Background and aim: Due to its high antioxidant and mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acid content virgin argan oil (VAO) could play a beneficial role in cardiovascular prevention. We were therefore interested in determining whether the consumption of VAO could improve plasma paraoxonase (PON1) activities and antioxidant status in healthy men.
Methods and results: Sixty young men were included in this interventional study. They were given a controlled diet for 2 weeks as baseline and then received 25 g/day of butter. The group was randomised to two diet group periods of 3 weeks each. The VAO group received 25 ml/day of oil and the extra virgin olive oil (EVO) group received the same quantity of EVO as control group. Plasma PON1 activities, antioxidant vitamins and LDL susceptibility to oxidation were measured. The analysis of the results shows that PON1 activities increase significantly in both groups and that lipoperoxides and conjugated dienes formation decreases significantly in VAO and EVO groups compared to baseline values (P=0.001 and P=0.014, respectively). Vitamin E concentration increases significantly only in VAO group (P=0.007). Susceptibility of LDL to lipid peroxidation shows a significant increase in lag phase and a significant decrease in maximum diene production in VAO (P=0.005) and EVO groups (P=0.041 and P=0.005, respectively).
Conclusions: Our findings confirm the beneficial effect of EVO on plasma antioxidant status and show for the first time the same effect for VAO supplementation in man. Thus, VAO offers an additional natural food supplement to reduce cardiovascular risk.