Extra-virgin olive oil reduces osteoporosis-related fracture risk

Adherence to a traditional Mediterranean diet has been associated with a lower risk of hip fracture

Olive oil is one of the primary fats consumed in the Mediterranean diet, and its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols may partly explain the beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet on bone health.

In a 2017 study published by García-Gavilán, et al. in Clinical Nutrition, researchers examined the association between the amount of olive oil consumed and the risk of osteoporotic factures in adults.

Data were sourced from a subset of participants enrolled in the PREDIMED trial.

The PREDIMED trial was a large, multicentre, randomised controlled trial that evaluated the effect of the Mediterranean diet on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Spain.

Participants were assigned to one of three dietary interventions: the Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO); the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts; or a low-fat control diet.

Osteoporotic fractures were assessed in only a sub-cohort of patients in the PREDIMED trial.

In the sub-cohort of 870 participants (aged 55-80 years), there were 114 incident cases of osteoporosis-related fractures during a median follow-up of 8.9 years.

There were no significant differences in the risk of fractures between the three dietary intervention groups.

Data from food frequency questionnaires were then used to categorise study participants into tertiles of total olive oil, common refined olive oil, and EVOO consumption.

These data revealed a 51% reduced risk of osteoporosis-related fractures in individuals in the highest tertile of EVOO consumption compared with the lowest tertile (hazards ratio = 0.49; 95% CI, 0.29-0.81).

The authors of this study conclude that higher consumption of EVOO reduces the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures in an older Mediterranean population.