Associations between nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers

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Yu, Z., V.S. Malik, N. Keum, F.B. Hu, E.L. Giovannucci, M.J. Stampfer, W.C. Willett, C.S. Fuchs, Y. Bao, 2016. Associations between nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers. AJCN. First published ahead of print July 27, 2016 as doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.134205.

Background: Increased nut consumption has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as a healthy lipid profile. However, the associations between nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers are unclear. Objective: We investigated habitual nut consumption in relation to inflammatory biomarkers in 2 large cohorts of US men and women. Design: We analyzed cross-sectional data from 5013 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) who were free of diabetes. Nut intake, defined as intake of peanuts and other nuts, was estimated from food frequency questionnaires, and cumulative averages from 1986 and 1990 in the NHS and from 1990 and 1994 in the HPFS were used. Plasma biomarkers were collected in 1989–1990 in the NHS and 1993–1995 in the HPFS. Multivariate linear regression was used to assess the associations of nut consumption with fasting plasma C-reactive protein (CRP, n = 4941), interleukin 6 (IL-6, n = 2859), and tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2, n = 2905). Results: A greater intake of nuts was associated with lower amounts of a subset of inflammatory biomarkers, after adjusting for demographic, medical, dietary, and lifestyle variables. The relative concentrations (ratios) and 95% CIs comparing subjects with nut intake of $5 times/wk and those in the categories of never or almost never were as follows: CRP: 0.80 (0.69, 0.90), P-trend = 0.0003; and IL-6: 0.86 (0.77, 0.97), P-trend = 0.006. These associations remained significant after further adjustment for body mass index. No significant association was observed with TNFR2. Substituting 3 servings of nuts/wk for 3 servings of red meat, processed meat, eggs, or refined grains/wk was associated with significantly lower CRP (all P , 0.0001) and IL-6 (P ranges from 0.001 to 0.017). Conclusion: Frequent nut consumption was associated with a healthy profile of inflammatory biomarkers.