Brazil nut ingestion increased plasma selenium but had minimal effects on lipids, apolipoproteins, and high-density lipoprotein function in human subjects.
J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Mar;56 Suppl 1:219-31. PMID: 19083402
Lipid Metabolism Laboratory, the Heart Institute (InCor) of the Medical School Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil.
The Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) of the Amazon region is consumed worldwide. It is rich in both monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids and is known for its high selenium content. This study tested the hypothesis whether the consumption of this nut could affect the plasma lipids and apolipoproteins and some functional properties of the antiatherogenic high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Fifteen normolipidemic subjects aged 27.3 +/- 3.9 years and with body mass index of 23.8 +/- 2.8 kg/m(2) consumed 45 g of Brazil nuts per day during a 15-day period. On days 0 and 15, blood was collected for biochemical analysis, determination of HDL particle size, paraoxonase 1 activity, and lipid transfer from a lipoprotein-like nanoparticle to the HDL fraction. Brazil nut ingestion did not alter HDL, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triacylglycerols, apolipoprotein A-I, or apolipoprotein B concentrations. HDL particle diameter and the activity of antioxidative paraoxonase 1, mostly found in the HDL fraction, were also unaffected. Supplementation increased the reception of cholesteryl esters (P<.05) by the HDL yet did not alter the reception of phospholipids, free cholesterol, or triacylglycerols. As expected, plasma selenium was significantly increased. However, the consumption of Brazil nuts for short duration by normolipidemic subjects in comparable amounts to those tested for other nuts did not alter serum lipid profile. The only alteration in HDL function was the increase in cholesteryl ester transfer. This latter finding may be beneficial because it would improve the nonatherogenic reverse cholesterol transport pathway.