Olive oil and Olive Oyl…

Olive oyl_iStock_000019804004XSmallRecently I read a study that showed how a Mediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil supports bone health. The results are very interesting to me because researchers looked at three different types of diets:

• the Mediterranean diet including olive oil

• a low-fat diet

• the Mediterranean diet without olive oil but with nuts

Of these three diets (all of which might appear to be reasonably healthy to most people), the diet including substantial supplemental of 3.5 tablespoons of olive oil was associated with increased serum osteocalcin which suggests a protective effect on bone.

And what is the bone building magic of olive oil? It looks like that substance is Oleuropein, a polyphenol found in products from olive trees – including olive oil. Oleuropein stimulates the osteoblast cells responsible for bone formation to prevent age-related bone loss and osteoporosis.

And then, my mind couldn’t help but jump to another Olive Oyl – Popeye’s fickle girlfriend from the favorite cartoon. I’ve confessed in a previous blog that I have a “monkey mind” that tends to detour from one subject to another loosely making connections — I think they call it “stream of consciousness.” So where did my mind take the combo of olive oil, Olive Oyl and bone health?

In this case, I remembered — as you might too — that Olive Oyl has an extremely tall and thin build, and I couldn’t help but notice that she’s the kind of woman who is much more likely to be susceptible to bone loss. And the fact that she’s often angry or anxious about Popeye’s antics surely doesn’t help protect her bones. My mind then skipped to Popeye. While everyone knows he has impressive muscles because of his love for spinach, what else is he eating? Is he varying his diet enough to ensure he gets enough of the 20 key bone building nutrients?

As you can see, even with my “monkey mind,” I never stray too far from thinking about bone health!



Fernández-Real JM, Bulló M, Moreno-Navarrete JM, Ricart W, Ros E, Estruch R, Salas-Salvadó J.(2012) A Mediterranean Diet Enriched with Olive Oil Is Associated with Higher Serum Total Osteocalcin Levels in Elderly Men at High Cardiovascular Risk. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Aug 1. [Epub ahead of print] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22855341 (accessed 09.19.12)

Santiago-Mora R, Casado-Díaz A, De Castro MD, Quesada-Gómez JM. 2010. Oleuropein enhances osteoblastogenesis and inhibits adipogenesis: the effect on differentiation in stem cells derived from bone marrow. Osteoporos Int. 2011 Feb;22(2):675-84. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20495905 (accessed 09.19.12)


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