Loma Linda University

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Sujatha Rajaram, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Public Health
School of Public Health
Research & Grantsmanship    Funded Research Project (PI)
  • Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on expression of PPAR gamma mRNA. ( 3/2011 - 5/2011 )
    Co-investigators: J. Sabate, S. Mohan
  • Effect of almonds on hemostatic and inflammatory factors in healthy adults ( 0/2006 - 0/2009 )
    Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of mortality in men and women worldwide and diet is known to influence CVD risk to a great extent. Inflammation and hemostasis play a pivotal role in the propagation of cardiovascular disease, and studies have shown that these factors are independent risk factors for CVD and neurodegenerative disease I the elderly. Almonds, which are rich in monounsaturated fat, are known to reduce CVD risk by lowering blood lipids, however their potential role in lowering hemostatic and inflammatory factors is not known to date. This study will provide important information of possible diet mediated changes of known CVD risk factors that can increase the quality of life for the aging population. This study is also aimed at looking at a simple and easy to follow diet modification via the introduction of a single whole food (nuts) to the diet.
  • Fatty fish versus walnuts on blood lipid markers in healthy men and women: a controlled, randomized feeding study ( 0/2005 - 0/2007 )
    Background: Increased consumption of n23 (omega-3) fatty acids decreases the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD).   Objective: The objective was to determine whether walnuts (plant n23 fatty acid) and fatty fish (marine n23 fatty acid) have similar effects on serum lipid markers at intakes recommended for primary prevention of CHD.   Design: In a randomized crossover feeding trial, 25 normal to mildly hyperlipidemic adults consumed 3 isoenergetic diets (’30% total fat and,10% saturated fat) for 4wk each: a control diet (no nuts or fish), a walnut diet (42.5 g walnuts/10.1 mJ), or a fish diet (113 g salmon, twice/wk). Fasting blood was drawn at baseline and at the end of each diet period and analyzed for serum lipids.   Results: Serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations in adults who followed the walnut diet (4.87 6 0.18 and 2.77 6 0.15 mmol/L, respectively) were lower than in those who followed the control diet (5.14 6 0.18 and 3.06 6 0.15 mmol/L, respectively) and those who followed the fish diet (5.33 6 0.18 and 3.2 6 0.15 mmol/L, respectively; P,0.0001). The fish diet resulted in decreased serum triglyceride and increased HDL-cholesterol concentrations (1.0 6 0.11 and 1.23 6 0.05 mmol/L, respectively) compared with the control diet (1.12 6 0.11 and 1.19 6 0.05 mmol/L, respectively) and the walnut diet (1.11 6 0.11 mmol/L, P , 0.05, and 1.18 6 0.05 mmol/L, P , 0.001, respectively). The ratios of total cholesterol: HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol:HDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B:apolipoprotein A-I were lower (P , 0.05) in those who followed the walnut diet compared with those who followed the control and fish diets.   Conclusion: Including walnuts and fatty fish in a healthy diet lowered serum cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, respectively, which affects CHD risk favorably.
  • Effect of walnuts compared to fatty fish on selected markers of bone formation and resorption ( 9/2009 - Present )
    Recent scientific evidence suggests that diets containing increased n-3 fatty acids exert protective effects on bone health. N-3 fatty acids are known to regulate osteoblast and osteoclast production, cells which are involved in bone formation and resorption. However to date the number of human studies that have systematically investigated the role of plant (ALA) and marine (EPA/DHA) derived n-3 fatty acids on bone health is very limited. Osteoporosis is a major public health problem in the United States and therefore identifying foods or nutrients that have the potential to prevent osteoporosis by improving bone health is of great significance. Serum samples from a previous randomized controlled feeding study comparing the effects of walnuts (ALA source) and fatty fish (EPA, DHA source) on blood lipid outcomes are being used for analyzing bone markers. The primary objective of this study is to investigate the effects of plant versus marine sources of n-3 fatty acids on biochemical markers of bone turnover. Specific markers of bone formation, bone resorption and bone growth factors will be analyzed. Samples from 25 subjects that completed the original feeding study will used to measure bone markers at the end of the three diets periods (control, walnut and fatty fish). The study will provide powerful and important data regarding the role of walnuts and fish in improving bone health.
  Funded Research Project (CI)
  • Comparing different types of n-3 fatty acids (ALA vs EPA/DHA) on selected coronary heart disease risk factors in healthy adults ( 5/2006 - 11/2009 )