Dr. Seth Armah (Nutrition) received new funding from Wake forest University for the project “Effect of almond consumption on iron regulation in a mouse model of aging.” Dr. Steven Fordahl is co-principal investigator on the project.
Intellectual merit: Anemia, a condition marked by inadequate healthy red blood cells (RBCs), affects nearly a third of the world’s population, leading to fatigue, poor immunity, impaired cognition, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Inflammation accounts for nearly 42%, or almost 1 billion anemia cases worldwide. Consumption of almonds can mitigate anemia of inflammation (AI) by different mechanisms: (i) reducing inflammation, (ii) altering the gut microbiome composition, (iii) improving RBCs health due to its vitamin E content, which protects them from oxidative damage. In this study, researchers will investigate the effect of almond intake on iron status and on the RBC antioxidant system of aged C57BL/6 mice. A standard mouse diet with 15% calories from almonds will be evaluated for 16 weeks. Researchers hypothesize improved iron status and RBC antioxidant system activity with almond consumption. Findings from this study will provide preliminary data for a grant proposal to be submitted to the NIH (R21, Hematologic Disease Division of the NIDDK) to investigate the researchers’ hypothesis in elderly individuals.
Broader impact: This is the first study to investigate both a dietary approach and the contribution of the RBC antioxidant system to mitigate AI. Especially among the elderly, AI is associated with cognitive decline, depression, disability in daily living, increased recurrent falling, hospitalization, and mortality. Since AI develops with age even in absence of chronic diseases, identifying a dietary approach to mitigate it will have a significant impact in minimizing its adverse health implications and improving the quality of life among the elderly.