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Eating almonds significantly decreased levels of two biomarkers for
oxidative stress in a group of 27 male and female volunteers with
elevated cholesterol. The study was conducted by scientists funded by
the Agricultural Research Service, the Almond Board of California, and
the Canada Research Chair Endowment.
Coauthor Jeffrey Blumberg is director of the Antioxidants Research
Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on
Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston, Mass. He and colleagues
reported the findings from this study in the Journal of Nutrition.
HNRCA scientists analyzed blood and urine samples from the subjects who
had consumed three different dietary treatments, consisting of the same
amount of calories each, for one month. The study was a cross-over,
randomized clinical trial, so each subject received each treatment in
Treatments consisted of a "full dose" of almonds, defined as 73 grams
daily (about 2.5 ounces), a "half-dose" of almonds plus a half-dose of
muffins, and a full-dose of muffins as a control. The subjects consumed
a low-fat background diet and were counseled on strategies to maintain
weight and to consistently follow their usual exercise routines
throughout each test phase.
The researchers wanted to investigate possible antioxidant effects from eating almonds.
The team found that when the volunteers ate the full dose of almonds,
their concentration of two biomarkers of oxidative stress--plasma
malondialdehyde (MDA) and urinary isoprostanes--were significantly
lowered. MDA decreased by nearly 19 percent compared to the start of
the study in the full-dose almond group. Isoprostane decreased by 27
percent in both the almond groups when compared to the control period,
suggesting a possible threshold effect for that biomarker.
While this study helps to show the antioxidant benefit of eating
almonds, further research is needed to shed light on the individual
contributions of vitamin E and polyphenolic constituents, such as
flavonoids, found in almonds and other tree nuts. The study did not
demonstrate a minimum amount of dietary almonds that would result in a
ARS is a scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Rosalie Marion Bliss, (301) 504-4318, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 17, 2008
--View this report online, plus photos and related stories, at www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr
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