How does what we eat affect our health and longevity? It is a complex dynamic system

Summary: The study sheds new light on how normal variations in dietary patterns affect human aging, longevity and overall health.

Source: Columbia University

The answer to a relatively straightforward question: How what we eat affects aging is inevitably complex, according to a new study from the Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Although most analyzes have been concerned with the effects of a single nutrient on a single outcome, a conventional, one-dimensional approach to understanding the effects of diet on health and aging no longer provides a picture complete: A healthy diet should be considered based on the balance of sets of nutrients, rather than optimizing a series of nutrients one at a time.

Until now, little was known about how normal variation in dietary patterns in humans affects the aging process.

The findings are published online in the journal BMC Biology.

“Our ability to understand the problem has been complicated by the fact that both nutrition and the physiology of aging are very complex and multidimensional, involving a large number of functional interactions,” said Alan Cohen, PhD, associate professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia. Mailman School

“This study therefore provides further support for the importance of looking beyond ‘one nutrient at a time’ as the one-size-fits-all answer to the age-old question of how to live a long and healthy life.”

Cohen also notes that the results are also consistent with numerous studies that highlight the need to increase protein intake in older people, in particular, to compensate for sarcopenia and the decline in physical performance associated with aging.

Using multidimensional modeling techniques to test the effects of nutrient intake on physiological dysregulation in older adults, the researchers identified key patterns of specific nutrients associated with minimal biological aging.

“Our approach presents a roadmap for future studies to explore the full complexity of the nutritional aging landscape,” observed Cohen, who is also affiliated with the Butler Columbia Aging Center.

Researchers analyzed data from 1,560 older men and women, ages 67 to 84, randomly selected between November 2003 and June 2005 from the Montreal, Laval, or Sherbrooke areas of Quebec, Canada, who were reexamined annually for 3 years and more. four years to assess on a large scale how nutrient intake is associated with the aging process.

Aging and age-related loss of homeostasis (physiological dysregulation) were quantified by integrating blood biomarkers. Effects of diet used the geometric framework for nutrition, applied to macronutrients and 19 micronutrient/nutrient subclasses.

The researchers fitted a series of eight models exploring different nutritional predictors and adjusted for income, education level, age, physical activity, number of comorbidities, sex, and current smoking status.

Four broad patterns were observed:

  • The optimal level of nutrient intake depended on the aging metric used. High protein intake improved/depressed some parameters of aging, while high carbohydrate levels improved/depressed others;
  • There were cases where intermediate levels of nutrients performed well for many outcomes (ie arguing against a simple plus/minus is better perspective);
  • There is a wide tolerance for nutrient intake patterns that do not deviate too far from norms (‘homeostatic plateaus’).
  • Optimal levels of one nutrient often depend on levels of another (for example, vitamin E and vitamin C). Simpler analytical approaches are insufficient to capture these associations.

The research team also developed an interactive tool to allow users to explore how different combinations of micronutrients affect different aspects of aging.

Using multidimensional modeling techniques to test the effects of nutrient intake on physiological dysregulation in older adults, the researchers identified key patterns of specific nutrients associated with minimal biological aging. The image is in the public domain

The results of this study are consistent with previous experimental work in mice showing that high-protein diets can accelerate aging earlier in life but are beneficial at older ages.

“These results are not experimental and will need to be validated in other contexts. Specific findings, such as the importance of the combination of vitamin E and vitamin C, may not be replicated in other studies.

“But the qualitative finding that there are no simple answers to optimal nutrition is likely to hold: it was evident in almost all of our analyses, from a wide variety of approaches, and is consistent with evolutionary principles and a lot of previous work,” Cohen said. .

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Co-authors are Alistair M. Senior, David Raubenheimer and Stephen J. Simpson, University of Sydney; Véronique Legault and Francis B. Lavoie, University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; Nancy Presse and Valérie Turcot, CIUSSS-de-l’Estrie-CHUS, Sherbrooke, Canada; the University Institute of Geriatrics of Montreal, Montreal, Canada, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada; Pierrette Gaudreau, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada; David G. Le Couteur, University of Sydney and Aging and Alzheimers Institute and ANZAC Research Institute, Concord Hospital, New South Wales, Australia.

Funding: The study was supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC DECRA: DE180101520), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grants 153011 and 62842; as well as grants from Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) grant #2020-VICO-279753, Quebec Network for Research on Aging.

About this diet and aging research news

Author: Stephanie Berger
Source: Columbia University
Contact: Stephanie Berger – Columbia University
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original research: Open access
“Multidimensional Associations Between Nutrient Intake and Healthy Aging in Humans” by Alan Cohen et al. BMC Biology


Summary

Multidimensional associations between nutrient intake and healthy aging in humans

background

Little is known about how normal variation in dietary patterns in humans affects the aging process. To date, most analyzes of the problem have used a unidimensional paradigm, dealing with the effects of a single nutrient on a single outcome. Perhaps, then, our ability to understand the problem has been complicated by the fact that both nutrition and the physiology of aging are very complex and multidimensional, involving a large number of functional interactions. Here we apply the multidimensional geometric framework for nutrition to biological aging data from 1560 older adults followed over four years to assess at scale how nutrient intake is associated with the aging process.

results

Aging and age-related loss of homeostasis (physiological dysregulation) were quantified by integrating blood biomarkers. Dietary effects were modeled using the Geometric Framework for Nutrition, applied to macronutrients and 19 micronutrient/nutrient subclasses. We observed four broad patterns: (1) The optimal level of nutrient intake depended on the aging metric used. High protein intake improved/depressed some aging parameters, while high carbohydrate levels improved/depressed others; (2) There were nonlinearities where intermediate levels of nutrients worked well for many outcomes (ie, arguing against a simple more/less is better perspective); (3) There is a wide tolerance for nutrient intake patterns that do not deviate too far from norms (‘homeostatic plateaus’). (4) Optimal levels of one nutrient often depend on levels of another (eg, vitamin E and vitamin C). Simpler linear/univariate analytical approaches are insufficient to capture these associations. We present an interactive tool for exploring results in the high-dimensional nutritional space.

conclusion

Using multidimensional modeling techniques to test the effects of nutrient intake on physiological dysregulation in an aging population, we identified key patterns of specific nutrients associated with minimal biological aging. Our approach presents a roadmap for future studies to explore the full complexity of the nutritional aging landscape.

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