Olive Oil - Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction
Let's review a few facts: both a high fat diet  and monounsaturated fats
(such as olive oil) are generally
pro-testosterone . Furthermore, monounsaturates are more healthy than saturated fats. Throw into this the fact that
Olive Oil also improves several
key risk factors for cardiovascular disease and Olive Oil seems like the King of
Fats. It does, after all, lower inflammation, a key predictor of
heart disease.  In fact, about 3.5 T (50g) of Olive Oil has a phytochemical,
oleocanthal, in it that is has the same inflammation-lowering strength as a
tenth of an NSAID such as ibuprofen. And, as if that wasn't enough, studies
have shown that Olive Oil decreases fibrinogen, another key and inflammation-related predictor
of heart disease.  One recent study even showed that Olive Oil was associated
with a 3% drop in systolic blood pressure. . Plus, Olive Oil is a frequent component of the famed
Mediterranean Diet that I often push on this site.
So the obvious solution is that all males
should consume olive oil and lots of it, right? In fact, all the stars seem to be aligning toward olive oil being
part of any healthy diet, eh? Well, unfortunately it's not that easy:
recent research has shown that Olive Oil is not the shining star that everything
originally thought it was. In fact, it looks more and more like the
Mediterranean Diet's success may have been achieved in
spite of Olive Oil not because of it.
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One of the first clues actually came decades ago with Dr. Ornish's research.
He found that you can actually reverse heart disease, i.e. decrease arterial
Low Fat (or Ornish Diet).
One couldn't help but ask why the Mediterranean Diet, with all it's Olive Oil
and heart healthy ingredients, could not also clear out plaque? As time
has gone on, the evidence mounted
that the key aspects of a
are probably its 1) deemphasis of meat and 2) emphasis of grain, vegetables and
fruits. Olive Oil, unfortunately, appears to have a number of very
For example, one 2005 study put olive oil and rapeseed (canola) oil
head-to-head.  Participants consumed 75g of either olive or canola oil.
Canola oil, which is frequently excoriated by the Atkins/Paleolithic crowd, handily beat olive oil and
revealed many of its weaknesses. The rapeseed oil tended to decrease
cholesterol absorption, increase excretion of cholesterol and decrease overall
serum cholesterol significantly (11%) compared to olive oil. In fact, they
found out that rapeseed oil actually has significantly more plant sterols as well.
Recent research, headed in large part by researcher Lawrence Rudel, have shown
that the problem with Olive Oil is that it boosts a
liver enzyme called ACAT2
leading to increases artherosclerosis.  ACAT2 is at ground zero for
arteriosclerosis: as levels of ACAT2 increase so do bad cholesterol
particles in the blood. In fact, Rudel has shown genetically altered mice
that have low ACAT2 production have much lower arteriosclerosis no matter what
kind of fat they are fed and scientists hope that one day this knowledge can be used to battle
arterial plaque and heart disease. But, in the meantime, we have to
realize that Olive Oil is very dangerous.
One question you may be asking is if Olive Oil consumption has actually been
shown to increase arteriosclerosis. The answer is "yes" in numerous animal
studies by Rudel on both monkeys and mice. Rudel has found that Olive Oil
promotes arterial plaque build up as much as saturated fat.
(Please read these links on
Dangers of Saturated Fat and
The Many Dangers of the
Atkins/Paleolithic/Low Carb Diet when you get a chance.)
1) J of Steroid Biochemistry Vol. 32, No. 6, p. 829-833, 1989; Amer J of Clin
Nutr 42:127-134, 1985
Ann Intern Medic 2006 Sep 5,145(5):333-41;Eur Journ Clin Nutr,2007 Mar 21
Am Heart Jour 2000 Oct,140(4):631-6/Thromb Haemost 1994 Oct,72(4):557-562
Jour Nutrition 137:84-87, 2007
5) Eur J of Clin Nutr, Aug 10 2005 (online), 59:1374-1378
6) Rudel, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, not yet published,
but press release were in May 2009.