A report published online on August 1, 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM) describes the results of a study of the effects of a Mediterranean diet on markers of bone formation in older men. "This is the first randomized study which demonstrates that olive oil preserves bone, at least as inferred by circulating bone markers, in humans," announced lead researcher José Manuel Fernández-Real, MD, PhD, of Hospital Dr Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain.
The study included 127 men aged 55 to 80 years enrolled in the Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED) study, which was designed to evaluate the cardioprotective effect of the Mediterranean diet. Participants in the current study had type 2 diabetes or three or more cardiovascular risk factors. The subjects were randomized to consume a Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts, a Mediterranean diet enhanced with virgin olive oil or a low fat diet for two years. Circulating osteocalcin, undercarboxylated osteocalcin, C-telopeptide of type 1 collagen and procollagen I N-terminal propeptide levels were measured at the beginning and end of the study. In addition to these markers of bone formation and resorption, fasting insulin, glucose and other factors were assessed.
Men who consumed the olive-oil enriched Mediterranean diet had significant increases in total osteocalcin and procollagen I N-terminal peptide, while these values remained the same in men who consumed the other diets. Greater intake of olives was also associated with increased osteocalcin at the beginning and end of the intervention.
"The intake of olive oil has been related to the prevention of osteoporosis in experimental and in vitro models," Dr Fernández-Real noted. "It's important to note that circulating osteocalcin was associated with preserved insulin secretion in subjects taking olive oil. Osteocalcin has also been described to increase insulin secretion in experimental models."
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