Background: Effects of olive oil on cardiovascular risk have been controversial. We compared the effects of high-polyphenolic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and refined olive oil without polyphenols on endothelial function (EF) in adults at risk for Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Methods: Randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover trial of 20 adults (mean age 56.1 years; 10 women, 10 men) at risk for T2DM (i.e., as defined by either prediabetes or metabolic syndrome) assigned to one of two possible sequence permutations of two different single dose treatments (50 mL of high-polyphenolic EVOO or 50 mL of refined olive oil without polyphenols), with 1-week washout. Participants received their olive oils in a smoothie consisting of ½ cup frozen blueberries and 1 cup (8 oz) low-fat vanilla yogurt blended together. Primary outcome measure was EF measured as flow-mediated dilatation. Participants were evaluated before and 2 h after ingestion of their assigned olive oil treatment.
Results: EVOO acutely improved EF as compared to refined olive oil (1.2 ± 6.5% versus -3.6 ± 3.8%; p = 0.0086). No significant effects on systolic or diastolic blood pressure were observed.
Conclusions: High-polyphenolic EVOO acutely enhanced EF in the study cohort, whereas refined olive oil did not. Blood pressure effects were not observed. Reports on the vascular effects of olive oil ingestion should specify the characteristics of the oil.
Clinical trial registration number: NCT04025281.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Endothelial function; Olive oil.
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