Adherence to a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), is associated with a lower risk of diabetes and atherosclerosis. Whether these benefits are mediated by changes in plasma adipokine concentrations remains to be elucidated.
To determine whether adherence to the AHEI is associated with higher plasma total and high molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin concentrations and lower concentrations of resistin, as well as biomarkers of inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and insulin resistance.
Evaluation of 1922 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, 62% of whom were overweight, with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, plasma biomarker concentrations measured in 1990 and data on dietary intake from SFFQs administered in 1984, 1986, and 1990, averaged to account for long-term dietary exposure and reduce within subject variability.
After adjustment for age and energy intake, women with the highest average adherence to the AHEI had 24% higher median total adiponectin and 32% higher median HMW adiponectin concentrations, as well as 16% lower resistin, 41% lower CRP, 19% lower sE-selectin, 24% lower ferritin concentrations (P<0.01 for all). These associations remained significant after adjustment for BMI, physical activity, and smoking status. Inverse associations between the AHEI and sTNF-αRII, IL-6, sICAM-1, sVCAM-1, c-peptide, insulin, and HbA1c were evident, but were not significant after adjustment for BMI.
The preventive effects of healthier dietary patterns on risk for diabetes and atherosclerosis may be mediated by improvements in plasma concentrations of adipokines or other biomarkers of risk for diabetes and CVD.