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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Dec;70(6):976-82.

Are olive oil diets antithrombotic? Diets enriched with olive, rapeseed, or sunflower oil affect postprandial factor VII differently.

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Research Department of Human Nutrition and Centre for Advanced Food Studies, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Denmark. LFL@KVL.DK



The incidence of ischemic heart disease (IHD) in Crete was lower than expected on the basis of blood lipid concentrations of participants in the Seven Countries Study. A favorable effect of a high intake of olive oil on thrombogenesis may have contributed to this finding.


We compared the effects of virgin olive oil with those of rapeseed and sunflower oils on blood coagulation factor VII (FVII), a key factor in thrombogenesis.


In a randomized and strictly controlled crossover study, 18 healthy young men consumed diets enriched with 5 g/MJ (19% of total energy) olive oil, sunflower oil, or rapeseed oil for periods of 3 wk. On the final day of each period, participants consumed standardized high-fat meals (42% of energy as fat). Fasting and nonfasting blood samples were collected after each period.


Mean (+/-SEM) nonfasting peak concentrations of activated FVII (FVIIa) were 11.3 +/- 5.1 U/L lower after olive oil than after sunflower oil, an 18% reduction (P < 0.05). Olive oil also tended to cause lower FVIIa peak concentrations than did rapeseed oil (mean difference: 8.6 U/L, a 15% reduction; P = 0.09). There were no significant differences between diets with respect to nonfasting factor VII coagulant activity (FVII:c), prothrombin fragment 1+2 (F1+2), and tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) concentrations, or with respect to fasting plasma values of FVII protein, FVII:c, FVIIa, F1+2, or TFPI.


A background diet rich in olive oil may attenuate the acute procoagulant effects of fatty meals, which might contribute to the low incidence of IHD in Mediterranean areas.

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