Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Other relevant components of nuts: phytosterols, folate and minerals

  • Ramon Segura (a1), Casimiro Javierre (a1), M Antonia Lizarraga (a1) and Emilio Ros (a2)
Abstract

Nuts contain significant amounts of essential micronutrients that are associated with an improved health status when consumed at doses beyond those necessary to prevent deficiency states. Nuts do not contain cholesterol, but they are rich in chemically related phytosterols, a class of compounds that interfere with intestinal cholesterol absorption and thus help lower blood cholesterol. Nuts also contain folate, a B-vitamin necessary for normal cellular function that plays an important role in detoxifying homocysteine, a sulphur-containing amino acid with atherothrombotic properties that accumulates in plasma when folate status is subnormal. Compared to other common foodstuffs, nuts have an optimal nutritional density with respect to healthy minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. Like that of most vegetables, the sodium content of nuts is very low. A high intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium, together with a low sodium intake, is associated with protection against bone demineralisation, arterial hypertension, insulin resistance, and overall cardiovascular risk. Phytosterols might justify part of the cholesterol-lowering effect of nut intake beyond that attributable to fatty acid exchange, while the mineral richness of nuts probably contributes to the prevention of diabetes and coronary heart disease observed in epidemiological studies in association with frequent nut consumption.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Other relevant components of nuts: phytosterols, folate and minerals
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Other relevant components of nuts: phytosterols, folate and minerals
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Other relevant components of nuts: phytosterols, folate and minerals
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: R. Segura, fax + 34 93 402 4268, email rasegura@ub.edu
References
Hide All
Altmann, SW, Davis, HR Jr, Zhu, LJ, Yao, X, Hoos, LM & Tetzloff, G (2004) Niemann-Pick C1 like protein is critical for intestinal cholesterol absorption. Science 303, 12021204.
Andersson, SW, Skinner, J, Ellegard, L, Welch, AA, Bingham, S, Mulligan, A, Andersson, H & Khaw, K-T (2004) Intake of dietary plant sterols is inversely related to serum cholesterol concentration in men and women in the EPIC Norfolk population: a cross-sectional study. Eur J Clin Nutr 58, 13781385.
Appel, LJ, Brands, MW, Daniels, SR, Karanja, N, Elmer, PJ, Sacks, FMAmerican Heart Association. (2006) Dietary approaches to prevent and treat hypertension: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Hypertension 47, 296308.
Bailey, LB & Berry, RJ (2005) Folic acid supplementation and the occurrence of congenital heart defects, orofacial clefts, multiple births, and miscarriage. Am J Clin Nutr 81, suppl, 1213S1217S.
Baron, JA, Beach, M & Mandel, JS (1999) Calcium supplements for the prevention of colorectal adenomas. Calcium Polyp Prevention Study Group. N Engl J Med 340, 101107.
Barr, SI (2003) Increased dairy product or calcium intake: is body weight or composition affected in humans?. J Nutr 133, 245S248S.
Berge, KE, Tian, H, Graf, GA, Yu, L, Grishin, NV, Schultz, J, Kwiterovich, P, Shan, B, Barnes, R & Hobbs, HH (2000) Accumulation of dietary cholesterol in sitosterolemia caused by mutations in adjacent ABC transporters. Science 290, 17711775.
Birkett, NJ (1998) Comments on a meta-analysis of the relation between dietary calcium intake and blood pressure. Am J Epidemiol 14, 223228.
Bollheimer, LC, Buettner, R, Kullmann, A & Kullmann, F (2005) Folate and its preventive potential in colorectal carcinogenesis. How strong is the biological and epidemiological evidence?. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 55, 1336.
Bosner, MS, Lange, LG, Stenson, WF & Ostlund, RE (1999) Percent cholesterol absorption in normal women and men quantified by dual stable isotopic tracers and negative ions mass spectrometry. J Lipid Res 40, 302308.
Bryant, RJ, Cadogan, J & Weaver, CM (1999) The new dietary reference intakes for calcium: implications for osteoporosis. J Am Coll Nutr 18, 406S412S.
Choi, SW & Mason, JB (2000) Folate and carcinogenesis: An integrated scheme. J Nutr 130, 129132.
Cordain, L, Eaton, SB, Sebastian, A, Mann, N, Lindeberg, S, Watkins, BA, O'Keefe, JH & Brand-Miller, J (2005) Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 81, 341354.
Czeizel, AE & Dudas, I (1992) Prevention of the first occurrence of neural-tube defects by periconceptional vitamin supplementation. N Engl J Med 327, 18321835.
de Vries, JHM, Jansen, A, Kromhout, D, van de Bovenkamp, P, van Staveren, WA, Mensink, RP & Katan, MB (1997) The fatty acid and sterol content of food composites of middle-aged men in seven countries. J Food Comp Anal 19, 115141.
Denke, MA (1995) Lack of efficacy of low-dose sitostanol therapy as an adjunct to a cholesterol-lowering diet in men with moderate hypercholesterolemia. Am J Clin Nutr 61, 392396.
Dietschy, JM, Turley, SD & Spady, DK (1993) Role of the liver in the maintenance of cholesterol and low density lipoprotein homeostasis in different animal species, including humans. J Lipid Res 34, 16371659.
Estruch, R, Martínez-González, MA & Corella, D (2006) Effects of a Mediterranean-style diet on cardiovascular risk factors. A randomized trial. Ann Intern Med.
Food and Drug Administration (1996) Food standards: amendment of standards of identity for enriched grain products to require addition of folic acid. Final rule. 21 CFR Parts 136, 137, and 139. Fed Regist 61, 87818807.
Freisleben, A, Schieberle, P & Rychlik, M (2003) Specific and sensitive quantification of folate vitamers in foods by stable isotope dilution assays using high-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Anal Bioanal Chem 376, 149156.
Griel, AE & Kris-Etherton, PM (2006) Tree Nuts and the Lipid Profile: A Review of Clinical Studies. Br J Nutr 96, S68S78.
Hartmann, MA (1998) Plant sterols and the membrane environmentTrends Plant Sci 3, 170175.
He, FJ & MacGregor, GA (2001) Fortnightly review. Beneficial effects of potassium. Br Med J 323, 497501.
Homocysteine Lowering Trialists' Collaboration (2005) Dose-dependent effects of folic acid on blood concentrations of homocysteine: a metaanalysis of the randomized trials. Am J Clin Nutr 82, 806812.
Hu, FB (2003) Plant-based foods and prevention of cardiovascular disease: an overviewAm J Clin Nutr 78, suppl, 544S551S.
Jacques, PF, Selhub, J, Bostom, AG, Wilson, PWF & Rosenberg, IH (1999) The effect of folic acid fortification on plasma folate and total homocysteine concentrations. N Engl J Med 340, 14491454.
Jenkins, DJ, Kendall, CW & Marchie, A (2002) Dose response of almonds on coronary heart disease risk factors: blood lipids, oxidized low-density lipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, and pulmonary nitric oxide: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial. Circulation 106, 13271332.
Jiang, R, Manson, JE, Stampfer, MJ, Liu, S, Willett, WC & Hu, FB (2002) Nut and peanut butter consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. JAMA 288, 25542560.
Jones, PJH, MacDougall, DE, Nitanios, FY & Vanstone, CA (1997) Dietary phytosterols as cholesterol-lowering agents in humans. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 75, 217227.
Kao, WH, Folsom, AR, Nieto, FJ, Mo, JP, Watson, RL & Brancati, FL (1999) Serum and dietary magnesium and the risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Arch Intern Med 15, 21512159.
Katan, MB, Grundy, SM, Jones, P, Law, M, Miettinen, T & Paoletti, R (2003) Efficay and safety of plant stanols and sterols in the management of blood cholesterol levels. Mayo Clinic Proc 78, 965978.
Kesäniemi, YA & Miettinen, TA (1987) Cholesterol absorption efficiency regulates plasma cholesterol levels in the Finnish population. Eur J Clin Invest 17, 391395.
Kim, YI (1999) Folate and carcinogenesis: Evidence, mechanisms, and implications. J Nutr Biochem 10, 6688.
Law, M (2000) Plant sterol and stanol margarines and health. BMJ 320, 861864.
Lee, MH, Lu, K, Hazard, S, Yu, H et al. (2001) Identification of a gene, ABCG5, important in the regulation of dietary cholesterol absorption. Nat Genet 27, 7983.
Liu, S, Song, Y, Ford, ES, Manson, JAE, Buring, JE & Ridker, PM (2005) Dietary calcium, vitamin D, and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in middle-aged and older U.S. women. Diabetes Care 28, 29262932.
Lopez-Ridaura, R, Willett, WC, Rimm, EB, Liu, S, Stampfer, MJ, Manson, JE & Hu, FB (2004) Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. Diabetes Care 27, 134140.
Luchsinger, JA & Mayeux, R (2004) Dietary factors and Alzheimer's disease. Lancet Neurol 3, 79587.
Mason, JB (2003) Biomarkers of nutrient exposure and status in one-carbon (methyl) metabolism. J Nutr 133, Suppl 3941S947S.
McNulty, H & Pentieva, K (2004) Folate bioavailability. Proc Nutr Soc 63, 529536.
Meneton, P, Jeunemaitre, X, de Wardener, HE & MacGregor, GA (2005) Links between dietary salt intake, renal salt handling, blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. Physiol Rev 85, 679715.
Miller, GD & Anderson, JJ (1999) The role of calcium in prevention of chronic diseases. J Am Coll Nutr 18, 371S372S.
Mooijaart, SP, Gussekloo, J, Frölich, M, Jolles, J, Stott, DJ, Westendorp, RGJ & de Craen, AJM (2005) Homocysteine, vitamin B-12, and folic acid and the risk of cognitive decline in old age: the Leiden 85-Plus Study. Am J Clin Nutr 82, 866871.
Moreau, RA, Whitakerb, BD & Hicksa, KB (2002) Phytosterols, phytostanols, and their conjugates in foods: structural diversity, quantitative analysis, and health-promoting uses. Progr Lipid Res 41, 457500.
MRC Vitamin Study Research Group (1991) Prevention of neural tube defects: results of the Medical Research Council Vitamin Study. Lancet 338, 131137.
Nieves, JW (2005) Osteoporosis: the role of micronutrients. Am J Clin Nutr 81, 1232S1239S.
Northfield, TC & Hoffmann, AF (1975) Biliary lipid output during three meals and an overnight fast. I. Relationship to bile acid pool size and cholesterol saturation in gallstone and control subjects. Gut 16, 111.
O'Neill, FH, Sanders, TAB & Thompson, GR (2005) Comparison of efficacy of plant stanol ester and sterol ester: short-term and longer-term studies. Am J Cardiol 96, suppl, 29D36D.
Ostlund, RE Jr (2002) Phytosterols in human nutrition. Annu Rev Nutr 22, 533549.
Ostlund, RE Jr, Racette, SB, Okeke, A & Stenson, WF (2002) Phytosterols that are naturally present in commercial corn oil significantly reduce cholesterol absorption in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 75, 10001004.
Ostlund, RE Jr, Racette, SB & Stenson, WF (2003) Inhibition of cholesterol absorption by phytosterol-replete wheat germ compared with phytosterol-depleted wheat germ. Am J Clin Nutr 77, 13851389.
Ostlund, RE Jr (2004) Phytosterols and cholesterol metabolism. Curr Opin Lipidol 15, 3741.
Phillips, KM, Ruggio, DM & Ashraf-Khorassani, M (2005) Phytosterol composition of nuts and seeds commonly consumed in the United States. J Agric Food Chem 53, 94369445.
Piironen, V, Lindsay, DG, Miettinen, TA, Toivo, J & Lampi, A-M (2000) Plant sterols: biosynthesis, biological function and their importance to human nutrition. J Sci Food Agric 80, 939966.
Pintó, X, Vilaseca, MA, Balcells, S, Artuch, R, Corbella, E, Meco, JF, Vila, R, Pujol, R & Grinberg, D (2005) A folate-rich diet is as effective as folic acid supplements in decreasing plasma homocysteine concentrations. Int J Med Sci 2, 5863.
Plat, J & Mensink, RP (2005) Plant stanol and sterol esters in the control of blood cholesterol levels: mechanism and safety aspects. Am J Cardiol 96, suppl, 15D22D.
Prins, ND, den Heijer, T, Hofman, A, Koudstaal, PJ, Jolles, J, Clarke, R, Breteler, MMRotterdam Scan Study. (2002) Homocysteine and cognitive function in the elderly. The Rotterdam Study. Neurology 59, 13751380.
Reid, IR, Mason, B, Horne, A, Ames, R, Clearwater, J, Bava, U, Orr-Walker, B, Wu, F, Evans, MC & Gamble, GD (2002) Effects of calcium supplementation on serum lipid concentrations in normal older women: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Med 112, 343347.
Ros, E (2000) Intestinal absorption of triglyceride and cholesterol. Dietary and pharmacological inhibition to reduce cardiovascular risk. Atherosclerosis 151, 357379.
Ros, E, Núñez, I, Pérez-Heras, A, Serra, M, Gilabert, R, Casals, E & Deulofeu, R (2004) A walnut diet improves endothelial function in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Circulation 109, 16091614.
Said, HM (2004) Recent advances in carrier-mediated intestinal absorption of water-soluble vitamins. Annu Rev Physiol 66, 419446.
Sanderson, P, McNulty, H, Mastroiacovo, P, McDowell, IFW, Melse-Boonstra, A, Finglas, PM & Gregory, JF III (2003) Folate bioavailability: UK Food Standards Agency workshop report. Br J Nutr 90, 473479.
Saris, NE, Mervaala, E, Karppanen, H, Khawaja, JA & Lewenstam, A (2000) Magnesium. An update on physiological, clinical and analytical aspects. Clin Chim Acta 29, 126.
Sehayek, E (2004) Genetic regulation of cholesterol absorption and plasma plant sterol levels: commonalities and differences. J Lipid Res 44, 20302038.
Sehayek, E, Nath, C, Heinemann, T, McGee, M, Seidman, CE, Samuel, P & Breslow, JL (1998) U-shape relationship between change in dietary cholesterol absorption and plasma lipoprotein responsiveness and evidence for extreme interindividual variation in dietary cholesterol absorption in humans. J Lipid Res 39, 24152422.
Selhub, J, Jacques, PF, Wilson, PW, Rush, D & Rosenberg, IH (1993) Vitamin status and intake as primary determinants of homocysteinemia in an elderly population. JAMA 270, 26932698.
Seshadri, S, Beiser, A, Selhub, J, Jacques, PF, Rosenberg, IH, D'Agostino, RB, Wilson, PW & Wolf, PA (2002) Plasma homocysteine as a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer's disease. N Engl J Med 346, 476483.
Shane, B (1995) Folate chemistry and metabolism Folate in Health and Disease [Bailey, LB editor] New York, NY: Marcel Dekker.
Shin, MJ, Lee, JH, Jang, Y, Lee-Kim, YC, Park, E, Kim, KM, Chung, BC & Chung, N (2005) Micellar phytosterols effectively reduce cholesterol absorption at low doses. Ann Nutr Metab 49, 346351.
St-Onge, MP (2005) Dietary fats, teas, dairy, and nuts: potential functional foods for weight control?. Am J Clin Nutr 81, 715.
Stover, PJ (2004) Physiology of folate and vitamin B12 in health and disease. Nutr Rev 62, S3S12.
Strain, JJ, Dowey, L, Ward, M, Pentieva, K & McNulty, H (2004) B-vitamins, homocysteine metabolism and CVD. Proc Nutr Soc 63, 597603.
Sudhop, T & von Bergmann, K (2002) Cholesterol absorption inhibitors for the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia. Drugs 62, 23332347.
Taylor, MJ, Carney, SM, Goodwin, GM & Geddes, JR (2004) Folate for depressive disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Psychopharmacol 18, 251256.
The Homocysteine Studies Collaboration (2002) Homocysteine and risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke: a meta-analysis. JAMA 288, 20152022.
Thompson, GR & Grundy, SM (2005) History and development of plant sterol and stanol esters for cholesterol-lowering purposes. Am J Cardiol 96, suppl, 3D9D.
Touyz, RM (2004) Magnesium in clinical medicine. Front Biosci 9, 12781293.
Turley, SD & Dietschy, JM (2003) Sterol absorption by the small intestine. Curr Opin Lipidol 14, 233240.
Vahouny, GV, Borja, CR & Treadwell, CR (1964) Absorption and esterification of micellar free and esterified cholesterol. Arch Biochem Biophys 106, 440446.
Vanstone, CA, Raeini-Sarjaz, M, Parsons, WE & Jones, PJ (2002) Unesterified plant sterols and stanols lower LDL-cholesterol concentrations in hypercholesterolemic persons. Am J Clin Nutr 76, 12721278.
Vaskonen, T (2003) Dietary minerals and modification of cardiovascular risk factors. J Nutr Biochem 14, 492506.
von Bergmann, K, Sudhop, T & Lütjohann, D (2005) Cholesterol and plant sterol absorption: recent insights. Am J Cardiol 96, suppl, 10D14D.
Vuoristo, M & Miettinen, TA (1985) Increased biliary lipid secretion in coeliac disease. Gastroenterology 88, 134142.
Vuoristo, M & Miettinen, TA (1994) Absorption, metabolism, and serum concentrations of cholesterol in vegetarians: effects of cholesterol feeding. Am J Clin Nutr 59, 13251331.
Wald, DS, Law, M & Morris, JK (2002) Homocysteine and cardiovascular disease: evidence on causality from a meta-analysis. BMJ 325, 17.
Welch, GN & Loscalzo, J (1998) Homocysteine and atherothrombosis. N Engl J Med 338, 10421050.
Zemel, MB (2002) Regulation of adiposity and obesity risk by dietary calcium: mechanisms and implications. J Am Coll Nutr 21, 146S151S
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed