Home Men Health Higher intake of flavonols linked to lower risk of frailty onset in adults

Higher intake of flavonols linked to lower risk of frailty onset in adults

Higher intake of flavonols linked to lower risk of frailty onset in adults

In a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers assessed the impact of consuming dietary flavanols on the likelihood of developing frailty.

Frailty affects 10% to fifteen% of older individuals and is causally related to various age-related physiological changes. The necessity for research within the prevention and treatment of frailty is highlighted by the absence of effective therapies for frailty. Identifying risk aspects related to frailty is crucial for creating interventions that may delay, undo, or prevent its onset. A meta-analysis of several studies found that following a healthy dietary pattern may reduce the danger of frailty onset by 50% to 70%. Flavonoids have the potential to scale back inflammation and frailty development by mitigating the buildup of oxidative stress and targeting the reduction of age-related senescent cells.

Study: Higher intake of dietary flavonols, specifically dietary quercetin, is related to lower odds of frailty onset over 12-years of follow-up amongst adults within the Framingham Heart Study. Image Credit: guentermanaus / Shutterstock

In regards to the study

In the current study, researchers investigated the connection between dietary flavonoids, including their subclasses and quercetin, and the onset of frailty in adults.

Framingham Heart Study (FHS) is a research study that began in 1948 with 5,209 participants. It goals to look at heart problems and familial risk aspects. Between 1971 and 1975, researchers enrolled 5,124 children of the unique enrollees within the FHS to review how family history and genetics contribute to the event of heart problems. In-person examinations are performed every 4 years in each FHS cohort.

This study is a prospective cohort study involving middle-aged and older adults examined for food plan, frailty, and related covariates at baseline, together with a follow-up frailty evaluation performed from 2011 to 2014. The individuals included within the study didn’t have frailty firstly of the study and were from the FHS Offspring study.

The baseline examination of the study used a validated Willett Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) to evaluate dietary intake. The participants answered a self-administered FFQ, which reflected their food intake from the past yr. The overall intake of flavonoids was determined by summing up the intake of assorted subclasses, including flavanols, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavanones, flavones, and polymeric flavonoids, all of which were measured in milligrams per day using the FFQ. The consumption of specific flavonoid subclasses was also estimated using the FFQ. 

Frailty is characterised as a geriatric syndrome using a modified version of Fried’s frailty phenotype. It’s identified by the detection of at the very least three of the desired outcomes: (1) Self-documented unintentional weight reduction of over 4.5 kg previously yr, (2) Self-reporting exhaustion by answering ‘more often than not’ or ‘occasionally a moderate period of time’ to either of the 2 Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) questions like ‘I felt that the whole lot I did was an effort’ or ‘I couldn’t get going’ reported experiencing exhaustion, (3) Slow speed of walking, (4) Weak grip strength, (4) Low physical activity.


Out of the 5,124 individuals who participated within the FHS, almost 3,030 answered the dietary examination at baseline. A complete of 1,826 individuals underwent frailty assessments at baseline in addition to follow-up. The study analyzed 1,701 individuals, with 55.5% being women with a mean age of 58.4 years. The common every day intake of flavonoids was 309 mg. Moreover, the common every day consumption of flavonols was 13.6 mg, while the mean intake of quercetin was 9 mg per day.

During a 12-year follow-up period, 224 people developed frailty. A 3% decrease in the chances of frailty onset was observed with every 50 mg/day increase in total flavonoid intake within the age and sex-adjusted model 1. After adjusting for energy intake, CES-D, current smoking, cancer diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases in model 2, the association didn’t change significantly in magnitude, however it did develop into non-significant. No significant interactions were found between total flavonoids and sex or age in model 2. Flavonoid subclasses exhibited a correlation ranging between 0.23 and 0.95.

Higher intake of flavonols was found to be related to a lower risk of becoming frail, with each 10 mg/day increase leading to a 20% reduction in odds. The associations remained unchanged after adjusting for other variables in model 2. Model 2 showed no notable connections for flavones, anthocyanin, flavan-3-ols, flavanones, or polymeric flavonoids. The next intake of quercetin by 10 mg/day was linked to a 35% decrease within the likelihood of developing frailty over a period of 12 years. The associations remained unchanged after further adjustment in model 2. Model 2 didn’t show any associations between quercetin consumption and age or gender.


The study findings found that while overall flavonoid intake didn’t have a big association with frailty onset amongst middle-aged and older adults, higher consumption of flavonols, particularly quercetin, was linked to a reduced likelihood of frailty onset. Anthocyanins were found to have a protective association against frailty onset, particularly in participants under 60 years old. The study suggested that dietary flavonols and quercetin may effectively prevent the onset of frailty. The authors consider that future research should prioritize exploring the potential of flavonols or quercetin in dietary interventions for treating frailty.


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