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Effect of a traditional Mediterranean diet on lipoprotein oxidation: a randomized controlled trial

Fitó, M., M. Guxens, D. Corella, G. Sáez, R. Estruch, R. de la Torre, F. Francés, C. Cabezas, M. del C. López-Sabaterl, J. Marrugat, A. García-Arellano, F. Arós, V. Ruiz-Gutierrez, E. Ros, J. Salas-Salvadó, M. Fiol, R. Solá, M.I. Covas; for the PREDIMED Study, 2007. Effect of a traditional Mediterranean diet on lipoprotein oxidation: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 167:1195-203.

Background: Despite the richness in antioxidants of the Mediterranean diet, to our knowledge, no randomized controlled trials have assessed its effect on in vivo lipoprotein oxidation. Methods: A total of 372 subjects at high cardiovascular risk (210 women and 162 men; age range, 55-80 years), who were recruited into a large, multicenter, randomized, controlled, parallel-group clinical trial (the Prevencio’n con Dieta Mediterra’nea [PREDIMED] Study) directed at testing the efficacy of the traditional Mediterranean diet (TMD) on the primary prevention of coronary heart disease, were assigned to a low-fat diet (n=121) or one of 2 TMDs (TMD + virgin olive oil or TMD + nuts). The TMD participants received nutritional education and either free virgin olive oil for all the family (1 L/wk) or free nuts (30 g/d). Diets were ad libitum. Changes in oxidative stress markers were evaluated at 3 months. Results: After the 3-month interventions, mean (95% confidence intervals) oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels decreased in the TMD + virgin olive oil (−10.6 U/L [−14.2 to −6.1]) and TMD + nuts (−7.3 U/L [−11.2 to −3.3]) groups, without changes in the low-fat diet group (−2.9 U/L [−7.3 to 1.5]). Change in oxidized LDL levels in the TMD + virgin olive oil group reached significance vs that of the low-fat group (P=.02). Malondialdehyde changes in mononuclear cells paralleled those of oxidized LDL. No changes in serum glutathione peroxidase activity were observed. Conclusions: Individuals at high cardiovascular risk who improved their diet toward a TMD pattern showed significant reductions in cellular lipid levels and LDL oxidation. Results provide further evidence to recommend the TMD as a useful tool against risk factors for CHD.