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Associations between dietary inflammatory index scores and inflammatory biomarkers among older adults in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 study

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 628–636
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging
Issue number7
Early online date24 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2019


Objectives: Chronic low-grade inflammation is a key underlying mechanism in several age-related chronic conditions and previous studies have shown that diet can modulate the inflammatory process. We investigated the ability of the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII®), a summary measure of dietary inflammatory potential, to predict concentrations of plasma inflammatory markers in a sample of older people.

Design: Cross-sectional and 3-year follow-up analysis of Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936) study data. Setting: Baseline data collection occurred between 2004 and 2007 in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

Participants: Men and women (n 928, age ~70 at baseline) living in Edinburgh and surrounding regions who are surviving participants of the Scottish Mental Survey of 1947. 
Measurements: Energy-adjusted DII (E-DII) scores at age 70 (derived from a food-frequency questionnaire), plasma concentrations of inflammatory biomarkers at age 70 (C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen) and age 73 (CRP, fibrinogen, hs-CRP, Interleukin-6 (IL-6)). Analyses were performed using multivariable logistic regression adjusting for age, sex, smoking, body mass index, physical activity, and hypercholesterolaemia. 
Results: Higher E-DII scores (pro-inflammatory diet) were associated with increased odds of elevated CRP (>3mg/L) at age 70 (OR 1.12; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.24, P = 0.02, and elevated IL-6 (>1.6pg/ml) at age 73 (OR 1.11; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.23, P = 0.04), but not with fibrinogen. 

Conclusion: These results are consistent with the ability of the DII to predict inflammatory biomarker concentrations and suggest that diet plays a role in the regulation of inflammation, even after controlling for potential confounders. This validation study provides support for using the DII in research among older populations.

    Research areas

  • Dietary Inflammatory Index, inflammation, validation, c-reactive protein, Interleukin-6

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