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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2012 Oct-Nov;87(4-5):111-7. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2012.07.007. Epub 2012 Sep 5.

The effect of dietary walnuts compared to fatty fish on eicosanoids, cytokines, soluble endothelial adhesion molecules and lymphocyte subsets: a randomized, controlled crossover trial.

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Department of Nutrition, Loma Linda University, Nichol Hall 1102, Loma Linda, CA 92354, USA.


We tested the hypothesis that walnut consumption can exert effects on markers of inflammation and endothelial activation similar to those produced by fish consumption. In a crossover dietary intervention trial, 25 normal to mildly hyperlipidemic men and women were randomly assigned to one of three isoenergetic diets: a walnut diet incorporating 42.5 g of walnuts per 10.1 mJ 6 times per week (1.8% of energy n-3 fat); a fish diet providing 113 g of fatty fish per 10.1 mJ 2 times per week (0.8% of energy n-3 fat), or a control diet (no nuts or fish, 0.4% of energy n-3 fat) for 4 weeks on each diet. Both the walnut and fish diets inhibited circulating concentrations of prostaglandin E metabolite (PGEM) and 11-dehydro thromboxane B2, but demonstrated no effect on blood interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α¯ (TNF-α¯), and C-reactive protein (CRP) or the number of circulating lymphocyte subsets. On the walnut diet the proportion of plasma phospholipid α¯-linolenic acid (ALA) increased 140% and arachidonic acid (AA) decreased 7% compared to both the control and fish diets. The proportion of plasma phospholipid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) increased about 200% and 900% respectively on the fish diet relative to either the control or walnut diet. The walnut diet inhibited E-selectin by 12.7% relative to the fish diet, and the fish diet inhibited secretory intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (s-ICAM-1) by 4.5% relative to the control diet. Both walnuts and fish in commonly consumed amounts may have modest albeit distinct effects on circulating adhesion molecules.

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