By Tom Baker
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Buenos Aires
The results of a study announced this week into the possible treatment methods for osteoporosis have found that olive oil could play a role in both the future development of drugs as well as in the dietary requirements of patients.
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass, which in turn causes the architecture of bone tissue to become fragile. This can then increase the possibly of fractures, making even the slightest of knocks potentially fatal for sufferers.
The disease is recognized as being particularly prevalent among postmenopausal women for whom a decrease in the production of estrogen then weakens bone structures and most commonly affects the ribs, wrists, and hips. For this study, scientists were particularly interested in how a supplementation of olive oil could be used to help women in this category.
Tests were carried out on rats showing comparable conditions to female human menopause, with one group being treated orally with olive oil. At the end of the experiment, blood samples were collected and tested for levels of calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), malondialdehyde (MDA), and nitrates.
The results found that that rats not treated with olive oil showed a significant decrease in calcium levels and a significant increase in plasma ALP, MDA, and nitrates levels.
Olive oil supplementation proved to be beneficial and was found to both attenuate these changes and to positively affect the thickness of bones.
Diet plays a significant role in maintaining healthy bones for which it is important to eat foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D, as well as those containing minerals including: phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, boron, iron, fluoride, and copper. Doctors often recommend foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, and grains to improve mineral levels, while cod liver oil and fish such as tuna and salmon are considered to be good sources of Vitamin D. When it comes to improving levels of calcium, dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and fortified milk are very often recommended but olive oil can also be a good source. In one cup (216mg), olive oil contains 2.2mg of Calcium, as well as necessary minerals such as Iron (1.2mg), Potassium (2.2mg), and sodium (4.3mg).
Olive oil will not be the only solution in the continuing fight against postmenopausal osteoporosis but having performed well in the lab, scientists have concluded that it is a very promising candidate for future treatments of the disease.
The authors of the study are Dr. Nermine K Saleh and Dr. Hanan A Saleh, Ain Shams University, Egypt.
This article was last updated February 27, 2011 - 7:22 PM (GMT-4)