Maria Àngels Calvo, full academician of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED) and president of the Section of Health Sciences, participated on June 12 in the academic session “Nutrición y Salud” (Nutrition and Health) organised in Madrid by the Royal Academy of Doctors of Spain (RADE), of which she is also an academician. Calvo intervened with the paper “Nutrición y salud: implicaciones del microbioma intestinal” (“Nutrition and health: implications of the intestinal microbiome”), in which she stressed the importance of nutrition as an essential factor for physical and mental well-being, the maintenance of health and the development of the disease.

“There is a close and bi-directional relationship between nutrition and health” -said the academician-. “On the one hand, our nutrition has a decisive influence on the risk of developing diseases, especially the chronic diseases that most affect us, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer, and on the other hand, diseases, acute or chronic, condition a risk of malnutrition that, in turn, worsens their prognosis”.

Maria Àngels Calvo Torras

Dr Maria Àngels Calvo

According to data from the World Health Organization, explained Calvo, among the ten most important causes of mortality in the world are cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cancer, pathologies that have been increasing in importance in recent years, especially in the developed countries, including Spain. “The role of diet and lifestyle in these diseases is undeniable, in the case of cancer, it is, along with tobacco, the most important preventable cause”, she said.

The academician also warned of the risks of malnutrition, not only severe, and noted how diet also influences the epigenetic mechanisms, which modulate gene expression and, particularly, in the set of microorganisms living in symbiosis in the intestinal tract, the gut microbiota, fundamental mediator of the state of health and whose relationship with various pathologies is recognised.

Antonio Bascones, president of RADE; Juan José Aragón, full academician, and Irene Bretón, renowned specialist in the field and president of the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition, also participated in the session.