Proinflammatory Diet Increases Circulating Inflammatory Biomarkers and Falls Risk in Community-Dwelling Older Men

Mavil May C. Cervo, David Scott, Markus J. Seibel, Robert G. Cumming, Vasi Naganathan, Fiona M. Blyth, David G. Le Couteur, David J. Handelsman, Rosilene V. Ribeiro, Louise M. Waite, Nitin Shivappa, James R. Hebert, Vasant Hirani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The relations between diet, chronic inflammation, and musculoskeletal health are unclear, especially among older men. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine associations of the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) with inflammatory biomarkers, musculoskeletal health, and falls risk in community-dwelling older men. METHODS: The cross-sectional analysis included 794 community-dwelling men, mean age 81.1 ± 4.5 y, who participated in the 5-y follow-up of the Concord Health and Aging in Men Project. Of these, 616 were seen again 3 y later for the longitudinal analysis. Energy-adjusted DII (E-DII) was calculated from a validated diet history questionnaire. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured using DXA. Twenty-four inflammatory biomarkers were analyzed. Incident falls over 3 y were determined through telephone interviews every 4 mo. Multiple regression, linear mixed effects models, negative binomial regression, and mediation analysis were utilized in this study. RESULTS: A higher E-DII score (indicating a more proinflammatory diet) was associated with higher concentrations of IL-6 (β: 0.028 pg/mL; 95% CI: 0.003, 0.053), IL-7 (β: 0.020 pg/mL; 95% CI: 0.002, 0.037), and TNF-α (β: 0.027 pg/mL; 95% CI: 0.003, 0.051). A higher E-DII score was also associated with lower appendicular lean mass adjusted for BMI (ALMBMI) (β: -0.006 kg/m2; 95% CI: -0.010, -0.001). For every unit increase in E-DII (range: -4.91 to +3.66 units), incident falls rates increased by 13% (incidence rate ratio: 1.13; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.21) over 3 y. Mediation analysis showed that the association between E-DII and 3-y incident falls was influenced by the concentrations of IL-7 by 24%. There was no association between E-DII and BMD. CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of a proinflammatory diet was associated with increased concentrations of IL-6, IL-7, and TNF-α; increased falls risk; and lower ALMBMI in community-dwelling older men. The association between incident falls and E-DII was partly mediated by concentrations of IL-7.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • bone mineral density
  • chronic inflammation
  • community-dwelling older men
  • dietary inflammatory index
  • falls
  • inflammatory biomarkers

Cite this