Almonds & Type 2 Diabetes

The Effect of Almonds On Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Chinese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Crossover Controlled Feeding Trial

When comparing patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) to the average healthy individual, those diagnosed are at a greater risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cancer, retinopathy, neuropathy, and gallstone disease. This increased risk for CVD, contributes to 75% mortality among T2DM patients because of similar pathologies between diabetes and CVD. The major shared pathology is increased oxidative stress from hyperglycemia, from glucose reduction to sorbitol and glycation end products, impaired antioxidant defenses, inhibited mitochondrial function and activation of NADPH oxidase.

Along with lifestyle alterations such as incorporating physical activity, certain foods can be added into the diet such as almonds. It has been shown that almonds improved lipid profile, increased satiety, lowered post-prandial glucose excursion and decreased oxidative stress. Though limited research has been presented about these benefits, data from Li et al. was furthered examined to analyze the effect of almonds on oxidative stress and inflammation in T2DM patients.

The subjects consisted of T2DM patients, who were diagnosed greater than five years ago and were between the ages of 40 and 70 years old. These 22 patients had been previously prescribed hypoglycemic medications, were not receiving insulin therapy, and had stable blood lipid and sugar levels. Subjects were provided a control or almond diet for four weeks after a two-week run-in period and four overnight fasting blood samples were collected. On average, patients consumed 56g/day of almonds incorporated into meals. Biomarkers for analysis included concentration of oxidized LDL in serum, plasma malondialdehyde (MDA), plasma protein carbonyl, total phenolic content and total antioxidant capacity in plasma.

Results showed that, total antioxidant capacity, total phenolic content in plasma, and plasma MDA were not altered by the almond diet, but presented significant decreases in plasma protein carbonyl and circulating oxidized LDL. In addition, providing evidence that almonds significantly decreased CRP, an inflammatory marker and risk factor for CVD and IL-6, which mediates CRP synthesis. This evidence lends some insight into the mechanisms by which almonds decrease inflammation. These mechanisms include, improved glycemic control, increased plasma α–tocopherol and increased MUFA intake.

Further investigation is needed to understand the differing contributions of these various enzymes and specifically how they are affected by the intake of almonds. Though recently speculated that antioxidants in almonds have a limited direct impact on the regulation of inflammation.With current data demonstrating that other antioxidant rich foods were unable to improve glycemic control or inhibit oxidative stress, it is apparent more research can be conducted on nutrients withinalmonds. This may lend to a greater understanding on the impact of various mechanisms that contribute to glycemic control, oxidative stress and inflammation, dependent upon medical history, diet and lifestyles of T2DM patients.