Around 10% to 15% of elderly individuals encounter frailty, a syndrome commonly found in geriatric populations. Frailty increases the susceptibility to falls, fractures, disability, hospitalization, and mortality. While the prevailing dietary guidelines for preventing frailty mainly emphasize protein consumption, it is essential to recognize the potential health advantages offered by various other food choices.
According to the authors, there might be some truth to the proverbial saying that consuming an apple daily could potentially ward off frailty. Their research indicates that for each additional intake of 10 mg of flavonols per day, the likelihood of experiencing frailty decreases by 20%. It is worth noting that individuals can easily achieve this level of flavonols intake by consuming a medium-sized apple, as it contains approximately 10 mg of flavonols.
Coauthor Shivani Sahni, PhD, from the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, and the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife, along with Courtney L. Millar, PhD, also from the same institutions, shared their insights regarding the study. They highlighted that while there was no significant correlation between total flavonoid intake and frailty, a higher intake of flavonols, which is a specific subclass of flavonoids, was linked to reduced odds of developing frailty. Among the flavonols, higher intake of quercetin exhibited the strongest association with preventing frailty. This data suggests that certain subclasses of flavonoids might hold significant potential as dietary strategies for the prevention of frailty.
The authors suggest that future research should focus on dietary interventions of flavonols or quercetin for the treatment of frailty. Research is also needed in racially and ethnically diverse participants.
The research outcomes were published in an article titled “Higher Intake Of Dietary Flavonols, Specifically Dietary Quercetin, Is Associated With Lower Odds Of Frailty Onset Over 12-Years Of Follow-Up Among Adults In The Framingham Heart Study” in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This study stands out as one of the initial community-based investigations that extensively explored the impact of dietary flavonoids in the prevention of frailty. By examining adults participating in the Framingham Heart Study over a 12-year follow-up period, the research sheds light on the potential benefits of dietary flavonols, with a particular focus on dietary quercetin, in reducing the risk of frailty onset.