A cross-sectional study revealed that diets high in inflammatory food were associated with brain aging markers and cerebral small vessel disease.
Compared to anti-inflammatory diets (DII), those deemed pro-inflammatory were associated with a smaller total brain volume (beta-0). 16, P<0. 0001) after adjusting for demographic, clinical, and lifestyle covariates, according to epidemiologist Debora Melo van Lent, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at UT Health San Antonio in Texas, and co-authors.
Higher DII scores, which indicate more pro-inflammatory foods, were also associated to a smaller total gray matter volume (beta-0). 08, P=0.003) and larger lateral ventricular volume (beta 0. 04, P=0. 03), the researchers reported in Alzheimer’s & Dementia. There were no associations with any other brain MRI measurements.
“Diet can influence systemic inflammation processes in the body, which includes the brain,” researchers found.
” “In our study, we found evidence that there was an association between DII scores with global markers brain volumes and vascular injury. These are early indicators of dementia,” they wrote. Previous studies have also shown an association between DII scores and dementia risk factors. These findings suggest that dietary modifications could be used to prevent dementia. “
The DII index used in the study consisted of 31 dietary components including anti-inflammatory nutrients, pro-inflammatory nutrients, whole foods, and caffeine from food intake. Dietary components were categorized as:
- Anti-inflammatory: alcohol, beta carotene, caffeine, dietary fiber, folic acid, magnesium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, zinc, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, omega-3 fat, omega-6 fat, selenium, vitamins B6, A, C, D, E, green/black tea, pepper, and garlic
- Pro-inflammatory: vitamin B12, iron, carbohydrates, cholesterol, total energy intake, protein, saturated fat, and total fat
In previous research, diets with high inflammatory potential had been tied to dementia or cognitive impairment, but there’s limited research about diet-driven inflammation and early MRI markers of neurodegeneration and vascular brain damage, Melo van Lent and co-authors said.
” The relationship between energy-adjusted DII outcomes and structural MRI outcomes for brain aging was only investigated once in a small sample of participants. They concluded that no significant relationships had been found.
Melo van Lent and colleagues studied 1,897 participants in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort who completed food frequency questionnaires and underwent brain MRI scans. Data from the food frequency questionnaire were collected multiple times over a decade. Average DII scores were calculated over a median period of seven years.
Participants had an average baseline age of 62 years; about 54% were women and 23% carried an apolipoprotein E e4 (APOE4) allele. Participants with significant neurological diseases, stroke or dementia were excluded.
The mean DII score for was -0. 26, indicating that diets in the group on average were anti-inflammatory relative to the global mean in the DII world database. Higher DII scores did not correlate with brain aging markers in the region, however, some results were affected by APOE4 status or sex. DII scores were associ