Comparing the Lipid-Lowering Effect of EVOO and Statins in Type 2 Diabetes

Daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil improves cholesterol without the side effects associated with statins.

Aug. 21, 2017
By Mary West

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A new study com­pared the effi­cacy of extra vir­gin olive oil (EVOO) and a statin drug in low­er­ing lipids in peo­ple with type 2 dia­betes. While the med­ica­tion reduced lipids some­what more than EVOO, it comes with a host of side effects, some of which are seri­ous. Conversely, EVOO has an array of side ben­e­fits, such as low­er­ing blood pres­sure and pre­vent­ing blood clots, both of which can help pre­vent heart dis­ease.

As inflam­ma­tion plays a role in the devel­op­ment of heart dis­ease and many other chronic ill­nesses, the daily intake of olive oil can help pre­vent these con­di­tions.- Jonny Bowden, co-author of The Great Cholesterol Myth

Diabetes mel­li­tus often causes abnor­mal lipid lev­els called dys­lipi­demia, a con­di­tion that con­sists of raised lev­els of triglyc­erides, total cho­les­terol and low-den­sity lipopro­tein (LDL), known as bad cho­les­terol. The abnor­mal­ity also involves low lev­els of high-den­sity lipopro­tein (HDL), known as good cho­les­terol. This adverse effect on lipids can lead to microvas­cu­lar com­pli­ca­tions of dia­betes like neu­ropa­thy and retinopa­thy.

People with dys­lipi­demia fre­quently have triglyc­eride lev­els higher than 200mg/dL, total cho­les­terol greater than 200mg/dL, and LDL lev­els above 130mg/dL. Their HDL lev­els are often lower than 40mg/dL in men and 50mg/dL in women. These read­ings are sig­nif­i­cant because an ele­vated LDL increases the risk of coro­nary heart dis­ease, while an ele­vated HDL reduces the risk.

Statins are com­monly pre­scribed to decrease lipids in patients with dys­lipi­demia, and one of the most pop­u­lar is ator­vas­tatin. Unfortunately, statins cause mus­cle pain, liver dam­age and other health prob­lems.

EVOO has prop­er­ties that improve cho­les­terol with­out any of the adverse reac­tions asso­ci­ated with statins. It low­ers triglyc­erides, total cho­les­terol and LDL as well as raises HDL. These ben­e­fits are thought to be due to the oil’s con­tent of mono­sat­u­rated fats and antiox­i­dants, food con­stituents that help pre­vent clogged arter­ies.

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In the new ran­dom­ized con­trolled clin­i­cal trial pub­lished in the Journal of Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad, researchers com­pared the effects of ator­vas­tatin and EVOO on cho­les­terol. They divided a group of 60 patients with type 2 dia­betes and dys­lipi­demia into two groups; one of which took 40 mg of ator­vas­tatin per day and the other of which took two table­spoons of EVOO per day.

Among those who took the ator­vas­tatin, the mean dif­fer­ences in triglyc­erides, total cho­les­terol, LDL and HDL were 104, 110, 67, and 4 respec­tively. In those who took the EVOO, the val­ues were 46, 43, 31 and 3. These find­ings revealed that ator­vas­tatin low­ered triglyc­erides, total cho­les­terol and LDL by 20 to 40 per­cent, while the EVOO low­ered these para­me­ters by 14 to 25 per­cent. In addi­tion, the ator­vas­tatin increased HDL lev­els by 9 to 16 per­cent, and EVOO increased them by 8 to 12 per­cent.

Do statins really save lives and is cho­les­terol really a threat to health? Jonny Bowden, board-cer­ti­fied nutri­tion­ist and co-author of The Great Cholesterol Myth, tells Olive Oil Times that these wide­spread beliefs are in error.

Statins have enor­mous side effects and they are greatly under­re­ported. Moreover, data from stud­ies doesn’t pro­vide evi­dence that the med­ica­tions pro­tect against heart dis­ease and pro­long life.

On the other hand, olive oil is immensely health­ful. It has anti-inflam­ma­tory prop­er­ties, a ben­e­fit that is impor­tant for many body func­tions. As inflam­ma­tion plays a role in the devel­op­ment of heart dis­ease and many other chronic ill­nesses, the daily intake of olive oil can help pre­vent these con­di­tions.

Another com­mon view that recent stud­ies have proven wrong is that low­er­ing cho­les­terol is syn­ony­mous with reduc­ing the risk of heart dis­ease. Peer-reviewed research shows no asso­ci­a­tion of sat­u­rated fat with the mal­ady. In fact, in a Framingham study, peo­ple with the high­est cho­les­terol lived the longest.”



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