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

Atherosclerosis. 2005 Jul;181(1):149-58. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2004.12.036. Epub 2005 Feb 12.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Coronary Disease / blood
  • Coronary Disease / diet therapy*
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / therapeutic use*
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / blood
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Male
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*


  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein
  • Glutathione Peroxidase