Researchers investigated how much the consumption of flavonoids has an impact on the biological age of the heart, kidneys, liver and the whole body .
Chronological age, biological age, and diet
Chronological age refers only to the number of years that have passed, but biological age refers to the lasting damage accumulated over those years. Unhealthy habits and behaviors, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, accelerate biological age. Biological age can also be accelerated due to chronic diseases and cancer. On the other hand, a healthy diet and exercise can slow down biological age.
The Mediterranean diet is known as a method of slowing down biological aging. Previous research has shown that adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with biological age that is one year below chronological age [2, 3].
Fruits and vegetables are important components of the Mediterranean diet, and the flavonoids found in these foods are the focus of recent research. Flavonoids have many beneficial properties, and previous research has found them to protect against oxidation, inflammation, mutagens, and carcinogens. . Due to these beneficial properties, the authors hypothesized that flavonoids could reduce the rate of biological aging.
To test their hypothesis, they used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies. They analyzed the flavonoid intake of 3,193 study participants who described their diets in 24-dietary recall interviews.
Assess biological age
The authors categorized study participants into three groups based on their intake of flavonoids. They determined the participants’ whole-body, cardiovascular, renal, and liver biological ages using several biomarkers, including blood pressure, fasting glucose, fasting cholesterol levels, and fasting triglycerides. The study uses a metric called ∆age to represent the difference between the biological and chronological age of an individual.
The researchers looked for several confounding factors, noting that participants with the highest intake of flavonoids were less likely to be smokers or heavy alcohol users and less likely to have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. However, they are more likely to be overweight. People with the highest intake of flavonoids also consumed more fiber, total fat, protein and carbohydrates.
While people without chronic kidney disease have an age ∆0.62 years, the biological age of people with chronic kidney disease is higher than their chronological age, and their ∆age is 7.41 years.
Find the correlation
The investigators observed lower ∆age for whole body and liver in the moderate and highest intake groups. The group with the lowest intake of flavonoids had a whole body ∆age of 0.22 and a liver ∆age of 0.44. The moderate group had -0.51 for the whole body and -4.15 for the liver. The group with the highest intake of flavonoids had the greatest differences, ranging from -4.69 for the liver to -1.10 for the rest of the body.
Flavonoids are a diverse group of compounds that have different impacts on biological age. For example, isoflavones and flavones have a significant impact on delaying whole-body and cardiovascular aging.
In addition, anthocyanidins showed a profound impact on the ∆age of study participants. Participants with the highest intake of anthocyanidins had the lowest ∆age for whole body (-1.45), cardiovascular system (-1.87), renal system (-1.10), and liver (-6.31). Differences between the sexes were also observed, with females showing higher liver ∆age but lower whole-body, cardiovascular, and renal ∆age.
Overall, the authors report that higher intake of flavonoids is inversely correlated with whole-body, cardiovascular, and hepatic age. After analyzing the multiple variables analyzed, they found that “higher total flavonoid intake was found to be associated with lower cardiovascular, hepatic, and whole-body biological age among white participants who did not smoke, consumed alcohol, and were free from chronic disease. “
This analysis is in line with previous studies linking compounds such as flavonoids and increases in various aging markers. While this study does not prove causation, the researchers suggest that this correlation results from the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of a flavonoid-rich diet.
 Xing, W., Gao, W., Zhao, Z., Xu, X., Bu, H., Su, H., Mao, G., & Chen, J. (2023). Dietary flavonoid intake contributes to delaying the biological aging process: analysis from the NHANES dataset. Journal of translational medicine, 21(1), 492.
 Esposito, S., Gialluisi, A., Costanzo, S., Di Castelnuovo, A., Ruggiero, E., De Curtis, A., Persichillo, M., Cerletti, C., Donati, MB, de Gaetano, G ., Iacoviello, L., Bonaccio, M., & On Behalf of the Researchers For the Moli-Sani Study (2021). Dietary Polyphenol Intake Associated with Biological Aging, a New Predictor of Cardiovascular Disease: Cross-Sectional Findings from the Moli-Sani Study. Nutrition, 13(5), 1701.
 Gialluisi, A., Di Castelnuovo, A., Costanzo, S., Bonaccio, M., Persichillo, M., Magnacca, S., De Curtis, A., Cerletti, C., Donati, MB, de Gaetano, G ., Capobianco, E., Iacoviello, L., & Moli-sani Study Investigators (2022). Exploring the domains, clinical implications, and environmental associations of deep learning markers of biological aging. European journal of epidemiology, 37(1), 35–48.
 Panche, AN, Diwan, AD, & Chandra, SR (2016). Flavonoids: an overview. Journal of nutritional science, 5, e47.
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