Effect of hazelnut on serum lipid profile and fatty acid composition of erythrocyte phospholipids in children and adolescents with primary hyperlipidemia: A randomized controlled trial


      Background & aim

      Regular intake of nuts improves lipid profile and thus reduces the cardiovascular (CV) risk associated with hyperlipidemia. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of a dietary intervention with hazelnuts (HZNs, 15–30 g/day, depending on patient weight) on serum lipid profile, anthropometric parameters and fatty acids (FAs) composition of erythrocyte phospholipids in children and adolescents with primary hyperlipidemia.


      Eight-week randomized, single blind, controlled, three-arm, parallel-group study. Sixty-six subjects were enrolled and randomized in 3 groups receiving: 1) hazelnuts with skin (HZN+S); 2) hazelnuts without skin (HZN-S); 3) dietary advices for hyperlipidemia only (controls). Before and after intervention, clinical parameters were measured and blood samples were collected for the evaluation of serum lipid levels and phospholipid FA composition of erythrocytes.


      Two-way ANOVA showed a significant effect of time on serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C)/LDL-C ratio and non-HDL-C (p ≤ 0.001), but not of treatment and time × treatment interaction. In particular, HZN+S and HZN-S significantly reduced the concentrations of LDL-C and increased HDL-C/LDL-C ratio. HZNs also had a favorable impact on FAs composition of erythrocyte phospholipids, as demonstrated by time × treatment interaction, with a significant increase of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) (p = 0.008) and MUFAs/saturated fatty acids (SFAs) ratio (p = 0.002) with respect to the control group.


      For the first time, we documented a positive effect of HZN consumption on lipid profile and FA composition of erythrocyte phospholipids in children with primary hyperlipidemia. Further studies are encouraged to better define HZN impact on the markers of CV risk in this population.
      The trial was registered under ISRCTN.com, ID no. ISRCTN12261900.



      BMI (body mass index), CVD (cardiovascular disease), CHILD (cardiovascular health integrated lifestyle diet), FA (fatty acid), FCHL (familial combined hyperlipidemia), FH (familial hypercholesterolemia), GAE (gallic acid equivalents), HDL-C (high density lipoprotein cholesterol), HZN (hazelnuts), HZN+S (hazelnuts with skin), HZN-S (hazelnuts without skin), LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids), non-HDL-C (non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol), PHC (polygenic hypercholesterolemia), PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids), RBCs (red blood cells), SFAs (saturated fatty acids), TC (total cholesterol), TE (trolox equivalent), TG (triglycerides)
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