` New Research Shows Olive Oil, Virgin or Not, Can Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

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New Research Shows Olive Oil, Virgin or Not, Can Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

Feb. 1, 2016
By Alice Alech

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Researchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Glas­gow have devel­oped a new way of mea­sur­ing sub­tle changes in heart health over just a few weeks by look­ing at study­ing pro­tein pat­terns in urine, a method known as pro­teomics.

The results of their study showed a marked change in the pro­tein pat­tern of those who were given extra vir­gin olive oil and con­ven­tional olive oil asso­ci­ated with sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments in the bio­mark­ers for coro­nary heart dis­eases (CAD), the most com­mon heart dis­ease.
See more: Olive Oil Health Ben­e­fits
Researcher William Mullen said it was the first time pro­teomics was used from a nutri­tional per­spec­tive, and that one of the aims of the research was to show which foods were respon­si­ble for health ben­e­fits. This would pro­vide more accu­rate label­ing, he said, and allow informed con­sumer choice.

The research was not based on dietary habits, where one group takes a sup­ple­ment and the other does not. Instead, the par­tic­i­pants gave urine sam­ples at the begin­ning of the study, another after three weeks, and a final one at the end of a six-week period.

The researchers chose 63 healthy vol­un­teers from Glas­gow between the ages of 18 and 75 who did not take olive oil reg­u­larly and ana­lyzed uri­nary bio­mark­ers use­ful for the detec­tion of dis­eases before dam­age starts appear­ing and a scor­ing sys­tem in a dou­ble-blind study.

Par­tic­i­pants were ran­domly divided into two groups: one group who took extra vir­gin olive oil with high phe­nols and the other group tak­ing nor­mal olive oil with lower phe­nols.

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The vol­un­teers were given 20ml of olive oil from Por­tu­gal as a daily sup­ple­ment, but the oils were not heated nor used in cook­ing. There were no dietary restric­tions; the oil was taken at any time dur­ing the day at a sin­gle intake.

At the end of the first three weeks, each urine sam­ple was again ana­lyzed and given a score for its pro­tein char­ac­ter­is­tic, fol­lowed by a cal­cu­la­tion of the aver­age heart dis­ease score. The results revealed that the aver­age mea­sure of coro­nary artery dis­ease for both groups decreased.

The researchers said that after three weeks, those on low phe­no­lic showed a decline in the score from of 0.3 while the group on the high phe­no­lic group showed 0.2. Urine analy­ses at the end of the study did not reveal any sig­nif­i­cant changes in the two groups beyond those that were mea­sured dur­ing the ini­tial 3‑week period.

The researchers con­cluded that although there was an improve­ment in scores for CAD, there was no sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion attrib­uted to olive oil phe­nols. Any olive oil, it seemed — with high phe­no­lic con­tent or low — was ben­e­fi­cial and that the fatty acids were prob­a­bly the main con­trib­u­tors to the observed effect.

Dr. Mullen said that iden­ti­fy­ing the early sig­na­tures of the dis­ease before they become a prob­lem would con­sid­er­ably reduce med­ical inter­ven­tion.



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