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Atherosclerosis. 1996 Feb;120(1-2):15-23.

Dietary non-tocopherol antioxidants present in extra virgin olive oil increase the resistance of low density lipoproteins to oxidation in rabbits.

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Unilever Research Laboratory, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.


Consumption of a range of dietary antioxidants may be beneficial in protecting low density lipoprotein (LDL) against oxidative modification, as studies have demonstrated that antioxidants other than vitamin E may also function against oxidation of LDL in vitro. In the present study, the effect of polyphenol antioxidants on the susceptibility of LDL to copper-mediated oxidation was investigated after feeding semi-purified diets to 3 groups of New Zealand white (NZW) rabbits. All diets comprised 40% energy as fat with 17% energy as oleic acid. Dietary fatty acid compositions were identical. Oils with different polyphenol contents were used to provide the dietary source of oleic acid-refined olive oil, extra virgin olive oil and Trisun high oleic sunflower seed oil. Polyphenolic compounds (hydroxytyrosol and p-tyrosol) could only be detected in the extra virgin olive oil. Vitamin E was equalised in all diets. LDL oxidizability in vitro was determined by continuously monitoring the copper-induced formation of conjugated dienes after 6 weeks of experimental diet feeding. The lag phase before demonstrable oxidation occurred was significantly increased in the high polyphenol, extra virgin olive oil group (P < 0.05) when compared with combined results from the low polyphenol group (refined olive oil and Trisun), even though the LDL vitamin E concentration in the high polyphenol group was significantly lower. The rate of conjugated diene formation was not influenced by the presence of dietary polyphenols. Results demonstrate that antioxidants, possibly phenolic compounds which are present only in extra virgin olive oil, may contribute to the endogenous antioxidant capacity of LDL, resulting in an increased resistance to oxidation as determined in vitro.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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