Effect of nut consumption on vascular endothelial function: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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Xiao, Y., W. Huang, C. Peng, J. Zhang, C. Wong, J.H. Kim, E.-K. Yeoh, 2017. Effect of nut consumption on vascular endothelial function: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2017.04.011

Objective: Nut consumption has consistently been found to be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and mortality in prospective studies. However, its effect on endothelial function, a prognostic marker of CVD, is still controversial in clinical trials. This meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) aimed to quantitatively assess the effect of nuts on vascular endothelial function. Methods: Major electronic databases were searched for published RCTs that reported the effect of nuts on flow mediated dilation (FMD) as a measurement of endothelial function in the adult population (age eighteen years or over). We calculated the pooled estimates of weighted mean differences (WMDs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) by using random-effects models. Results: A total of nine papers (10 trials) involving 374 participants were included. The pooled estimates found that nut consumption significantly improved FMD (WMD: 0.41%; 95% CI: 0.18%, 0.63%; P = 0.001). Moderate and marginally significant heterogeneity was observed among the studies (I2 = 39.5%, P = 0.094). Subgroup analyses indicated that walnuts significantly improved FMD (WMD: 0.39%; 95% CI: 0.16%, 0.63%; P = 0.001). In addition, nut consumption had a significant effect on FMD in the trials with study duration <18 weeks, nut dose <67 g/d, or subjects with baseline FMD ≥8.6%. Conclusions: Nut consumption significantly improved endothelial function. However, the beneficial effect was limited to walnuts. More studies examining the effect of other nuts on endothelial function are needed in the future.