Aging is accompanied by a series of morphological and functional alterations which take place slowly over time. Among them sexual disability accompanies aging process. Recently, Ikaria island inhabitants, an isolated rural group with lifelong characteristics, have been recognized as having among the highest longevity rates universally with high percentage of healthy aging. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the role of aortic mechanical properties on sexual capacity of elderly men form Ikaria study, with respect of their nutritional habits, serum testosterone levels and cardiovascular risk factors.
Methods: The working sample consisted of in 667 males (mean age 67±9 years old, age range 45–105 years old) from Ikaria Island, Greece. Among several demographic, anthropometric, biochemical and lifestyle factors, serum total testosterone levels were measured; while dietary assessment was obtained based on a validated and reliable food frequency questionnaire that has been developed especially for elderly people. Aortic Distensibility (AoD) was non-invasively calculated from the aortic diameters measured with echocardiography and brachial artery pressure with higher values of the index meaning increased stiffness; while sexual function was evaluated using the SHIM-5 questionnaire. Serum total testosterone levels were measured.
Results: MedDiet was inversely correlated with AoD (rho=-0.15, p=0.001); while olive oil consumption was inversely correlated with PP (rho=-0.024, p=0.001) and positively associated with total testosterone levels (rho=0.19, p=0.001), creatinine levels (rho=0.29, p=0.001), SHIM-5 (rho=0.19, p=0.001); while, no significant relationships were observed with smoking habits. Multi-adjusted regression analysis revealed that MedDiet and testosterone levels consumption were positively associated with SHIM-5 (0.25±0.09, p=0.09 and 0.007±0.003, p=0.002, respectively), after adjustments were made for age, diabetes status, aortic distensibility, creatinine clearance, cardiovascular disease, olive oil consumption and arterial hypertension.
Conclusion: Long-term adherence to MedDiet and olive consumption seems to increase testosterone levels and improve aortic elastic properties, offering a synergistic effect to sexual capacity of elderly inhabitants in Ikaria Island, irrespectively of the existence of cardiovascular disease and risk factors. MedDiet exhibits vascular protective effects promoting preserved quality of life through all stages of life.