Olive Oil Polyphenols Decrease LDL Concentrations and LDL Atherogenicity in Men in a Randomized Controlled Trial

J Nutr. 2015 Aug;145(8):1692-7. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.211557. Epub 2015 Jul 1.


Background: Olive oil polyphenols have shown protective effects on cardiovascular risk factors. Their consumption decreased oxidative stress biomarkers and improved some features of the lipid profile. However, their effects on LDL concentrations in plasma and LDL atherogenicity have not yet been elucidated.

Objective: Our objective was to assess whether the consumption of olive oil polyphenols could decrease LDL concentrations [measured as apolipoprotein B-100 (apo B-100) concentrations and the total number of LDL particles] and atherogenicity (the number of small LDL particles and LDL oxidizability) in humans.

Methods: The study was a randomized, cross-over controlled trial in 25 healthy European men, aged 20-59 y, in the context of the EUROLIVE (Effect of Olive Oil Consumption on Oxidative Damage in European Populations) study. Volunteers ingested 25 mL/d raw low-polyphenol-content olive oil (LPCOO; 366 mg/kg) or high-polyphenol-content olive oil (HPCOO; 2.7 mg/kg) for 3 wk. Interventions were preceded by 2-wk washout periods. Effects of olive oil polyphenols on plasma LDL concentrations and atherogenicity were determined in the sample of 25 men. Effects on lipoprotein lipase (LPL) gene expression were assessed in another sample of 18 men from the EUROLIVE study.

Results: Plasma apo B-100 concentrations and the number of total and small LDL particles decreased (mean ± SD: by 5.94% ± 16.6%, 11.9% ± 12.0%, and 15.3% ± 35.1%, respectively) from baseline after the HPCOO intervention. These changes differed significantly from those after the LPCOO intervention, which resulted in significant increases of 6.39% ± 16.6%, 4.73% ± 22.0%, and 13.6% ± 36.4% from baseline (P < 0.03). LDL oxidation lag time increased by 5.0% ± 10.3% from baseline after the HPCOO intervention, which was significantly different only relative to preintervention values (P = 0.038). LPL gene expression tended to increase by 26% from baseline after the HPCOO intervention (P = 0.08) and did not change after the LPCOO intervention.

Conclusion: The consumption of olive oil polyphenols decreased plasma LDL concentrations and LDL atherogenicity in healthy young men. This trial was registered at www.controlled-trials.com as ISRCTN09220811.

Keywords: LDL oxidation; LDL particle number; apolipoprotein B-100; healthy individuals; lipoprotein lipase; low-density lipoproteins; olive oil polyphenols; randomized clinical trial; small LDL particles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Polyphenols / chemistry
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*
  • Young Adult


  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Polyphenols

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN09220811