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Effects of Plant-Based Nutrition on Ageing

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Geriatric Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2023) | Viewed by 21628

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Zentrum für Physiologische Medizin, Medizinische Universität Graz, Graz, Austria
Interests: redox biology; low-grade inflammation; plant-based nutrition; dietary supplements; functional foods; sports nutrition

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Guest Editor
School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK
Interests: health benefits of plant-derived chemicals; flavonoids and cognitive performance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133, USA
Interests: secondary metabolism of plants under stress conditions; functional foods and cell molecular targets; postharvest biology and technology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Human ageing is a complex and individualized process that occurs in the biological, psychological, and social spheres. Biological ageing is characterized by changes in the metabolism and physicochemical properties of cells, leading to impaired self-regulation, regeneration, and even alterations in functional tissues and organs. Ageing is also accompanied by concomitants such as changes in cognitive function, mobility, muscle mass and function, bone mass and density, and sensory perceptions such as vision, hearing, taste, smell, and pain. In other words, the whole human physiology changes as we age.

Over the last few decades, scientific evidence has demonstrated that the ageing process is influenced by our lifestyle. A key player in this regard is nutrition and diet. Over the last few decades, increasing research has indicated that plant-based diets can have beneficial effects on the ageing process and life expectancy, including healthy life years. These effects were observed in both a direct manner, by analyzing life expectancy between cohorts on different dietary patterns, or via “surrogates”, e.g., changes in the inflammatory, redox, immunological, or microbiomic status of humans. However, there are still significant knowledge gaps that must be addressed to fully understand the effects of plant-based nutrition on ageing. Ageing research will continue to find solutions to extend life expectancy and, especially, to ensure a high quality of life leading up to old age.

This Special Issue aims to address the effect of plant-based nutrition, including plant-based dietary interventions, on ageing.

We encourage all investigators in this field, from young and talented fellows to experienced senior scientists, to submit cutting-edge research on the topic of plant-based nutrition and its relation to ageing.

We invite you to submit original research, reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, or computational modelling research to this Special Issue to broaden our knowledge and open new research directions.

Dr. Manfred Lamprecht
Prof. Dr. Claire Williams
Prof. Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ageing
  • elderly
  • plant-based nutrition
  • fruit and vegetables
  • fibres
  • legumes and cereals
  • plant-based dietary supplements
  • life expectancy
  • longevity

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 964 KiB  
Article
The Relationship between Mushroom Intake and Cognitive Performance: An Epidemiological Study in the European Investigation of Cancer—Norfolk Cohort (EPIC-Norfolk)
by Sara Cha, Lynne Bell and Claire M. Williams
Nutrients 2024, 16(3), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16030353 - 25 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2946
Abstract
The previous literature suggests that regular consumption of edible mushrooms may confer neuroprotective cognitive health benefits. To further investigate the possible association between mushrooms and brain function during ageing, data from a population-based study of diet and chronic disease (EPIC-Norfolk cohort) were analysed. [...] Read more.
The previous literature suggests that regular consumption of edible mushrooms may confer neuroprotective cognitive health benefits. To further investigate the possible association between mushrooms and brain function during ageing, data from a population-based study of diet and chronic disease (EPIC-Norfolk cohort) were analysed. Changes in mushroom intake were measured using a food frequency questionnaire at three health check (HC) points over an 18-year period, with participants categorised based on their consumption frequency. Cognitive performance was assessed at the final health check (3HC) via a battery of validated tests assessing a range of different cognitive domains. The findings revealed a significant reduction in mushroom intake over time, with 4.12% of the cohort giving up mushrooms after previously consuming them. At 3HC, mushroom consumers displayed better cognitive performance than non-consumers across multiple cognitive domains. This relationship was observed to be dose-dependent, with those consuming 1 or more portions per week showing the highest cognitive scores. These findings suggest that regular mushroom consumption may be beneficial for cognitive function during aging. Further randomised controlled trials will be needed to confirm any potential benefits of mushrooms on long-term cognitive health, alongside public health initiatives to promote mushroom consumption in this older-adult demographic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Plant-Based Nutrition on Ageing)
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24 pages, 5020 KiB  
Article
Cannflavins A and B with Anti-Ferroptosis, Anti-Glycation, and Antioxidant Activities Protect Human Keratinocytes in a Cell Death Model with Erastin and Reactive Carbonyl Species
by Huifang Li, Ni Deng, Tess Puopolo, Xian Jiang, Navindra P. Seeram, Chang Liu and Hang Ma
Nutrients 2023, 15(21), 4565; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15214565 - 27 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1461
Abstract
Precursors of advanced glycation endproducts, namely, reactive carbonyl species (RCSs), are aging biomarkers that contribute to cell death. However, the impact of RCSs on ferroptosis—an iron-dependent form of cell death—in skin cells remains unknown. Herein, we constructed a cellular model (with human keratinocyte; [...] Read more.
Precursors of advanced glycation endproducts, namely, reactive carbonyl species (RCSs), are aging biomarkers that contribute to cell death. However, the impact of RCSs on ferroptosis—an iron-dependent form of cell death—in skin cells remains unknown. Herein, we constructed a cellular model (with human keratinocyte; HaCaT cells) to evaluate the cytotoxicity of the combinations of RCSs (including glyoxal; GO and methyglyoxal; MGO) and erastin (a ferroptosis inducer) using bioassays (measuring cellular lipid peroxidation and iron content) and proteomics with sequential window acquisition of all theoretical mass spectra. Additionally, a data-independent acquisition approach was used to characterize RCSs’ and erastin’s molecular network including genes, canonical pathways, and upstream regulators. Using this model, we evaluated the cytoprotective effects of two dietary flavonoids including cannflavins A and B against RCSs and erastin-induced cytotoxicity in HaCaT cells. Cannflavins A and B (at 0.625 to 20 µM) inhibited ferroptosis by restoring the cell viability (by 56.6–78.6% and 63.8–81.1%) and suppressing cellular lipid peroxidation (by 42.3–70.2% and 28.8–63.6%), respectively. They also alleviated GO + erastin- or MGO + erastin-induced cytotoxicity by 62.2–67.6% and 56.1–69.3%, and 35.6–54.5% and 33.8–62.0%, respectively. Mechanistic studies supported that the cytoprotective effects of cannflavins A and B are associated with their antioxidant activities including free radical scavenging capacity and an inhibitory effect on glycation. This is the first study showing that cannflavins A and B protect human keratinocytes from RCSs + erastin-induced cytotoxicity, which supports their potential applications as dietary interventions for aging-related skin conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Plant-Based Nutrition on Ageing)
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16 pages, 1222 KiB  
Article
Associating Inulin with a Pea Protein Improves Fast-Twitch Skeletal Muscle Mass and Muscle Mitochondrial Activities in Old Rats
by Jérôme Salles, Marine Gueugneau, Véronique Patrac, Carmen Malnero-Fernandez, Christelle Guillet, Olivier Le Bacquer, Christophe Giraudet, Phelipe Sanchez, Marie-Laure Collin, Julien Hermet, Corinne Pouyet, Yves Boirie, Heidi Jacobs and Stéphane Walrand
Nutrients 2023, 15(17), 3766; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15173766 - 28 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1259
Abstract
Aging is associated with a decline in muscle mass and function, leading to increased risk for mobility limitations and frailty. Dietary interventions incorporating specific nutrients, such as pea proteins or inulin, have shown promise in attenuating age-related muscle loss. This study aimed to [...] Read more.
Aging is associated with a decline in muscle mass and function, leading to increased risk for mobility limitations and frailty. Dietary interventions incorporating specific nutrients, such as pea proteins or inulin, have shown promise in attenuating age-related muscle loss. This study aimed to investigate the effect of pea proteins given with inulin on skeletal muscle in old rats. Old male rats (20 months old) were randomly assigned to one of two diet groups for 16 weeks: a ‘PEA’ group receiving a pea-protein-based diet, or a ‘PEA + INU’ group receiving the same pea protein-based diet supplemented with inulin. Both groups showed significant postprandial stimulation of muscle p70 S6 kinase phosphorylation rate after consumption of pea proteins. However, the PEA + INU rats showed significant preservation of muscle mass with time together with decreased MuRF1 transcript levels. In addition, inulin specifically increased PGC1-α expression and key mitochondrial enzyme activities in the plantaris muscle of the old rats. These findings suggest that dietary supplementation with pea proteins in combination with inulin has the potential to attenuate age-related muscle loss. Further research is warranted to explore the underlying mechanisms and determine the optimal dosage and duration of intervention for potential translation to human studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Plant-Based Nutrition on Ageing)
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21 pages, 7981 KiB  
Article
Attenuation of Aging-Related Oxidative Stress Pathways by Phytonutrients: A Computational Systems Biology Analysis
by V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai and Prabhakar Deonikar
Nutrients 2023, 15(17), 3762; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15173762 - 28 Aug 2023
Viewed by 2765
Abstract
Aging results from gradual accumulation of damage to the cellular functions caused by biochemical processes such as oxidative stress, inflammation-driven prolonged cellular senescence state, immune system malfunction, psychological stress, and epigenetic changes due to exposure to environmental toxins. Plant-derived bioactive molecules have been [...] Read more.
Aging results from gradual accumulation of damage to the cellular functions caused by biochemical processes such as oxidative stress, inflammation-driven prolonged cellular senescence state, immune system malfunction, psychological stress, and epigenetic changes due to exposure to environmental toxins. Plant-derived bioactive molecules have been shown to ameliorate the damage from oxidative stress. This research seeks to uncover the mechanisms of action of how phytochemicals from fruit/berry/vegetable (FBV) juice powder mitigate oxidative stress. The study uses a computational systems biology approach to (1) identify biomolecular pathways of oxidative stress; (2) identify phytochemicals from FBV juice powder and their specific action on oxidative stress mechanisms; and (3) quantitatively estimate the effects of FBV juice powder bioactive compounds on oxidative stress. The compounds in FBV affected two oxidative stress molecular pathways: (1) reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and (2) antioxidant enzyme production. Six bioactive compounds including cyanidin, delphinidin, ellagic acid, kaempherol, malvidin, and rutin in FBV significantly lowered production of ROS and increased the production of antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, heme oxygenase-1, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase. FBV juice powder provides a combination of bioactive compounds that attenuate aging by affecting multiple pathways of oxidative stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Plant-Based Nutrition on Ageing)
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20 pages, 349 KiB  
Article
“I Always Buy the Purple Ones … If I See Them”: Socioecological Factors Influencing Anthocyanin-Rich Food Consumption for Cognitive Health in Older Adults
by Katherine Kent, Karen Larsen-Truong, Catharine Fleming, Li Li, Lyn Phillipson, Genevieve Z. Steiner-Lim and Karen E. Charlton
Nutrients 2023, 15(5), 1194; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15051194 - 27 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2571
Abstract
Despite the positive relationship between anthocyanin-rich foods and cognitive health, a dietary deficit exists in older adults. Effective interventions require an understanding of people’s dietary behaviors situated in social and cultural contexts. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore older adults’ [...] Read more.
Despite the positive relationship between anthocyanin-rich foods and cognitive health, a dietary deficit exists in older adults. Effective interventions require an understanding of people’s dietary behaviors situated in social and cultural contexts. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore older adults’ perceptions about increasing their consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods for cognitive health. Following an educational session and the provision of a recipe and information book, an online survey and focus groups with Australian adults aged 65 years or older (n = 20) explored the barriers and enablers towards eating more anthocyanin-rich foods and potential strategies to achieve dietary change. An iterative, qualitative analysis identified the themes and classified the barriers, enablers and strategies onto the Social-Ecological model levels of influence (individual, interpersonal, community, society). Enabling factors included a desire to eat healthily, taste preference and familiarity of anthocyanin-rich foods (individual), social support (community), and the availability of some anthocyanin-rich foods (society). The barriers included budget, dietary preferences and motivation (individual), household influences (interpersonal), limited availability and access to some anthocyanin-rich foods (community) and the cost and the seasonal variability (society). The strategies included increasing individual-level knowledge, skills, and confidence in utilizing anthocyanin-rich foods, educational initiatives about the potential cognitive benefits, and advocating to increase access to anthocyanin-rich foods in the food supply. This study provides for the first time, insight into the various levels of influence impacting older adults’ ability to consume an anthocyanin-rich diet for cognitive health. Future interventions should be tailored to reflect the barriers and enablers and to provide targeted education about anthocyanin-rich foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Plant-Based Nutrition on Ageing)

Review

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23 pages, 1872 KiB  
Review
Effects of Plant-Based Protein Interventions, with and without an Exercise Component, on Body Composition, Strength and Physical Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
by Isobel L. Stoodley, Lily M. Williams and Lisa G. Wood
Nutrients 2023, 15(18), 4060; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15184060 - 19 Sep 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4584
Abstract
Maintaining muscle mass, strength, and function is crucial for our aging population. Exercise and dietary protein intake are recommended strategies; however, animal proteins have been the most studied. Plant-based protein sources have lower digestibility and incomplete amino acid profiles. However new innovative plant-based [...] Read more.
Maintaining muscle mass, strength, and function is crucial for our aging population. Exercise and dietary protein intake are recommended strategies; however, animal proteins have been the most studied. Plant-based protein sources have lower digestibility and incomplete amino acid profiles. However new innovative plant-based proteins and products may have overcome these issues. Therefore, this systematic review aimed to synthesize the current research and evaluate the effects of plant-based protein interventions compared to placebo on body composition, strength, and physical function in older adults (≥60 years old). The secondary aim was whether exercise improved the effectiveness of plant-based protein on these outcomes. Randomized controlled trials up to January 2023 were identified through Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Cochrane Library databases. Studies contained a plant-protein intervention, and assessed body composition, strength, and/or physical function. Thirteen articles were included, all using soy protein (0.6–60 g daily), from 12 weeks to 1 year. Narrative summary reported positive effects on muscle mass over time, with no significant differences compared to controls (no intervention, exercise only, animal protein, or exercise + animal protein interventions). There was limited impact on strength and function. Meta-analysis showed that plant-protein interventions were comparable to controls, in all outcomes. In conclusion, plant-protein interventions improved muscle mass over time, and were comparable to other interventions, warranting further investigation as an anabolic stimulus in this vulnerable population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Plant-Based Nutrition on Ageing)
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15 pages, 638 KiB  
Review
Polyphenols’ Impact on Selected Biomarkers of Brain Aging in Healthy Middle-Aged and Elderly Subjects: A Review of Clinical Trials
by Tobias Ziegler, Melina Tsiountsioura, Lisa Meixner-Goetz, Gerhard Cvirn and Manfred Lamprecht
Nutrients 2023, 15(17), 3770; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15173770 - 29 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1509
Abstract
With a constantly growing elderly population, incidences of neurodegenerative diseases are also rising and are expected to further increase over the next years, while costing health systems across the world trillions of dollars. Therefore, biomarkers to detect manifestations of brain aging early and [...] Read more.
With a constantly growing elderly population, incidences of neurodegenerative diseases are also rising and are expected to further increase over the next years, while costing health systems across the world trillions of dollars. Therefore, biomarkers to detect manifestations of brain aging early and interventions to slow down its pace are of great interest. In the last years, the importance of the neurotrophins brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) in the context of cognitive function and the aging brain has increased, besides the already well-established amyloid-beta (Aβ) and tau plaques. Due to their wide range of beneficial health effects as well as their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, a class of secondary plant-metabolites, the so-called polyphenols, gained increasing attention. In this review, we discuss the roles of BDNF, Aβ, NGF, and tau proteins as biomarkers of brain aging and the effect of dietary polyphenol interventions on these biomarkers, assessed via blood analysis, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Plant-Based Nutrition on Ageing)
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Other

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15 pages, 1238 KiB  
Systematic Review
Association of Vegetarian and Vegan Diets with Cardiovascular Health: An Umbrella Review of Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies and Randomized Trials
by Honoria Ocagli, Giacomo Berti, Davide Rango, Federica Norbiato, Maria Vittoria Chiaruttini, Giulia Lorenzoni and Dario Gregori
Nutrients 2023, 15(19), 4103; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15194103 - 22 Sep 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3351
Abstract
Background: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are leading global causes of mortality. Unhealthy diets have been linked to an increased risk of CVD, while plant-based diets have shown potential protective effects. This umbrella review summarizes the evidence on the association between vegetarian diets and cardiovascular [...] Read more.
Background: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are leading global causes of mortality. Unhealthy diets have been linked to an increased risk of CVD, while plant-based diets have shown potential protective effects. This umbrella review summarizes the evidence on the association between vegetarian diets and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Methods: PubMed, Scopus, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane, and Web of Science were consulted. Meta-analyses grouped by author and outcome were performed. The heterogeneity was evaluated using I2 statistics. Results: There was a 41.2% risk reduction for cerebrovascular disease. CVD incidence had a 29% reduced risk. CVD mortality had a 13.8% risk reduction, while IHD incidence had a 24.1% reduction, but with high heterogeneity. IHD mortality showed a significant 32.1% risk reduction. Ischemic stroke had a significant 32.9% risk reduction across six studies. Stroke incidence showed a significant 39.1% risk reduction in a single study. There was a non-significant 11.6% risk reduction for stroke mortality with moderate heterogeneity. Conclusion: Healthier diets are associated with reduced risks of cerebrovascular disease, CVD incidence, IHD mortality, and ischemic stroke. However, evidence quality and consistency vary, emphasizing the need for more research. Policymakers and healthcare professionals should prioritize promoting healthy diets for CVD prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Plant-Based Nutrition on Ageing)
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