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Open AccessArticle

Walnut Consumption for Two Years and Leukocyte Telomere Attrition in Mediterranean Elders: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Lipid Clinic, Department of Endocrinology and Nutrition, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, IDIBAPS, Villarroel 170, Edifici Helios, despatx 8, 08036 Barcelona, Spain
Ciber Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), 28029 Madrid, Spain
Telomeres and Telomerase Group, Molecular Oncology Program, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), 28029 Madrid, Spain
Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed to this work equally.
Nutrients 2018, 10(12), 1907;
Received: 14 October 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Effects of Nut Consumption)
Randomized controlled trials on diet and shortening of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) mostly focus on marine-derived n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Walnuts are a sustainable source of n-3 PUFA. We investigated whether inclusion of walnuts (15% of energy) in the diet for 2 years would maintain LTL in cognitively healthy elders (63–79 years old) compared to a control group (habitual diet, abstaining from walnuts). This opportunistic sub-study was conducted within the Walnuts and Healthy Aging study, a dual-centre (Barcelona, Spain and Loma Linda University, California) parallel trial. A sub-set of the Barcelona site participants were randomly assigned to the walnut (n = 80) or control group (n = 69). We assessed LTL at baseline and at 2 years and we conducted repeated-measures ANCOVA with 2 factors: time (baseline, 2 years) and group (control, walnut) and their interaction. Adjusted means (95% confidence interval) of LTL (in kb) in controls were 7.360 (7.084,7.636) at baseline and 7.061 (6.835,7.288) after 2 years; corresponding values in the walnut group were 7.064 (6.807,7.320) and 7.074 (6.864,7.284). The time × intervention interaction was nearly significant (p = 0.079), suggestive of a trend of walnut consumption in preserving LTL. This exploratory research finding should be confirmed in trials with adequate statistical power. View Full-Text
Keywords: aging; alpha-linolenic acid; biomarker; n-3 PUFA; nuts aging; alpha-linolenic acid; biomarker; n-3 PUFA; nuts
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Freitas-Simoes, T.-M.; Cofán, M.; Blasco, M.A.; Soberón, N.; Foronda, M.; Serra-Mir, M.; Roth, I.; Valls-Pedret, C.; Doménech, M.; Ponferrada-Ariza, E.; Calvo, C.; Rajaram, S.; Sabaté, J.; Ros, E.; Sala-Vila, A. Walnut Consumption for Two Years and Leukocyte Telomere Attrition in Mediterranean Elders: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1907.

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