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Br J Nutr. 2007 Dec;98(6):1243-50. Epub 2007 Jul 9.

Changes in the phenolic content of low density lipoprotein after olive oil consumption in men. A randomized crossover controlled trial.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Reference Center in Food Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona. Avda. Joan XXIII s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.


Olive oil decreases the risk of CVD. This effect may be due to the fatty acid profile of the oil, but it may also be due to its antioxidant content which differs depending on the type of olive oil. In this study, the concentrations of oleic acid and antioxidants (phenolic compounds and vitamin E) in plasma and LDL were compared after consumption of three similar olive oils, but with differences in their phenolic content. Thirty healthy volunteers participated in a placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover, randomized supplementation trial. Virgin, common, and refined olive oils were administered during three periods of 3 weeks separated by a 2-week washout period. Participants were requested to ingest a daily dose of 25 ml raw olive oil, distributed over the three meals of the day, during intervention periods. All three olive oils caused an increase in plasma and LDL oleic acid (P < 0.05) content. Olive oils rich in phenolic compounds led to an increase in phenolic compounds in LDL (P < 0.005). The concentration of phenolic compounds in LDL was directly correlated with the phenolic concentration in the olive oils. The increase in the phenolic content of LDL could account for the increase of the resistance of LDL to oxidation, and the decrease of the in vivo oxidized LDL, observed in the frame of this trial. Our results support the hypothesis that a daily intake of virgin olive oil promotes protective LDL changes ahead of its oxidation.

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