Luca Mascitelli, MD; Francesca Pezzetta, MD; Jerome L. Sullivan, MD, PhD
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Mascitelli L, Pezzetta F, Sullivan JL. The Effect of Polyphenols in Olive Oil on Heart Disease Risk Factors. Ann Intern Med. 2007;146:394. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-146-5-200703060-00013
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2007;146(5):394.
TO THE EDITOR:
Covas and colleagues (1) found that consumption of polyphenol-rich olive oil increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and lowered levels of oxidative stress markers and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. We suggest that some of the involved mechanisms might be related to interactions of endogenous iron with polyphenols absorbed from the olive oil. The polyphenols may augment the antioxidant activity of endogenous iron-binding antioxidants (2). Use of phlebotomy to achieve modest decreases in stored iron level (3) or induction of near iron deficiency (4) is associated with increased HDL cholesterol concentration. Polyphenol-rich olive oil may acutely augment the reactive iron-neutralizing activity of endogenous iron-binding antioxidants. In prolonged use, olive oil–derived polyphenols are associated with progressive loss of iron stores (5). Lowering the availability of reactive iron in vivo either by decreasing stored iron level or by acute iron chelation may improve antioxidant activity and increase HDL cholesterol levels by closely related mechanisms (6).
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