EVOO Polyphenols May Provide Protection Against Platelet Aggregation in Cardiovascular Disease

Polyphenols in EVOO inhibit the platelet aggregation that can lead to abnormal clotting and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Aug. 25, 2016
By Jedha Dening

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Researchers now rec­og­nize that car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease (CVD) is acti­vated and dri­ven by a state of low-grade chronic inflam­ma­tion in the body. As a result of inflam­ma­tion, CVD is thought to be ini­ti­ated by platelet-depen­dent processes.

Platelet aggre­ga­tion is a process whereby blood platelets (cells) adhere to each other to form clots in rela­tion to injury in the body. Platelet aggre­ga­tion also occurs at sites of vas­cu­lar injury. For exam­ple, in response to injury and inflam­ma­tion in arter­ies. In rela­tion to CVD, reduc­ing platelet aggre­ga­tion is impor­tant because it can result in abnor­mal clot­ting that can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
See Also: Olive Oil Health Benefits
Oxylipin pro­duc­tion relates to oxy­genated lipids — eicosanoids such as prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase‑1 (COX‑1) and cyclooxygenase‑2 (COX‑2) and leukotriene — in the body involved in mod­u­lat­ing and reg­u­lat­ing immune responses, includ­ing immune responses caused by inflammation.

Extra vir­gin olive oil (EVOO) con­tains more than 36 phe­no­lic com­pounds. Although all of the phe­no­lic com­pounds in EVOO have known ben­e­fi­cial effects, a recent study, co-spon­sored by Gaea and the Captain Vassilis Foundation, in coop­er­a­tion with the University of California, Davis and the US Department of Agriculture, shows that the health ben­e­fits pro­vided by EVOO may be influ­enced by the type and the qual­i­ties each indi­vid­ual EVOO vari­ety provides. 

In the study, spe­cific EVOO sam­ples were screened to iden­tify sam­ples high in oleo­can­thal, olea­cein, oleu­ropeinagly­con and ligstrosideaglcon polyphenols. 

The EVOO sam­ples were selected from super­mar­ket ranges and final sam­ples cho­sen included an oil of Mediterranean ori­gin obtained from a super­mar­ket in California (Oil A), an Arbequina vari­ety oil pro­vided by Corto Company from California (Oil B), and a Koroneiki vari­ety oil from Kalamata, Greece (Oil C).” All oils were matched in total polyphe­nol con­tent but con­tained dif­fer­ing lev­els of oleo­can­thal, olea­cein and tyrosol. Oil A higher in tyrosol, Oil B higher in olea­cein, and Oil C higher in oleocanthal.

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Nine healthy males par­tic­i­pated in the ran­dom­ized, blinded, con­trolled crossover design study and were instructed to con­sume 40 mL of the three EVOO sam­ples on three con­sec­u­tive vis­its, with a con­trol sam­ple of Ibuprofen (400 mg) pro­vided on the fourth visit.

Blood sam­ples were col­lected imme­di­ately before and two hours after con­sump­tion of the EVOO sam­ples or Ibuprofen. Platelet-rich blood sam­ples were stim­u­lated and sub­jected to aggre­gom­e­try and ana­lyzed for platelet responses and reduc­tion of COX-depen­dent oxylipins.

The results show that Oils B, C and Ibuprofen decrease platelet aggre­ga­tion. Ibuprofen was the only inter­ven­tion to sig­nif­i­cantly decrease oxylipin con­cen­tra­tions. Rather than total phe­no­lic con­tent being of inter­est, the authors con­clude that the phe­no­lic com­po­si­tion of EVOO influ­ences col­la­gen-stim­u­lated platelet activity. 

Inhibition of platelet aggre­ga­tion and oxylipin pro­duc­tion is cor­re­lated with con­sump­tion dose of oleo­can­thal, olea­cein and tyrosol per mg/kg weight. Though, in Oil C both platelet aggre­ga­tion and oxylipin were sig­nif­i­cantly cor­re­lated, which was not the case with other oils and indi­cates that oleo­can­thal influ­ences platelet aggre­ga­tion more sig­nif­i­cantly than the other oils, while olea­cein appears to be a more potent effec­tor of oxylipin production. 

So, while oleo­can­thal does appear to have the great­est impact, olea­cein and tyrosol con­tribute to the effects in a less potent manner.

Previous stud­ies have shown that oleo­can­thal exhibits the same anti-inflam­ma­tory response in the body as NSAID Ibuprofen, act­ing down the exact same path­ways as a non-steroidal anti-inflam­ma­tory at approx­i­mately 10 per­cent the potency. Oleocanthal has been shown to stop the inflam­ma­tory cas­cade by inhibit­ing both COX‑1 and COX‑2 inflam­ma­tory enzymes in a dose-depen­dent manner.

But inter­est­ingly, this new study shows that the effects of EVOO on platelet aggre­ga­tion have no rela­tion to COX inhi­bi­tion, sug­gest­ing an upstream effect pos­si­bly asso­ci­ated with cal­cium mobi­liza­tion or block­ade of the phys­i­cal aggre­ga­tion process.”

The researchers sug­gest we now need fur­ther research in this area to con­firm these find­ings and con­sider time course, dose-response, and a greater vari­ety of source oils to deter­mine the opti­mal dose.”



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