Original Article

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2011) 65, 386–393; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.266; published online 15 December 2010

Differential effects of walnuts vs almonds on improving metabolic and endocrine parameters in PCOS

S Kalgaonkar1, R U Almario1, D Gurusinghe1, E M Garamendi1, W Buchan2, K Kim3 and S E Karakas1,4

  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, The University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, USA
  2. 2Family and Consumer Sciences Department, California State University Sacramento, Sacramento, CA, USA
  3. 3The Division of Biostatistics, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, USA
  4. 4Department of Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System, Mather, CA, USA

Correspondence: Dr SE Karakas, Division of Endocrinology, Clinical Nutrition and Vascular Medicine, University of California at Davis, 4150 V Street, PSSB Suite G400, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA. E-mail: sekarakas@ucdavis.edu

Received 7 May 2010; Revised 8 November 2010; Accepted 9 November 2010; Published online 15 December 2010.





Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is commonly associated with insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and increased inflammation, which all benefit from dietary intake of monounsaturated and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFA and n-3 PUFA). Our goal was to compare the effects of MUFA-rich almonds vs n-3/n-6 PUFA-rich walnuts on metabolic and endocrine parameters in PCOS.



Thirty-one PCOS patients randomly received either walnuts or almonds containing 31g of total fat per day for 6 weeks. At the beginning and at the end, anthropometric parameters, fasting lipids, phospholipid-fatty acids, inflammatory markers, androgens, oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) and frequently sampled intravenous-GTT were obtained.



Weight remained stable. Within group, walnuts increased the n-3/n-6 essential PUFA in the diet and plasma phospholipids. Walnuts decreased low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol by 6% from 3.76±0.27 to 3.38±0.22mmol/l (P=0.05) and apoprotein B by 11% from 0.72±0.04 to 0.64±0.05g/l (P<0.03). Although almonds also reduced low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol by 10% and apoprotein B by 9%, these were not significant. Walnuts increased insulin response during OGTT by 26% (P<0.02). Both walnuts and almonds increased adiponectin (walnuts from 9.5±1.6 to 11.3±1.8μg per 100ml, P=0.0241; almonds from 10.1±1.5 to 12.2±1.4μg/dl, P=0.0262). Walnuts decreased HgBA1 from 5.7±0.1 to 5.5±0.1% (P=0.0006) with significant intergroup difference from almonds (P=0.0470). Walnuts increased sex hormone-binding globulin from 38.3±4.1 to 43.1±4.3nmol/l (P=0.0038) and almonds reduced free androgen index from 2.6±0.4 to 1.8±0.3 (P=0.0470).



Nut intake exerted beneficial effects on plasma lipids and androgens in PCOS.


PCOS; almonds; walnuts; monounsaturated fatty acids; polyunsaturated fatty acids

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