A diet enriched with olive oil can help preserve bone strength, a new study has claimed.

Researchers from Hospital Dr. Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain found that consumption of a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil for two years is associated with increased bone formation markers, suggesting a protective effect on bone.

“The intake of olive oil has been related to the prevention of osteoporosis in experimental and in vitro models,” Jose Manuel Fernandez-Real, lead author of the study said.

“This is the first randomised study, which demonstrates that olive oil preserves bone, at least as inferred by circulating bone markers, in humans,” Jose said in a statement.

The participants in this study were 127 community-dwelling men aged 55 to 80 years randomly selected from one of the Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED) study centres, who had at least two years of follow-up.

Participants were randomly assigned to three intervention groups: Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts, Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil, and a low-fat diet.

Biochemical measurements of osteocalcin, glucose, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides were performed at baseline and after two year follow-up on fasting blood samples.

Researchers found that only consumption of the Mediterranean diet with olive oil was associated with a significant increase in the concentrations of total osteocalcin and other bone formation markers.

There were also no significant changes in serum calcium in subjects taking olive oil whereas serum calcium decreased significantly in the other two groups.

The study will be published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).

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