Dietary enrichment by almond supplementation: effects on risk factors for cardiovascular disease

  • Khujesta Choudhury

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Europe responsible for more than 4.3 million deaths annually. The World Health Organisation funded the Monica project (1980s-1990s) which monitored ten million subjects aged 22-6Syrs, and demonstrated that coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality declined over 10 years, was due in two thirds of cases to reduced incidence of CHD (reduced risk behaviours e.g. poor diet and smoking) and one third by improved treatments.
Epidemiological evidence suggests diets rich in antioxidants decrease incidence of
CVD. Regular consumption of nuts, rich in vitamin E and polyphenols reduces
atherosclerosis, an important risk for heart disease. Intervention studies to date using alpha tocopherol (an active component of vitamin E) have not consistently proved beneficial.
This thesis aims to investigate the effect of almond supplementation on vascular risk factors in healthy young males (18-3Syrs); mature males and female(>SOyrs); and males considered at increased risk of CVD (18-3Syrs) in a cohort of 67 subjects. The effects of almond intake were assessed after 2Sg/d for four weeks followed by SOg/d for four weeks and compared to a control group which did not consume almonds or change their diet. Cardiovascular risk was assessed by plasma lipid profiles, apolipoprotein A1, plasma nitrates/nitrates, vascular flow, BMl, blood pressure, sVCAM-1 and protein oxidation.
Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were reduced in almond supplemented volunteers but not in controls. Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acid content and total dietary fats were increased by almond supplementation. Neither sVCAM-1, venous occlusion plethysmography nor plasma nitrite levels were affected by almond intake in any independent group. No significant changes in plasma lipids, and apolipoprotein A1 were observed.
In conclusion almonds supplementation caused a reduction in blood pressure that may be due to increased sensitivity of the baroreceptors after increased monounsaturated fatty acid intake.
Date of AwardDec 2008
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorHelen R Griffiths (Supervisor)


  • vitamin E
  • cholesterol
  • nuts
  • blood pressure
  • lipids
  • monounsaturated fat

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