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Experimental studies have reported on the anti-inflammatory properties of polyphenols. However, results from epidemiological investigations have been inconsistent and especially studies using biomarkers for assessment of polyphenol intake have been scant. We aimed to characterise the association between plasma concentrations of thirty-five polyphenol compounds and low-grade systemic inflammation state as measured by high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP). A cross-sectional data analysis was performed based on 315 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort with available measurements of plasma polyphenols and hsCRP. In logistic regression analysis, the OR and 95 % CI of elevated serum hsCRP (>3 mg/l) were calculated within quartiles and per standard deviation higher level of plasma polyphenol concentrations. In a multivariable-adjusted model, the sum of plasma concentrations of all polyphenols measured (per standard deviation) was associated with 29 (95 % CI 50, 1) % lower odds of elevated hsCRP. In the class of flavonoids, daidzein was inversely associated with elevated hsCRP (OR 0·66, 95 % CI 0·46, 0·96). Among phenolic acids, statistically significant associations were observed for 3,5-dihydroxyphenylpropionic acid (OR 0·58, 95 % CI 0·39, 0·86), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylpropionic acid (OR 0·63, 95 % CI 0·46, 0·87), ferulic acid (OR 0·65, 95 % CI 0·44, 0·96) and caffeic acid (OR 0·69, 95 % CI 0·51, 0·93). The odds of elevated hsCRP were significantly reduced for hydroxytyrosol (OR 0·67, 95 % CI 0·48, 0·93). The present study showed that polyphenol biomarkers are associated with lower odds of elevated hsCRP. Whether diet rich in bioactive polyphenol compounds could be an effective strategy to prevent or modulate deleterious health effects of inflammation should be addressed by further well-powered longitudinal studies.
In vitro studies have shown several beneficial properties of resveratrol. Epidemiological evidence is still scarce, probably because of the difficulty in estimating resveratrol exposure accurately. The current study aimed to assess the relationships between acute and habitual dietary resveratrol and wine intake and urinary resveratrol excretion in a European population. A stratified random subsample of 475 men and women from four countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cross-sectional study, who had provided 24-h urine samples and completed a 24-h dietary recall (24-HDR) on the same day, were included. Acute and habitual dietary data were collected using standardised 24-HDR software and a validated country-specific dietary questionnaire, respectively. Phenol-Explorer was used to estimate the intake of resveratrol and other stilbenes. Urinary resveratrol was analysed using tandem MS. Spearman’s correlation coefficients between estimated dietary intakes of resveratrol and other stilbenes and consumption of wine, their main food source, were very high (r>0·9) when measured using dietary questionnaires and were slightly lower with 24-HDR (r>0·8). Partial Spearman’s correlations between urinary resveratrol excretion and intake of resveratrol, total stilbenes or wine were found to be higher when using the 24-HDR (R2partial approximately 0·6) than when using the dietary questionnaires (R2partial approximately 0·5). Moderate to high correlations between dietary resveratrol, total stilbenes and wine, and urinary resveratrol concentrations were observed. These support the earlier findings that 24-h urinary resveratrol is an effective biomarker of both resveratrol and wine intakes. These correlations also support the validity of the estimation of resveratrol intake using the dietary questionnaire and Phenol-Explorer.
In contrast to some extensively examined food mutagens, for example, aflatoxins, N-nitrosamines and heterocyclic amines, some other food contaminants, in particular polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and other aromatic compounds, have received less attention. Therefore, exploring the relationships between dietary habits and the levels of biomarkers related to exposure to aromatic compounds is highly relevant. We have investigated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort the association between dietary items (food groups and nutrients) and aromatic DNA adducts and 4-aminobiphenyl-Hb adducts. Both types of adducts are biomarkers of carcinogen exposure and possibly of cancer risk, and were measured, respectively, in leucocytes and erythrocytes of 1086 (DNA adducts) and 190 (Hb adducts) non-smokers. An inverse, statistically significant, association has been found between DNA adduct levels and dietary fibre intake (P = 0·02), vitamin E (P = 0·04) and alcohol (P = 0·03) but not with other nutrients or food groups. Also, an inverse association between fibre and fruit intake, and BMI and 4-aminobiphenyl-Hb adducts (P = 0·03, 0·04, and 0·03 respectively) was observed. After multivariate regression analysis these inverse correlations remained statistically significant, except for the correlation adducts v. fruit intake. The present study suggests that fibre intake in the usual range can modify the level of DNA or Hb aromatic adducts, but such role seems to be quantitatively modest. Fibres could reduce the formation of DNA adducts in different manners, by diluting potential food mutagens and carcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract, by speeding their transit through the colon and by binding carcinogenic substances.
Dietary habits play an important role in healthy ageing. We have investigated the role of dietary patterns on overall mortality in a large series of Italian elderly, recruited in five EPIC cohorts in Northern (Varese and Turin), Central (Florence) and Southern Italy (Naples and Ragusa).A total of 5611 subjects (72·6 % women) aged 60 years or older, enrolled in 1993–1998, were prospectively followed (median 6·2 years), with 152 deaths (98 women). Four major dietary patterns were identified by using an exploratory factor analysis based on dietary information collected at enrolment. The associations between these dietary patterns and overall mortality were evaluated by Cox models adjusted for potential confounders. The ‘Olive Oil & Salad’ pattern, characterised by a high consumption of olive oil, raw vegetables, soups and poultry, emerged as being inversely associated with overall mortality in both crude and adjusted models. After adjustment for gender, age and caloric intake, overall mortality was reduced by approximately 50 % in the highest quartile and a significant trend emerged (P = 0·008). This association persisted after adjusting for several additional confounders (hazard ratio (HR) 0·50; 95 % CI 0·29, 0·86; P for trend = 0·02). An association of the ‘Pasta & Meat’ pattern (characterised by pasta, tomato sauce, red meat, processed meat, added animal fat, white bread and wine) with increased overall mortality was also suggested, but only for the highest quartile in a multivariate model. Dietary recommendations aimed at the Italian elderly population should support a dietary pattern characterised by a high consumption of olive oil, raw vegetables and poultry.
To investigate the association of a posteriori dietary patterns with overall survival of older Europeans.
Design and setting
This is a multi-centre cohort study. Cox regression analysis was used to investigate the association of the prevailing, a posteriori-derived, plant-based dietary pattern with all-cause mortality in a population of subjects who were 60 years or older at recruitment to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Elderly cohort). Analyses controlled for all known potential risk factors.
In total, 74 607 men and women, 60 years or older at enrolment and without previous coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer, with complete information about dietary intakes and potentially confounding variables, and with known survival status as of December 2003, were included in the analysis.
An increase in the score which measures the adherence to the plant-based diet was associated with a lower overall mortality, a one standard deviation increment corresponding to a statistically significant reduction of 14% (95% confidence interval 5–23%). In country-specific analyses the apparent association was stronger in Greece, Spain, Denmark and The Netherlands, and absent in the UK and Germany.
Greater adherence to the plant-based diet that was defined a posteriori in this population of European elders is associated with lower all-cause mortality. This dietary score is moderately positively correlated with the Modified Mediterranean Diet Score that has been constructed a priori and was also shown to be beneficial for the survival of the same EPIC-Elderly cohort.
Overall dietary patterns have been associated with health and longevity. We used principal component (PC) and cluster analyses to identify the prevailing dietary patterns of 99 744 participants, aged 60 years or older, living in nine European countries and participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Elderly cohort) and to examine their socio-demographic and lifestyle correlates. Two PC were identified: PC1 reflects a ‘vegetable-based’ diet with an emphasis on foods of plant origin, rice, pasta and other grain rather than on margarine, potatoes and non-alcoholic beverages. PC2 indicates a ‘sweet- and fat-dominated’ diet with a preference for sweets, added fat and dairy products but not meat, alcohol, bread and eggs. PC1 was associated with a younger age, a higher level of education, physical activity, a higher BMI, a lower waist:hip ratio and never and past smoking. PC2 was associated with older age, less education, never having smoked, a lower BMI and waist:hip ratio and lower levels of physical activity. Elderly individuals in southern Europe scored positively on PC1 and about zero on PC2, whereas the elderly in northern Europe scored negatively on PC1 and variably on PC2. The results of cluster analysis were compatible with the indicated dietary patterns. ‘Vegetable-based’ and a ‘sweet- and fat-dominated’ diets are prevalent among the elderly across Europe, and there is a north–south gradient regarding their dietary choices. Our study contributes to the identification of groups of elderly who are likely to have different prospects for long-term disease occurrence and survival.
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