`Too Much Pollution Where you Live? Olive Oil Might Help - Olive Oil Times

Too Much Pollution Where you Live? Olive Oil Might Help

May. 19, 2014
Elena Paravantes

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Exposure to air pol­lu­tion is known to have a neg­a­tive effect on health. Particular mat­ter, a mix­ture of small par­ti­cles and liq­uid droplets that includes acids, organic chem­i­cals, met­als, and soil or dust par­ti­cles is asso­ci­ated with heart and lung dis­eases.

A new study pre­sented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference has shown that olive oil sup­ple­men­ta­tion may coun­ter­act some of the neg­a­tive car­dio­vas­cu­lar effects of pol­lu­tion.

Dr. Haiyan Tong, a research biol­o­gist with the Environmental Protection Agency and the study’s author, explained that expo­sure to air­borne par­tic­u­late mat­ter can lead to endothe­lial dys­func­tion. The endothe­lial is made up of a group of cells that line the inte­rior of blood ves­sels. When these cells are not func­tion­ing prop­erly, it may lead to hard­en­ing of the arter­ies and is a risk fac­tor for other car­dio­vas­cu­lar events. The researchers wanted to exam­ine if olive oil and fish oil would reduce this effect of pol­lu­tion as they appeared to improve endothe­lial func­tion in other stud­ies.

For this study, 42 healthy men and women were recruited to either receive, once a day, 3 grams of olive oil (in sup­ple­ment form), 3 grams of fish oil or no sup­ple­ments for 4 weeks. After the sup­ple­men­ta­tion the par­tic­i­pants were exposed to con­trolled fil­tered air and the next day were exposed to con­cen­trated ambi­ent par­tic­u­lar mat­ter. The researchers then mea­sured flow-medi­ated dila­tion of the brachial artery, which is a non-inva­sive ultra­sound method to exam­ine endothe­lial func­tion. Measurements were taken right after expo­sure to the par­tic­u­lar mat­ter and 20 hours after.

The results showed that there were reduc­tions in the dila­tion of the brachial artery — thus poten­tially show­ing endothe­lial dys­func­tion — in the con­trol and fish oil groups, but not in the olive oil group. In addi­tion, a pro­tein known to be involved in the break down of blood clots was increased in the olive oil group. The researchers also noted that olive oil sup­ple­men­ta­tion ame­lio­rated changes in blood mark­ers asso­ci­ated with vaso­con­stric­tion and fib­ri­nol­y­sis (a process that keeps blood clots from grow­ing), while fish oil sup­ple­men­ta­tion had no effect on endothe­lial func­tion or fib­ri­nol­y­sis after pol­lu­tion expo­sure.


The researchers con­cluded that their study sug­gested that use of olive oil sup­ple­ments may pro­tect against the adverse vas­cu­lar effects of expo­sure to air pol­lu­tion par­ti­cles.

Supplements are often used for fish oil, how­ever olive oil is known to enhance the fla­vor and tex­ture of foods.


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