The incidence of osteoporosis and associated fractures is found to be lower in countries where the Mediterranean diet is predominant. These observations might be mediated by the active constituents of olive oil and especially phenolic compounds.
Objective: To review current knowledge by searching for all relevant publications since 2001 in the MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases, using the descriptors: Mediterranean diet, virgin olive oil, phenols, bone, osteoblast and osteoporosis.
Results and conclusions: Published evidence suggests that olive oil phenols can be beneficial by preventing the loss of bone mass. It has been demonstrated that they can modulate the proliferative capacity and cell maturation of osteoblasts by increasing alkaline phosphatase activity and depositing calcium ions in the extracellular matrix. Further research on this issue is warranted, given the prevalence of osteoporosis and the few data available on the action of olive oil on bone.
Keywords: Bone tissue; extra virgin olive oil; natural phenols; osteoblast and osteoporosis.