Summary: Adding 57g of almonds daily to the diet for one month increases levels of the beneficial fat, 12,13-DiHOME, in blood samples immediately after intense exercise.
For those who exercise regularly, eating almonds every day could be the perfect New Year’s resolution.
A randomized controlled trial in Nutrition Frontiers showed that female and male participants who ate 57g of almonds daily for one month had more beneficial fat 12,13-dihydroxy-9Z-octadecenoic acid (12,13-DiHOME) in their blood immediately after a session intense exercise than control participants.
This molecule, called oxylipin (oxidized fat) is synthesized from linoleic acid by brown adipose tissue, and has a beneficial effect on metabolic health and energy regulation.
Corresponding author Dr. David C Nieman, professor and director of the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory at the North Carolina Research Campus, said: “We show here that volunteers who consumed 57g of almonds per day for a month before a single “weekend warrior”. exercise sessions had more beneficial 12,13-DiHOME in their blood immediately after exercise than control volunteers. They also reported feeling less fatigue and tension, better back leg strength, and less muscle damage after exercise than control volunteers.
Four week food supplement with almonds
The clinical trial involved 38 men and 26 women between the ages of 30 and 65, who did not exercise regularly. About half were randomized to the almond diet group and the other half to the control group, which ate an assorted-calorie cereal bar daily. The researchers took blood and urine samples before and after the four-week period of dietary supplementation.
Performance measures included a 30-second anaerobic Wingate test, a 50-meter shuttle run test, and vertical jump, bench press, and rear leg strength exercises. Additional blood and urine samples were taken immediately after this 90-minute “eccentric exercise” session and daily for four days afterwards.
After each blood draw, participants completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire to quantify their mental state and rated their delayed-onset muscle soreness – that is, the pain and stiffness experienced after unusual or strenuous exercise – on a 10 -interval scale.
As expected, the 90-minute exercise resulted in an increase in the volunteers’ self-reported feeling of muscle damage and muscle pain, as well as an increase in the POMS score, indicating a decrease in self-reported vigor and an increase in fatigue. , anxiety and depression.
Exercise also resulted in transiently elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and MCP-1 in the blood consistent with minor muscle damage. However, these changes in cytokines were equal in the almond and cereal bar groups.
Differences between two concentrations of DiHOME
Importantly, immediately after exercise, the concentration of the beneficial 12,13-DiHOME was 69% higher in the blood plasma of participants in the almond group than in participants in the control group. 12,13-DiHOME is known to increase fatty acid transport and uptake by skeletal muscle, with the overall effect of boosting metabolic recovery after exercise.
The reverse pattern was found for another oxylipin, mildly toxic 9,10-dihydroxy-12-octadecenoic acid (9,10-diHOME), which was 40% higher immediately after exercise in the blood of the control group than in the almond group. Unlike 12,13-DiHOME, 9,10-diHOME has been shown to have negative effects on overall health and body recovery after exercise.
Polyphenols in almond skin may be the key
Nieman and his colleagues concluded that daily consumption of almonds led to a change in metabolism, downregulating inflammation and oxidative stress resulting from exercise and allowing the body to recover faster.
“We conclude that almonds provide a unique and complex blend of nutrients and polyphenols that may support metabolic recovery after stressful levels of exercise. Almonds contain high amounts of protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, minerals and fiber. And the brown skin of almonds contains polyphenols that end up in the large intestine and help control inflammation and oxidative stress,” Nieman said.
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationship that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Funding: Funded by the Almond Board of California, Modesto, CA. The funder had no role in the design of the study, the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, the preparation of the manuscript or the decision to submit the article for publication
About this diet and exercise research news
Author: Misha Dijkstra
Contact: Mischa Dijkstra – Borders
Picture: Image is in public domain
Original research: Free access.
“Almond consumption alters the acute plasma dihydroxy-octadecenoic acid (DiHOME) response to eccentric exercise” by David Nieman et al. Nutrition Frontiers
Almond consumption alters the acute plasma dihydroxy-octadecenoic acid (DiHOME) response to eccentric exercise
This investigation determined whether ingesting nutrient-rich almonds for 4 weeks alleviated post-exercise inflammation as well as muscle pain and damage. A 90-minute acute eccentric exercise session (90-EE) was used to induce muscle damage in 64 non-obese adults not engaging in regular resistance training (ages 30-65, BMI <30 kg /m2).
Using a parallel group design, participants were randomized to treatment groups with almonds (AL) (57 g/d) or granola bars (CB) (corresponding to calories) for a period of 4 weeks prior to treatment. 90-EE (17 exercises).
24-hour blood and urine samples were taken before and after supplementation, with additional blood samples taken immediately after 90-EE and then daily for an additional 4 days of recovery. Changes in plasma oxylipins, urinary gut-derived phenolics, plasma cytokines, biomarkers of muscle damage, mood states, and physical performance were assessed.
The 90-EE protocol induced significant muscle damage, delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), inflammation, reduced strength and power performance, and mood disturbances. Interaction effects (2 groups x 7 time points) supported that AL vs CB was associated with reduced post-exercise fatigue and tension (p=0.051, 0.033, respectively) and higher levels elevated rear leg strength (p = 0.029). No group differences were found for post-90-EE increases in DOMS and six cytokines. AL was associated with lower serum creatine kinase levels immediately and 1 day after exercise (p = 0.034 and 0.013, respectively).
Combat 90-EE increased plasma levels immediately after exercise for 13 oxylipins. Interaction effects revealed significantly higher levels for AL vs CB for 12,13-DiHOME (p<0.001) and lower levels for 9,10-DiHOME (p<0.001). Urine levels increased in AL compared to CB for seven gut-derived phenolic compounds, including 5-(3′,4′-dihydroxyphenyl)-γ-valerolactone which was inversely related to changes in plasma 9 ,10-DiHOME (r=-0.029, p=0.021).
These data support some positive effects of almond consumption on improving mood state, maintaining strength, decreasing muscle damage, increasing the generation of gut-derived phenolic metabolites and modification of the plasma response of DiHOME oxylipin to unusual eccentric exercise in untrained adults.
Elevated plasma levels of 12,13-DiHOME with post-exercise almond intake promote positive metabolic outcomes for adults who engage in unusual eccentric exercise.