Nut consumption and decreased risk of sudden cardiac death in the Physicians' Health Study.

Notes: 

21,454 male participants enrolled in the U.S. Physicians’ Health Study, followed for an average of 17 years. Most dramatic relationship between survival with any food was nut consumption.

Compared with men who rarely or never consumed nuts, those who consumed nuts 2 or more times per week had a 47% lower risk (nearly half the risk) of sudden cardiac death and a 30% lower risk of total coronary heart disease death. (70% of risk for total coronary heart disease).

Nuts and seeds had anti-arrhythmic and anti-seizure effect associated with 60% reduction in sudden cardiac death.

This pattern of benefit on coronary heart disease end points suggests that at least part of the effect of nut consumption on sudden cardiac death may be due to a reduction in fatal ventricular arrhythmias. "consumption of nuts powerfully reduces the chance of having a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. (People who have heart disease do not always die of heart attacks; they die of an irregular heartbeat that prevents the heart from pumping properly.) Removing nuts and seeds from one’s diet may actually increase the risk of one of these fatal rhythm disturbances."

TitleNut consumption and decreased risk of sudden cardiac death in the Physicians' Health Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsAlbert CM, Gaziano MJ, Willett WC, Manson JAE
JournalArchives of internal medicine
Volume162
Issue12
Pagination1382-7
Date Published2002 Jun 24
ISSN0003-9926
KeywordsAdult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cohort Studies, Coronary Disease, Death, Sudden, Cardiac, Food Habits, Humans, Life Style, Male, Middle Aged, Nuts, Physicians, Proportional Hazards Models, Prospective Studies, Questionnaires, Risk, United States
Abstract

Dietary nut intake has been associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease mortality; however, the mechanism is unclear. Since components of nuts may have antiarrhythmic properties, part of the benefit may be due to a reduction in sudden cardiac death.

METHODS: We prospectively assessed whether increasing frequency of nut consumption, as ascertained by an abbreviated food frequency questionnaire at 12 months of follow-up, was associated with a lower risk of sudden cardiac death and other coronary heart disease end points among 21 454 male participants enrolled in the US Physicians' Health Study. Participants were followed up for an average of 17 years.

RESULTS: Dietary nut intake was associated with a significantly reduced risk of sudden cardiac death after controlling for known cardiac risk factors and other dietary habits (P for trend,.01). Compared with men who rarely or never consumed nuts, those who consumed nuts 2 or more times per week had reduced risks of sudden cardiac death (relative risk, 0.53; 95% confidence interval, 0.30-0.92) and total coronary heart disease death (relative risk, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.50-0.98). In contrast, nut intake was not associated with significantly reduced risks of nonsudden coronary heart disease death or nonfatal myocardial infarction.

CONCLUSION: These prospective data in US male physicians suggest that the inverse association between nut consumption and total coronary heart disease death is primarily due to a reduction in the risk of sudden cardiac death.

Alternate JournalArch. Intern. Med.
PubMed ID12076237
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