Effect of consuming pistachios on the dietary intakes and serum concentrations of gamma -tocopherol and magnesium and on serum lipid profile in adults
Hernandez, Ladia M.
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Pistachios are one of the best dietary sources of gamma-tocopherol (γ-tocopherol), a form of vitamin E that may help to protect against diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer, e.g., lung, prostate, and colon. This study investigated the effect of the incorporation of pistachios (at a level of 68 g per day) on the intakes and serum concentrations of γ-tocopherol, magnesium, and serum lipids, using a six-week randomized, controlled, clinical trial design, having a two-week pre-intervention period and a four-week intervention period. Participants (n = 38) were healthy men and women, randomized to either the control group or the intervention group, which received pistachios. Intakes were calculated using the Nutrition Data System for Research Version 2007. Weekly compliance for pistachio consumption ranged between 84-94%. Dietary γ-tocopherol intake for the intervention group was significantly higher at weeks 3 and 4 (p < 0.001) and at weeks 5 and 6 compared to the control group (p < 0.001). Additionally, γ-tocopherol intake was significantly higher in the intervention group at weeks 3 and 4 compared to weeks 1 and 2 (p < 0.001) and at weeks 5 and 6 compared to weeks 1 and 2 (p < 0.001). On the pistachio diet, post-intervention (week 6) serum concentration of γ-tocopherol and the γ-tocopherol/total cholesterol ratio were significantly higher compared to corresponding pre-intervention values (p = 0.007 and p < 0.001, respectively). No significant differences between the intervention group and the control group were found for dietary magnesium intake, serum magnesium concentrations, or any indices of serum lipid profile. However, dietary magnesium intake was significantly higher in the intervention group at weeks 3 and 4 compared to weeks 1 and 2 (p = 0.001). Serum total cholesterol concentration was significantly lower in the intervention group post-intervention compared to pre-intervention (p = 0.003); the same was found for non high density lipoprotein-cholesterol concentration (p = 0.003). Thus, consumption of pistachios can lead to an improvement in γ-tocopherol, magnesium, and total cholesterol status. Pistachios could be incorporated into dietary strategies designed to reduce the risk of CVD and certain cancers.