Sex-Specific Associations of Blood-Based Nutrient Profiling With Body Composition in the Elderly

Tobias Konz, Aurelia Santoro, Laurence Goulet, Alberto Bazzocchi, Giuseppe Battista, Claudio Nicoletti, Fawzi Kadi, Rita Ostan, Michael Goy, Caroline Monnard, François-Pierre Martin, Jerome N Feige, Claudio Franceschi, Serge Rezzi

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Abstract

The intake of adequate amounts and types of nutrients is key for sustaining health and a good quality of life, particularly in the elderly population. There is considerable evidence suggesting that physiological changes related to age and sex modify nutritional needs, and this may be related to age-associated changes in body composition (BC), specifically in lean and fat body mass. However, there is a clear lack of understanding about the association of nutrients in blood and BC parameters in the elderly. This study investigated the relationships among blood nutrients (amino acids, fatty acids, major elements, trace-elements, and vitamins), BC and nutrient intake in a population of 176 healthy male and female Italian adults between the ages of 65 and 79 years. 89 blood markers, 77 BC parameters and dietary intake were evaluated. Multivariate data analysis was applied to infer relationships between datasets. As expected, the major variability between BC and the blood nutrient profile (BNP) observed was related to sex. Aside from clear sex-specific differences in BC, female subjects had higher BNP levels of copper, copper-to-zinc ratio, phosphorous and holotranscobalamin II and lower concentrations of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and proline. Fat mass, percentage of fat mass, percentage of lean mass and the skeletal muscle index (SMI) correlated the most with BNP in both sexes. Our data showed positive correlations in male subjects among ethanolamine, glycine, albumin, and sulfur with SMI, while palmitoleic acid and oleic acid exhibited negative correlations. This differed in female subjects, where SMI was positively associated with albumin, folic acid and sulfur, while CRP, proline and cis-8,11,14-eicosatrienoic acid were negatively correlated. We investigated the influence of diet on the observed BNP and BC correlations. Intriguingly, most of the components of the BNP, except for folate, did not exhibit a correlation with nutrient intake data. An understanding of the physiological and biochemical processes underpinning the observed sex-specific correlations between BNP and BC could help in identifying nutritional strategies to manage BC-changes in aging. This would contribute to a deeper understanding of aging-associated nutritional needs with the aim of helping the elderly population to maintain metabolic health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1935
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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    Konz, T., Santoro, A., Goulet, L., Bazzocchi, A., Battista, G., Nicoletti, C., Kadi, F., Ostan, R., Goy, M., Monnard, C., Martin, F-P., Feige, J. N., Franceschi, C., & Rezzi, S. (2018). Sex-Specific Associations of Blood-Based Nutrient Profiling With Body Composition in the Elderly. Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 1935. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01935