Olive Oil and LDL

October 30, 2015

It amazes me that there continue to be voices proclaiming that there is no evidence that alternative medicine actually works. It is like someone standing knee deep in water shouting that there is no evidence of there being any water. Not particularly convincing.


When it comes to heart disease and the formation of plaques in arteries, two of the most important labs to monitor are called small dense LDL (sdLDL) particles, and apoB 100. The sdLDL particles carry cholesterol into the artery walls, where immune cells strip them of their cholesterol. That seems like a good thing, except that this is an inflammatory process in the artery wall that can lead to formation of plaques that block the artery.


ApoB 100 is a component of the LDL particle, and it helps the LDL penetrate the vessel wall.


In a recently published study, 25 healthy men were given olive oil daily for just 3 weeks. Even in that short time, total LDL, sdLDL and apoB 100 all dropped significantly. The supplemental olive oil increased expression of a gene that is involved in LDL degradation.


Annual sales of statin drugs, given to lower total and LDL cholesterol, now approaches $40 billion. There is very good reason to think that using statins to lower cholesterol is a poor choice (the linked article is long and somewhat technical, but important). This recent study is just one more bit of evidence that a "therapy" as simple as 25mL/day of a high-polyphenol olive oil can significantly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.


If your doctor recommends a statin either to treat or to prevent a heart attack, please talk with someone familiar with nutrient and nutritional therapies that avoid the risks associated with taking statins. There are better ways to regulate your cholesterol, and can taste a whole lot better on a salad than a statin.



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