 20 years 642 participants (56% women) aged 65 years or older, with complete data on dietary biomarkers.
As explained by the UB professor Cristina Andrés-Lacueva, head of the CIBERFES group and participant in the study, "we developed an index of dietary biomarkers based on food groups that are part of the Mediterranean Diet, and we evaluated their association with the mortality".
Specifically, the reference levels of the following dietary biomarkers determined in urine were chosen: total polyphenols and resveratrol metabolites (from the intake of grapes) and present in plasma, plasma carotenoids, selenium, vitamin B12, fatty acids and their proportion monounsaturated/saturated. The associations of the Mediterranean Diet Index and a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) (as tertiles) with mortality were assessed using a predictive model.
During the 20 years of follow-up, there were 425 deaths (139 from cardiovascular disease and 89 from cancer-related causes) and when the models were analyzed, the Mediterranean Diet biomarker score was inversely associated with all causes of death .
For the CIBERFES researcher at the UB Tomás Meroño, co-first author of the study, "we conclude that adherence to the Mediterranean Diet evaluated by a panel of dietary biomarkers is inversely associated with long-term mortality in the elderly, which supports its use in long-term follow-up evaluations to monitor the health benefits associated with this eating pattern”.
Finally, this study highlights the use of dietary biomarkers to improve nutritional assessment and guide personalized advice in advanced ages.