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The Dietary Inflammatory Index Is Associated with Low Muscle Mass and Low Muscle Function in Older Australians

Marlene Gojanovic  1 , Kara L Holloway-Kew  1 , Natalie K Hyde  1 , Mohammadreza Mohebbi  2 , et al

Nutrients. 2021 Apr 1;13(4):1166.doi: 10.3390/nu13041166.

Age-associated chronic, low grade systemic inflammation has been recognised as an important contributing factor in the development of sarcopenia; importantly, diet may regulate this process. This cross-sectional study examined the association of diet-related inflammation with components of sarcopenia. Participants (n = 809) aged 60-95 years from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study were studied. Body composition was measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. In this study, low appendicular lean mass (ALM/height2, kg/m2) was defined as T-score < -1 and low muscle function as Timed-Up-and-Go >10 s over 3 m (TUG > 10). Dietary inflammatory index (DII®) scores, based on specific foods and nutrients, were computed using dietary data collected from a food frequency questionnaire. Associations between DII scores and low muscle mass and low muscle function, alone and combined, were determined using linear and logistic regression. After adjusting for covariates, higher DII score was associated with lower ALM/height2 (β -0.05, standard error (SE) 0.02, p = 0.028), and higher natural log-transformed (ln) (TUG) (β 0.02, standard error 0.01, p = 0.035) and higher likelihood for these components combined (odds ratio 1.33, 95% confidence interval 1.05 to 1.69, p = 0.015).

 A pro-inflammatory diet, as indicated by higher DII score, is associated with lower muscle mass, poorer muscle function and increased likelihood for the combination of low muscle mass and low muscle function. Further studies investigating whether anti-inflammatory dietary interventions could reduce the risk of sarcopenia are needed.