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Olive Oil benefits for The Intestine

Benefits of a Diet Enriched with Virgin Olive Oil for The Intestine

Scientists from the University of Jaen (UJA) have shown the benefits of a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as a modulator of the intestinal microbiota, compared to the effects of a diet enriched in butter, which develops to a greater extent factors involved in the metabolic syndrome.

The study, conducted in mice and published in PubMed , arises from previous work on the comparison of olive oil and other fats to analyze their differential role in the development of obesity and hypertension, two of the factors linked to the syndrome metabolic.

“In our previous studies, the most marked differences with EVOO – a fat of vegetable origin, monounsaturated and with a high level of polyphenols – were presented by butter – a saturated fat of animal origin that contains cholesterol -“, he argues as the main reason for choose the butter Isabel Prieto, head of the Neuroendocrinology and Nutrition group at the UJA.

According to this study, butter increases the number of intestinal proteobacteria, which is related to an increase in blood insulin and blood pressure

In addition, as Magdalena Martínez Cañamero, another of the authors, points out, “there is the added social issue of the types of pathologies present in Central Europe, where butter has been the fat used par excellence for cooking, and in the Mediterranean area, where the EVOO habitually used for that purpose “.

“Until now, it was not thought that olive oil could have an effect different from other fats on the gut microbiota, the set of microorganisms that reside in the intestine,” explains Magdalena Martínez Cañamero. In that sense, he points out that “from the perspective of nutrition and physiology this is relevant because the general idea was that diets high in any type of fat were bad for the intestinal microbiota.”

The mouse sample was divided into three groups, two of them were fed a diet enriched in EVOO or a diet enriched in butter (groups with high-fat diets) and the third one fed a standard diet for laboratory animals. From each of the animals, we obtained data on the bacteria present in their intestines. The profiles of the intestinal microbiota were related to the different physiological parameters used as indicators of the development of metabolic syndrome.

Microbial changes

The results suggest that butter increases the number of intestinal proteobacteria, and this is related to an increase in blood insulin and blood pressure, physiological parameters linked to the development of the metabolic syndrome. With EVOO, despite being a high-fat diet, these microbial changes did not occur and a lower increase in body weight and blood pressure was detected, together with a better blood lipid profile.

“We have confirmed that butter behaves like high-fat diets that have traditionally been considered harmful to the intestinal microbiota, while EVOO does not behave in the same way,” says Martínez Cañamero. “For the first time it is observed that there are certain bacterial groups that increase in these diets. A diet enriched in butter would favor its appearance, while a diet rich in EVOO or the standard diet, in general, would not, “he says.

For its part, Isabel Prieto concludes that “this finding is very important because diet is not given the importance it has as a modulator of the intestinal microbiota, since through our diet we can modify it to have a positive impact on our Health”.

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