Avoid Age-Related Frailty With the Mediterranean Diet

Winning against gravity, for now…

The opposite of vigor is frailty. Aging is a life-long fight with gravity. If you’re frail, you’ll lose the battle sooner. In the study at hand, frailty was measured by exhaustion, weakness, physical activity, walking speed, and weight loss. The Mediterranean diet is linked to decreased frailty. From the Journal of the American Medical Medical Directors Association way back in 2014:


Background and objective: Low intake of certain micronutrients and protein has been associated with higher risk of frailty. However, very few studies have assessed the effect of global dietary patterns on frailty. This study examined the association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) and the risk of frailty in older adults.

Design, setting, and participants: Prospective cohort study with 1815 community-dwelling individuals aged ≥60 years recruited in 2008-2010 in Spain.

Measurements: At baseline, the degree of MD [Mediterranean Diet] adherence was measured with the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS) score and the Mediterranean Diet Score, also known as the Trichopoulou index. In 2012, individuals were reassessed to detect incident frailty, defined as having at least 3 of the following criteria: exhaustion, muscle weakness, low physical activity, slow walking speed, and weight loss. The study associations were summarized with odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence interval (CI) obtained from logistic regression, with adjustment for the main confounders.

Results: Over a mean follow-up of 3.5 years, 137 persons with incident frailty were identified. Compared with individuals in the lowest tertile of the MEDAS score (lowest MD adherence), the OR (95% CI) of frailty was 0.85 (0.54-1.36) in those in the second tertile, and 0.65 (0.40-1.04; P for trend = .07) in the third tertile. Corresponding figures for the Mediterranean Diet Score were 0.59 (0.37-0.95) and 0.48 (0.30-0.77; P for trend = .002). Being in the highest tertile of MEDAS was associated with reduced risk of slow walking (OR 0.53; 95% CI 0.35-0.79) and of weight loss (OR 0.53; 95% CI 0.36-0.80). Lastly, the risk of frailty was inversely associated with consumption of fish (OR 0.66; 95% CI 0.45-0.97) and fruit (OR 0.59; 95% CI 0.39-0.91).

Conclusions: Among community-dwelling older adults, an increasing adherence to the MD was associated with decreasing risk of frailty.

Did you notice another good reason to eat fish?

I wonder why the research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Medical Directors Association?

Steve Parker, M.D.


Filed under Longevity

11 responses to “Avoid Age-Related Frailty With the Mediterranean Diet

  1. Thank you doc for highlighting this study. I have following the Mediterranean diet for a long time now and can’t tell you how healthy and agile I feel after changing to this diet. It’s been 20 years plus now.

  2. faraz

    i love this

  3. Bài viết rất hữu ích. cảm ơn người viết đã chia sẻ điều thú vị này. Tôi sẽ giới thiệu nhiều người biết đến trang của bạn hơn.

  4. The question is do I want to live that long? 🙂 Don’t mistake me. But my question is related to this quest for living long rather than fulfilling life. Your post is about being fit through our long life but take the case of my Mother in law who is fit as a fiddle at 83 but has senile dementia and can’t remember a thing.

  5. I have been following this diet of plenty of fresh fish, fresh produce and I am as active and strong as I was in my younger days. Folks who come to my farm for their vacations are amazed at my agility. I am living proof that this diet works. Now I am also active in my community. If you don’t mind I will share this with my group. Keep the good work doc.

  6. Thanks for so much good info. I am getting on in years. I have led a mostly healthy life but I should shift to this diet i guess.

  7. Ben

    I am 80+ and have recently experienced a bout of severe viral infection that has left me weak, frail and shaken. Thankfully it wasn’t Covid-19. Any suggestions on how to get back a little bit of my energy levels as it is difficult to even get out of bed these days. It’s been 15 days plus and only today I mustered enough energy to type this.

  8. Thanks for this article doc. Making a shift is tough but I am going to try.