Researchers from Oregon State University found that hazelnuts consumption in older adults significantly improved two underconsumed micronutrients, magnesium and vitamin E concentration
The researchers conducted a small-scale study on 32 adults in the age bracket of 55 years and above. They monitored their health level, each of the volunteers were advised to eat about 57 grams of hazelnuts daily for 16 weeks. The study was funded by the Hazelnut Marketing Board of Oregon and was published in the Journal of Nutrition on December 2018.
The team reported that the people who participated in the study were found to have increased blood concentrations of magnesium and elevated urinary levels of a breakdown product of alpha tocopherol, commonly known as vitamin E.
Older adults are at particular risk – lower concentrations of the micronutrients are associated with increased risk of age-related health problems including Alzheimer’s disease. Alex Michels, a researcher at OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute and co-author of the study, says, “this is one of the first times a study of this type has focused only on older adults. We wanted to fill in a piece of the puzzle – can hazelnuts improve the nutritional status of older adults specifically?”
The team used a novel biomarker – an alpha tocopherol metabolite – to determine whether hazelnuts had improved the research subjects’ vitamin E levels, according to Maret Traver, professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences and the Ava Helen Pauling Professor at the Linus Pauling Institute and co-author of the study.
“The findings demonstrate the power of adding hazelnuts to your diet, of just changing one thing. Vitamin E and magnesium are two of the most underconsumed micronutrients in the US population, and there’s much more to hazelnuts than what we analyzed here,” adds Traver.