Olive Oil instead of Statins

I saw on the programme 'Trust me I'm a Doctor' Series 4: Episode 3 that taking 20ml of raw/cold olive oil per day brings cholesterol down and improves heart health as a whole, protecting from stroke/heart attack. [It's still available on bbc iplayer]. Michael Mosely and the other doctors actually did a clinical trial with olive oil. Extra Virgin olive oil and bog standard olive oil had same results! They did the same clinical trials with other vegetable oils with no result. Only olive oil was found to have this effect of lowering cholesterol and improving heart health! Sounds like a safer treatment than statins. Check it out and tell me what you think?

17 Replies

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  • Very interesting program. I guess this needs to be combined with a healthy diet for maximum benefit.

  • Hi Penel,

    thanks for checking out the programme and replying. About your suggestion that the 20ml daily dose of uncooked olive oil probably 'needs to be combined with a healthy diet for maximum benefit'. I looked into it a bit more. If you go to the programme web-site, look at the section 'Issues Covered in the Programme' go down the alphabetical list, and click on the heading, 'Is olive oil really good for me?' in a written description of the findings of the research into olive oil you'll find the following quote,

    ''Olive oil has long been suspected to be one of the keys to the so-called ‘French paradox’. Despite the fact that the French smoke more than us, and eat the same high levels of saturated fat, they live longer than us and have low levels of coronary heart disease''. The ‘Mediterranean Diet’ is one popular explanation – and one part of that is a lot of olive oil'. So looks like there is still a benefit even with a less than healthy diet. but you're right in that it makes sense not to eat lots of saturated fat as taking the olive oil would be a 'one step forward, two steps backward' process.

    Of course the downside of the olive oil is that it is very high in calories and not exactly pleasant to take. At least not for me! I still think it would be safer than statins, if i could be sure that it would really work.

  • "not exactly pleasant to take" - I've seen this a few times and don't really understand how anyone can not love a salad drizzled with plenty of olive oil, or bread dipped in oil+vinegar!

    I agree that it's calorie-dense but I'm borderline-underweight since switching to a diet with less saturated fat so that doesn't seem like a problem!

  • Hi DakCB-UK. thanks for the tip! I found mixing it with vinegar definitely made it more palatable for me.

  • Be very careful mixing with vinegar as the acidity of the vinegar is contraindicated for any inflammatory conditions who should avoid all acidic foods, I tend to avoid using vinegar except very occasional, good quality balsamic - just has more intense flavour so only use a drop.

    I tend to use finely chopped herbs to give flavour but you can also infuse oils with herbs or garlic or chillies by putting them in the bottle of oil and placing in a sunny place on a window sill for a few days.

  • Thanks for your advice. I'm a bit lazy so I'm heading off to buy olive oil already infused with chilli from my local supermarket. I should have got that in the first place! Thanks again.

  • I love olive oil and olives, so this would the ideal solution for me.

    But why not make it into a salad dressing? You've then got the perfect LCHF meal.

  • I think you would enjoy this: Marks and Spencer'c 'Black olive Tapenade'! It's made with black olives in extra Virgin olive oil! Yummy. Contains anchovies. healthy too but of course a problem for veggies.

  • I think you would enjoy this: Marks and Spencer'c 'Black olive Tapenade'! It's made with black olives in extra Virgin olive oil! Yummy. Contains anchovies. healthy too but of course a problem for veggies.

  • I think that you have made a link between olive oil and cholesterol which was not made in the program, the link was between olive oil and proteins in the urine which indicated heart health. Here is an extract from the website - "One of the big problems in trying to pin down particular factors that influence diseases like heart disease is that they take years, or decades, to develop and so it is difficult to do an experiment in which you give one group of people a food and deprive another group and measure the effects. Studies instead tend to be either looking for associations between health outcomes and certain habitual diets (in which case it’s difficult to separate out the effects of individual components of the diet), or looking at things that change more quickly – such as cholesterol levels – which are themselves thought to be associated with disease.

    However, a team at the University of Glasgow have developed a new way of measuring subtle changes in heart health that can happen over only a few weeks, by looking at changes in the patterns of proteins excreted in peoples’ urine: a technique known as proteomics. The changes they are measuring are of the disease itself, which they can pick up before there are any physical symptoms — so it is far more accurate a method than measuring something that is just supposed to be associated with the disease, such as cholesterol levels."

  • Hi Kasibarndoor,

    Thanks for your comment. However if you continue with the text of the article 'Is olive oil really good for me? below your quote; see quote from it below:

    ''The results

    The average measure of coronary artery disease for both groups fell significantly at both 3 weeks, and again at 6 weeks after taking the olive oil.

    The fall in heart disease markers seen in volunteers taking extra virgin olive oil (red) and ‘normal’ olive oil (green) over 6 weeks. (The CAD score is a score of coronary artery disease where -1 is completely healthy and 1 is symptomatic disease)''.

    ''Conclusions

    In this experiment, it seems that taking 20ml of raw olive oil – either extra virgin or ‘normal’ – can have a positive effect on our hearts''.

    The CAD score [Coronary artery disease score] which they also refer to as ''heart disease markers'' [which fell for both groups; those on Extra Virgin and bog standard olive oil] includes cholesterol levels as well as blood pressure measurements. There are articles about the CAD score on the internet.

    The other point I want to make is that surely the reason we are concerned about our cholesterol levels is that high cholesterol increases our risk of developing Coronary artery disease, and this article claims that taking 20ml of raw olive oil daily caused the 'average measure of coronary artery disease' or CAD score [which includes Cholesterol levels] of those taking part to fall significantly, which is what those of us with high cholesterol levels want to achieve. It's also the same result that taking statins is claimed to achieve.

  • Hi makeiteasy4me,

    Thanks for the heads up on the programme. The Glasgow scientist's work is fascinating, but I'm surprised the outcomes haven't been more widely reported.

    For my beans on toast this morning I swopped butter for olive oil on my toast and found it very enjoyable and something I will continue to do.

    Thanks again. You've helped change my diet for the better!!

    Peter

  • Hi SilverDreamMachine,

    Glad to have improved your diet in a way that is enjoyable! I hope it brings your cholesterol down too!

    You're not the only who would like more reporting on tis research. see below an extract from the Article;

    New perspectives on bioactivity of olive oil: Evidence from animal models, human interventions and the use of urinary proteomic biomarkers

    ''Abstract

    Olive oil (OO) is the primary source of fat in the Mediterranean diet

    and has been associated with longevity and a lower incidence of chronic diseases, particularly coronary heart disease.

    Cardioprotective effects of OO consumption have been widely related with

    improved lipoprotein profile, endothelial function and inflammation, linked to

    health claims of oleic acid and phenolic content of OO. With cardiovascular disease being a leading cause of death worldwide, a review of the potential mechanisms underpinning the impact of OO in the prevention of disease is warranted''.

    The article looks a bit too academic. I've downloaded it but not read it yet. I reached it by going to the 'Issues Covered On The Programme' page, clicking on ''Is olive oil really good for me?'' and then clicking on '' Report of this study in academic journal'' under the heading 'Related Links' at the bottom right-hand of the page.

    There's another article on the web-site about the positive effects of Olive Oil [in this case specifically Virgin Olive Oil] on Blood pressure, similarly academic;

    Article; Virgin Olive Oil and Hypertension

    Current Vascular Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.97). 01/2016; 14(999). DOI: 10.2174/1570161114666160118105137

    ABSTRACT

    The incidence of high blood pressure (BP) along with other cardiovascular (CV) risk factors on human health has been studied for many years. These studies have proven a link between unhealthy dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle with the onset of hypertension, which is a hallmark of CV and cerebrovascular diseases. The Mediterranean diet, declared by the UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2013, is rich in vegetables, legumes, fruits and virgin olive oil. Thanks to its many beneficial effects, including those with regard to lowering BP, the Mediterranean diet may help people from modern countries to achieve a lower occurrence of CV disease. Data from human and animal studies have shown that the consumption of virgin olive oil shares most of the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet. Virgin olive oil is the only edible fat that can be consumed as a natural fruit product with no additives or preservatives, and contains a unique constellation of bioactive entities, namely oleic acid and minor constituents. In this review, we summarize what is known about the effects of virgin olive oil on hypertension.

    Virgin Olive Oil and Hypertension. Available from: researchgate.net/publicatio... [accessed Feb 1, 2016].

    So the research on olive oil is looking good! So I'm going to copy you and have it on my toast! Good luck.

  • Dr Aseem Malhotra (a cardiologist) has also written and spoken about the health benefits of using olive oil, and butter, some time ago. He got a lot of flak for it.

    It seems it may have health benefits beyond the heart. This is a general item on the subject, although the writer seem to think that you need 'extra virgin'. I think it was written before the most recent research.

    authoritynutrition.com/extr...

  • Thanks for that. Great article! I checked out the Doctor. see below:

    ''Aseem Malhotra From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Dr Aseem Malhotra is a cardiologist at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and consultant clinical associate to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

    He is an active member of Action On Sugar. He has been particularly prominent in attacking the "myth" that saturated fat must be removed from the diet to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. He denounces what he calls the government’s "obsession" with levels of total cholesterol, which, he says, has led to the overmedication of millions of people with statins, and has diverted attention from the "more egregious" risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia. He directs his attention to the effects of sugar and in particular on its hypothesised role in diabetes.[1] He advocates a 20% sugary drinks tax, which, he claims, would reduce the number of people in the UK becoming obese by 180,000 within a year.[2] According to Malhotra, the public wrongly believe that obesity is due to a sedentary lifestyle, when the blame for the rise in obesity should be directed towards the type and amount of calories consumed.[3]

    He believes that over-diagnosis and over-treatment is “the greatest threat to our healthcare system”.[4] He says that in the UK at least £2bn is wasted each year on unnecessary tests and treatment.[5]''

    He is controversial but certainly has a good position in the medical establishment and reliable qualifications, so his ideas are worth considering.

  • Sorry to disappoint everyone, including myself, who has been enjoying guilt free olive oil consumption. Latest research says olive oil not good after all, oleic acid is bad, we need linoleic acid found in Grapeseed oil. It really is becoming absurd.

  • Have you got a link to the grape seed oil research? If it's made by the intensive chemical / filtration process that some other vegetable oils go through, I wouldn't touch it.

    This is one article on the subject, hope it's more useful than confusing!

    authoritynutrition.com/grap...

    I'm sticking with the olive oil.

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