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Anti-atherogenic effect of nuts: is the answer NO?

Cooke, J.P., P. Tsao, A. Singer, B.Y. Wang, J. Kosck, H. Drexler, 1993.  Anti-atherogenic effect of nuts: is the answer NO? Arch Intern Med. 153:896, 899, 902.

In a commentary regarding the Seventh Day Adventist study, the authors highlight the fact that frequent nut consumption reduced the risk of experiencing fatal or nonfatal heart attacks by 50%.  A possible explanation for the protective effect may be that nuts are high in arginine, a basic amino acid that is a precursor to nitric oxide (NO). The latter is known to inhibit plaque formation, or atherogenesis, which can lead to heart attacks.  Studies have shown that people with hypercholesterolemia have reduced activity of NO.  Adding arginine-rich nuts to the diet may help increase NO activity and thereby reduce the risk of heart attacks.