Olive oil preserves bone density because it increases essential bone hormone osteocalin concentrations and maintains blood calcium levels; it also maintains insulin levels in people with diabetes.
Osteporosis is a fear for many ageing men and women. But research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM) has now shown that going on a two year colourful Mediterranean Diet – a Rainbow Diet – enhanced with olive oil maintains blood calcium and insulin levels, and increases serum osteocalin concentrations, providing a ‘protective shield’ against future bone loss.
Lead researcher Dr. Jose Manuel Fernandez-Real added, “This is the first randomized study which demonstrates that olive oil preserves bone, at least as inferred by circulating bone markers, in humans.”
Osteocalcin is non-collagen protein hormone found in both dentin and bone; in humans its synthesis is vitamin K dependent. Vitamin K is made by certain gut bacteria and is found mainly in green leafy vegetables. It is the calcium-binding hormone in bones.
All of the subjects researched were also diabetic. The team reviewed levels of glucose, osteocalcin, cholesterol, triglycerides at the start and again after two years. The group following the Rainbow diet with added olive oil, showed a large rise in the concentrations of total osteocalcin, as well as other bone-formation factors, over the groups not on the diet. Blood calcium levels also remained constant, but declined significantly in the non Rainbow diet groups.
Dr. Fernandez-Real concluded “It´s important to note that circulating osteocalcin was associated with preserved insulin secretion in subjects taking olive oil.”
Thus, for the people with diabetes, olive oil is important as its consumption preserves insulin levels too!