Olive & Oil 30/11/2014

Extra virgin olive oil could cut your heart attack risk in just six weeks

Olive oil contains omega-6 fats, a form of healthy polyunsaturates which blocks the body's response to inflammation in chronic conditions such as heart disease and arthritis. Olive oil unsaponifiable fraction, as poliphenols, exerts an anti-inflammatory role in inflammatory bowel disease patients.

Olive oil consumption is associated with cardiovascular disease prevention because of both its oleic acid and phenolic contents.

The capacity of olive oil phenolics to protect against low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation is the basis for a health claim by the European Food Safety Authority. Proteomic biomarkers enable an early, presymptomatic diagnosis of disease, which makes them important and effective, but understudied, tools for primary prevention.

Glasgow researchers evaluated the impact of supplementation with olive oil, either low or high in phenolics, on urinary proteomic biomarkers of coronary artery disease (CAD), chronic kidney disease (CKD), and diabetes.

Self-reported healthy participants (n = 69) were randomly allocated, stratified block random assignment according to age and body mass index to supplementation with a daily 20-mL dose of olive oil either low or high in phenolics (18 compared with 286 mg caffeic acid equivalents per kg, respectively) for 6 weeks. Urinary proteomic biomarkers were measured at baseline and 3 and 6 wk alongside blood lipids, the antioxidant capacity, and glycation markers.

The consumption of both olive oils improved the proteomic CAD score at endpoint compared with baseline (mean improvement: –0.3 for low-phenolic olive oil and −0.2 for high-phenolic; P < 0.01) but not CKD or diabetes proteomic biomarkers. However, there was no difference between groups for changes in proteomic biomarkers or any secondary outcomes including plasma triacylglycerols, oxidized LDL, and LDL cholesterol.

"Our study was a supplementation study. If people in the UK replaced part of their fat intake with olive oil, it could have an ever greater effect on reducing the risk of heart disease - said Emilie Combet of the School of Medicine at Glasgow University - The changes detected were subtle, and conventional markers of heart disease such as cholesterol were unaffected."

The unsaponifiable fraction of extra virgin olive oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties and exerts preventative effects in murine models of inflammatory bowel disease.

The Academy at the University of Gothenburg study was designed to determine the in vitro effects of unsaponifiable fraction on blood and intestinal T cells from IBD patients and healthy subjects.

The T cell phenotype was investigated by flow cytometry and cytokine secretion was determined by ELISA. The presence of unsaponifiable fraction of olive oil promoted apoptosis and attenuated activation of intestinal and blood T cells isolated from IBD patients, decreasing the frequency of CD69+ and CD25+ T cells and, also, the secretion of IFN-γ. Moreover, UF reduced the expression of the gut homing receptor integrin β7 on blood T cells from IBD patients.

In conclusion, unsaponifiable fraction modulates the activity and the gut homing capacity of T cells, and might therefore be considered as a dietary complement with an anti-inflammatory role in IBD patients.

di R. T.