Researchers at the University of Glasgow have shown that olive oil exerts protective effects on the heart and circulatory system. The key has been their development of a test which can detect subtle changes in heart health over a period of only a few weeks. The new test is simple to undergo because it is based on changes in the patterns of proteins excreted in the urine.
The BBC television programme “Trust Me I’m a Doctor” exploited the new test in taking the question one step further by asking whether extra virgin olive oil was more beneficial than normal olive oil. Seventy volunteers were split into two groups, and in a double-blind trial, given either extra virgin or normal olive oil at a dose of 20ml per day for six weeks. Urine samples were taken at baseline and again at 3 and 6 weeks. Both oils proved to have a significant and equal effect on reducing markers for coronary artery disease, so the extra plant compounds present in extra virgin oil are probably not key to the cardioprotective effects.
(New perspectives on bioactivity of olive oil: Evidence from animal models, human interventions and the use of urinary proteomic biomarkers. ResearchGate, 22 July 2015.
Trust Me I’m a Doctor, BBC Website, accessed January 2016.)