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Serial measures of circulating biomarkers of dairy fat and total and cause-specific mortality in older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study

Todd Allen

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oops, posted this in the wrong forum - meant to post to general health & longevity.   Is it possible to move or delete/repost?




In this prospective study in older US adults, we evaluated, for the first time to our knowledge, the associations of serial measures of circulating fatty acid biomarkers of dairy fat with total mortality, cause-specific mortality, and incident CVD. In multivariable analyses, none of these fatty acids were associated with total mortality. Higher plasma phospholipid heptadecanoic acid was associated with lower CVD mortality, especially stroke mortality, with a 42% lower risk of the latter when comparing participants in extreme quintiles. In contrast, pentadecanoic acid, but not heptadecanoic or trans-palmitoleic acids, was associated with a trend toward a higher risk of total CVD and CHD across quintiles, although this association should be interpreted cautiously because it was not significant within any of the individual quintiles or in analysis using continuous measures. In exploratory analysis, the association between circulating phospholipid pentadecanoic acid and CVD risk, especially CHD risk, appeared to be nonlinear with a U-shaped curve. Finally, heptadecanoic acid was associated with a higher risk of non-CVD mortality, without a clear concentration of risk for any subtype of non-CVD death. These findings expand on previous studies by using repeated circulating fatty acid measures to estimate long-term exposure and examining associations with total and cause-specific mortality and CVD outcomes in a large, prospective cohort of older adults.

Although for decades dairy fat consumption has been hypothesized to be a risk factor for CVD, as well as potentially diabetes, weight gain, and cancer (32–34), little empirical evidence for these effects existed from studies of clinical events. In current years, a growing number of prospective studies have shown generally neutral or protective associations between self-reported dairy foods and dairy fat consumption with the risk of CVD, diabetes, weight gain, and cancers, raising questions about this conventional wisdom (32, 35–40). Dairy fats comprise predominantly SFAs of varying carbon chain lengths with divergent effects on various blood lipids, glucose-insulin homeostasis, and insulin resistance (1, 41), which may partially explain neutral associations. In addition, emerging evidence from randomized controlled trials suggests the differential effects of dairy foods on plasma lipids might be influenced by the presence of milk-fat globule membrane, a tri-layered membrane rich in bioactive phospholipids and proteins enclosing the milk fat (42–44). Consistent with these divergent and complex physiologic effects, our results suggest that overall dairy fat consumption later in life does not significantly influence total mortality but may have associations with specific outcomes.

Edited by Todd Allen
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I think its more relevant, and therefore better, to look at the healthiest, longest lived cohorts when trying to tease out the relative merits of various diet or lifestyle tweaks.  This has been done:


Lacto-Ovo's lose.  Fish is not so bad though, if that is any consolation.  For men, pure plant based diet seems best.

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Gordo,  putting lacto and ovo together, unfortunately,  means that study  tells us little about the relation of dairy intake  per se to mortality. 

That study also tells us nothing about the addition of  a moderate amount of dairy products to the diets of older adults (the subjects in the study posted by Todd:    "our results suggest that overall dairy fat consumption later in life does not significantly influence total mortality..." ).

Valter Longo in his Longevity  Diet book discusses how dietary needs may change over one's lifetime, and suggests possibly adding some high quality fermented dairy products, eggs etc. to one's diet after approx. age 65.   


 Aim for a diet that is close to 100 percent plant- and fish-based, limiting fish consumption to two or three portions a week and avoiding fish with high mercury content (tuna, swordfish, mackerel, halibut). If you are past age sixty-five and start to lose muscle mass, strength, and weight, introduce more fish into the diet, along with other animal-based foods commonly consumed by populations with record longevity, like eggs and certain cheeses (preferably feta or pecorino) and yogurt made from goat’s milk, all of which are commonly consumed in high-longevity areas.



The association between body mass index (which takes into account a person’s weight relative to height) and cognition is complex and varies according to age. In younger and middle-age adults, a high BMI is associated with reduced cognition or a higher risk of dementia once these adults reach old age. However, a slightly higher BMI in older adults is associated with improved cognition and lower mortality. Thus, it is important to maintain a healthy weight and ideal abdominal circumference up to age sixty-five; beyond that point, the goal should be to reach the upper limit of the healthy BMI and abdominal circumference ranges. For men, a BMI in the 22 to 23 range may be ideal up to age sixty-five to seventy-five, but beyond that age, a BMI in the 23 to 25 range may be preferable in order to avoid loss of muscle mass and other detrimental deficiencies.

This goal could be achieved by adding small amounts of foods not permitted or very restricted under the Longevity Diet, such as eggs, goat’s or sheep’s cheese and yogurt, dark chocolate, fruit, and higher levels of fish and seafood. These foods should be consumed only in moderation even at older ages. Adding them to the Longevity Diet may help prevent weight loss and muscle loss, especially when protein consumption (0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight) is combined with muscle training and exercise (see chapter 5).



Although I’m only now beginning to follow the centenarians of the Nuoro region of Sardinia, Italy, researchers Gianni Pes, Michel Poulain, and Luca Deiana, as well as author Dan Buettner, have made this region world famous. Certain villages in Sardinia’s blue zone have had the number of centenarians reach levels among the highest observed anywhere in the world and possibly even higher than those of Molochio. [...] The Sardinians eat a diet that is probably familiar to you by now: mostly plant-based, with beans, whole-grain breads, and lots of vegetables. Because of high local production,  they also consume pecorino, the high omega-3 cheese made from ewe’s milk.


Edited by Sibiriak
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