Olive Oil Reduces Cardiovascular Problems Associated with Diabetes

A phenolic compound found naturally in olive oil reduces and may even prevent cardiovascular problems associated with diabetes mellitus, according to a new study by a group of Spanish researchers.

Dec. 31, 2016
By Malena Mangas

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Tak­ing three table­spoons of vir­gin olive oil a day reduces the car­dio­vas­cu­lar prob­lems asso­ci­ated with dia­betes, accord­ing to a study by a group of researchers from the Insti­tute of Bio­med­ical Research of Malaga (IBIMA) recently pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Nutri­tional Bio­chem­istry.

The study found that tak­ing small doses of hydrox­y­ty­rosol usu­ally decreases, and may even pre­vent, vas­cu­lar inflam­ma­tion or vas­cu­lopa­thy asso­ci­ated with dia­betes mel­li­tus. Hydrox­y­ty­rosol is a type of phe­no­lic com­pound with high antiox­i­dant capac­ity found nat­u­rally in olives and olive oil.

Dia­betes-related vas­cu­lar dis­eases are char­ac­ter­ized by a decrease in two vasodila­tor sub­stances: nitric oxide and prosta­cy­clin, which favors nar­row­ing of blood ves­sels and pre­vents nor­mal blood cir­cu­la­tion, lead­ing to dete­ri­o­ra­tion of the organic tis­sue in the body.

The researchers found that con­sump­tion of 0.5 to 2.5 mil­ligrams of hydrox­y­ty­rosol daily is suf­fi­cient to pro­duce an anti-inflam­ma­tory effect at the vas­cu­lar level and coun­ter­act this nar­row­ing of blood ves­sels.

The key to less­en­ing or pre­vent­ing the occur­rence of dia­betic vas­cu­lar dis­ease is to apply this com­po­nent since the pathol­ogy is diag­nosed, because the ques­tion is not to revert the symp­toms once they are there, but to reduce and to slow down their pro­gres­sion,” Jose Anto­nio Gon­za­lez-Cor­rea, one of the researchers respon­si­ble for the study at the Uni­ver­sity of Malaga, explained to the Fun­da­cion Des­cubre, the Andalu­sian sci­en­tific dis­sem­i­na­tion entity that dis­closed the dis­cov­ery in Spain.


A sim­ple way to incor­po­rate it and enjoy its ben­e­fi­cial effects is to take between 30 and 40 ml of extra vir­gin olive oil daily, always raw, which is equiv­a­lent to about three table­spoons of extra vir­gin olive oil.

A deter­rent against vas­cu­lar dis­ease

The main objec­tive of the inves­ti­ga­tion was to deter­mine how hydrox­y­ty­rosol acts on bio­mark­ers of car­dio­vas­cu­lar inflam­ma­tion. Specif­i­cally, those related to the processes of oxida­tive dam­age asso­ci­ated with tox­i­c­ity or cell death and involved in dia­betic vas­cu­lopa­thy and blood ves­sel dis­ease have been stud­ied,” Gon­za­lez-Cor­rea said.

The IBIMA researchers com­pared the effects of hydrox­y­ty­rosol on seven groups of ten rats: one healthy (the con­trol), one dia­betic ani­mal given a saline solu­tion, and five other groups of dia­betic rats given dif­fer­ent amounts of this polyphe­nol.

The results of the tests indi­cated that in the group of dia­betic rats to which hydrox­y­ty­rosol had not been admin­is­tered, the bio­mark­ers related to vas­cu­lar dis­ease increased and two vasodila­tors, nitric oxide and prosta­cy­clin, were reduced. This caused the blood ves­sels to nar­row to the point of pre­vent­ing or hin­der­ing blood flow, which dete­ri­o­rates and even causes the death of organic tis­sues. In con­trast, in the ani­mals given the polyphe­nol, the effect was the oppo­site.

Pre­vi­ous research had already demon­strated the ben­e­fits of hydrox­y­ty­rosol and its anti-inflam­ma­tory and anti-infec­tive prop­er­ties that reduce the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease or pre­vent the onset of cer­tain types of can­cer.

The Inter­na­tional Dia­betes Fed­er­a­tion esti­mates that dia­betes mel­li­tus is one of the most wide­spread dis­eases in the world, affect­ing 387 mil­lion peo­ple, 8.3 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion. When inad­e­quately treated and insuf­fi­cient or exces­sive lev­els of glu­cose in the blood are main­tained for a long time, it can affect blood ves­sels.

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