`Olive Oil May Affect How Genes Function


Olive Oil May Affect How Genes Function

Feb. 4, 2013
By Elena Paravantes

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A new Span­ish study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Nutri­tional Bio­chem­istry shows that olive oil con­sump­tion may change the way genes func­tion, reduc­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk.

It is known that oleic acid, a fatty acid present in olive oil, and polyphe­nols may be able to raise high den­sity cho­les­terol (HDL) also known as the good cho­les­terol,” because it car­ries cho­les­terol away from the arter­ies back to the liver.

For this study the researchers of the Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Risk and Nutri­tion Research Group, Research Insti­tute Hos­pi­tal del Mar in Barcelona, wanted to find out if olive oil polyphe­nols could affect the response of genes in rela­tion to HDL, more specif­i­cally in rela­tion to cho­les­terol efflux. Cho­les­terol efflux capac­ity is a direct mea­sure of the effi­ciency by which HDL removes cho­les­terol from cells on the artery walls, and it appears that ele­vated efflux capac­ity can reduce the risk of coro­nary artery dis­ease.

In this ran­dom­ized, con­trolled trial, the researchers assigned 13 pre/hypertensive patients to 2 groups. The first group received 30 ml (2 table­spoons) of olive oil with high polyphe­nol con­tent and the sec­ond group received an olive oil with mod­er­ate polyphe­nol con­tent. Analy­sis of sev­eral mea­sures showed that there was a sig­nif­i­cant effect of olive oil polyphe­nols (from the polyphe­nol rich olive oil) in increas­ing the response of cer­tain genes involved in cho­les­terol efflux from HDL. In other words, the con­sump­tion of polyphe­nol rich olive oil may have a pos­i­tive effect on the genes involved in reduc­ing cir­cu­lat­ing cho­les­terol and thus reduc­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk.


The results of this study back up results of pre­vi­ous stud­ies from the same research group that showed that polyphe­nol rich olive oil and the Mediter­ranean diet reduced the response of genes pro­mot­ing buildup of plaque in the arter­ies.

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