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Atherosclerosis. 2005 Jul;181(1):149-58. Epub 2005 Feb 12.

Antioxidant effect of virgin olive oil in patients with stable coronary heart disease: a randomized, crossover, controlled, clinical trial.

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Unitat de Lípids i Epidemiologia Cardiovascular, Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica (IMIM), Carrer Doctor Aiguader, Barcelona, Spain.


The Mediterranean diet, in which olive oil is the main source of fat, has been associated with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) and low blood pressure levels. Virgin olive oil (VOO), besides containing monounsaturated fat, is rich in phenolic compounds (PC) with antioxidant properties. The aim of this study was to examine the antioxidant and anti-hypertensive effect of two similar olive oils, but with differences in their PC (refined: 14.7 mg/kg versus virgin: 161.0 mg/kg), in 40 males with stable CHD. The study was a placebo controlled, crossover, randomized trial. A raw daily dose of 50 mL of VOO and refined olive oil (ROO) were sequentially administered over two periods of 3 weeks, preceded by 2-week washout periods in which ROO was used. Lower plasma oxidized LDL (p < 0.001) and lipid peroxide levels (p = 0.003), together with higher activities of glutathione peroxidase (p = 0.033), were observed after VOO intervention. Systolic blood pressure decreased after intake of VOO (p = 0.001) in hypertensive patients. No changes were observed in diastolic blood pressure, glucose, lipids, and antibodies against oxidized LDL. Consumption of VOO, rich in PC, could provide beneficial effects in CHD patients as an additional and complementary intervention to the pharmacological treatment.

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