How the Combination of Olive Oil and Sleep Can Prevent Cardiovascular Events

Canadian scientists discovered olive oil helps protect against the platelet aggregation that leads to heart attacks and strokes.

By Mary West
Sep. 25, 2018 08:41 UTC

New research has revealed why foods rich in unsat­u­rated fats like olive oil help pro­tect from car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease. It found they pro­mote higher lev­els of a pro­tein that pre­vents the for­ma­tion of blood clots.

Apolipoprotein A‑IV, known as ApoA-IV, is a plasma pro­tein that increases after diges­tion of foods, espe­cially those rich in unsat­u­rated fats. Research links higher lev­els of ApoA-IV to a lower inci­dence of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.
See Also:Olive Oil Health Benefits

The new study from Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science (KRCBS) of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto showed that ApoA-IV inhibits the aggre­ga­tion of platelets, com­po­nents of the blood that can clump together and form clots within arter­ies. Such clots obstruct blood flow and are the most com­mon cause of death.

Platelet aggre­ga­tion can save lives because it can stop bleed­ing in dam­aged ves­sels,” said prin­ci­pal inves­ti­ga­tor Heyu Ni, Platform Director for Hematology, Cancer and Immunological Diseases at KRCBS. But we usu­ally don’t want platelets to block blood flow in the ves­sels. This is throm­bo­sis, and if ves­sel occlu­sion occurs in the heart or brain, it can cause heart attack, stroke or death.”

For a blood clot to develop, a series of con­nec­tions must hap­pen. A platelet recep­tor con­nected to a platelet first bind to fib­rino­gen, an abun­dant pro­tein in blood plasma. Next, fib­rino­gen binds to another recep­tor on a sec­ond platelet. Afterward, fib­rino­gen and pos­si­bly other pro­teins allow platelets to con­nect to each other, a process that cul­mi­nates in platelet aggre­ga­tion.

In the study, Ni and his col­leagues found ApoA-IV can con­nect to platelet recep­tors, thus block­ing fib­rino­gen bind­ing and reduc­ing platelet aggre­ga­tion in a blood ves­sel. Moreover, the team noted that ApoA-IV can alter its shape to accom­mo­date increased blood flow: this action helps pro­tect arter­ies from com­plete block­ages.

This is the first study to link ApoA-IV with platelets and throm­bo­sis,” Ni said. With this work, we have also explained why higher lev­els of ApoA-IV can slow down plaque build-up in blood ves­sels, known as ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis because this process is also related to platelet func­tion.”

The researchers also inves­ti­gated ApoA-IV’s inter­ac­tion with food. Eating a meal stim­u­lates platelets, which increases the like­li­hood that they’ll bind to each other or to white blood cells. However, after eat­ing a meal con­tain­ing unsat­u­rated fats, blood lev­els of ApoA-IV increase almost imme­di­ately, an effect that reduces platelet bond­ing. This decreases inflam­ma­tion that fol­lows a meal, along with the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

In addi­tion to the above find­ings, the research team observed that ApoA-IV oper­ates within a cir­ca­dian rhythm. It’s more active at night and less active in the morn­ing.

Mother Nature wants us to sleep well,” Ni said. So we are pro­tected by this pro­tein while we sleep, and most likely to expe­ri­ence a car­dio­vas­cu­lar event after wak­ing up in the morn­ing.”

Callie Exas, a reg­is­tered dieti­cian nutri­tion­ist from Brooklyn, New York, explained to Olive Oil Times how the new find­ings build on ear­lier research. Clearly, olive oil, espe­cially extra vir­gin, is of con­sid­er­able value for heart health.

Studies show olive oil’s con­tent of monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids and antiox­i­dants pre­vent blood ves­sels from hard­en­ing,” she said.

Basically, these com­po­nents reduce the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar events by keep­ing the endothe­lial cells lin­ing the blood ves­sels and the heart sup­ple. In doing so, they pro­tect from wear and tear, which reduces the buildup of oxida­tive mate­ri­als and plaque in the arter­ies. These actions, as well as the platelet-inhibit­ing effect, help keep arter­ies and heart tis­sue healthy.”

The study gen­er­ated excite­ment among the researchers because it showed that foods rich in unsat­u­rated fats, together with good sleep pat­terns, max­i­mize the oppor­tu­nity for ApoA-IV to reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke and ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis.

Ni looks for­ward to future stud­ies to explore how to har­ness this pro­tec­tion in devel­op­ing treat­ment for car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and other con­di­tions asso­ci­ated with platelet aggre­ga­tion. The results were pub­lished in the jour­nal Nature Communications.


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