High concentrations of monounsaturated fatty acids in oil of the pequi fruit (Caryocar brasiliense) were associated with beneficial effects to cholesterol levels in men over 45 years of age, while the oil’s antioxidants were linked to the anti-inflammatory response in a study involving 76 men and 49 women aged between 15 and 67.
Researchers led by Ana Miranda-Vilela from the University of Brasilia report their findings in Nutrition Research.
“We accept our initial hypothesis that C brasiliense fruit pulp oil presents anti-inflammatory effects similar to those demonstrated for C coriaceum, besides reducing significantly the total cholesterol and LDL in the age group older than 45 years, mainly for men,” report the researchers.
“Thus, pequi oil, as well as possessing other nutritional properties, is a good candidate as a supplement for athletes,” they added.
The market for sports nutrition is growing. Frost & Sullivan estimates the European sports nutrition market will surpass the €4 billion by 2010 – and it is a food industry segment that is growing more rapidly than most.
Miranda-Vilela and her co-workers prepared pequi oil capsules by extracting the oil from pequi pulp using cold maceration. The daily dose was set at 400 mg of pequi oil.
Athletic participants were evaluated after races before and after ingestion of pequi oil for 14 days. The races were run in the same environment and under the same type, intensity, and length of weekly training conditions, said the researchers.
Reductions in markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and number sof neutrophils and lymphocytes, following exercise were seen in all the age groups, but predominantly in the over 45 age group.
The pequi oil supplements were also associated with reductions in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol in the over 45s, and mainly for men, said the researchers.
Furthermore, a general trend for reduced blood pressure was observed, but the researchers said this finding needed additional investigation.
“In this study, the general tendency of arterial pressure (systolic and diastolic) to decrease after pequi oil supplementation supports the previous suggestion that a higher intake of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) is inversely related to blood pressure and that not only a diet with a high polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)/ saturated fatty acids (SFA) ratio, but also a diet with high PUFA-MUFA/SFA ratio, can exert a hypotensive effect;” said the researchers. “Although these results support our hypothesis that pequi oil can reduce blood pressure, a future study involving systematic measurement of arterial pressure can help to elucidate this question further.”
The researchers report that no participants withdrew from the study, but some adverse effects were reported, including drowsiness, insomnia, and gastrointestinal discomfort. “All symptoms were noticed within the first 3 to 4 days of [supplementation], disappearing soon afterward,” added Miranda-Vilela and her co-workers.
Source: Nutrition Research
Volume 29, Issue 12, Pages 850-858
“Pequi fruit (Caryocar brasiliense Camb.) pulp oil reduces exercise-induced inflammatory markers and blood pressure of male and female runners”
Authors: A.L. Miranda-Vilela, L.C.S. Pereira, C.A. Goncalves, C.K. Grisolia