Aim: To evaluate whether the consumption of virgin argan oil (VAO) is associated with a change in serum lipids and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy Moroccans. Methods: Sixty volunteers consumed butter (25 g/day) during 2 weeks (stabilization period) and were randomly divided into two groups: the treatment group received 25 g/day of VAO during 3 weeks (intervention period), and the control group received 25 g/day of extra virgin olive oil (EVO). Throughout the study, weight, blood pressure, and daily food intake were measured. Serum total cholesterol and low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and apolipoproteins A-I and B were measured at the end of each diet period. Results: Analysis of food intake showed that the daily diet is isocaloric for the butter regimen (2,537 ± 244 kcal/day) as well as for the VAO and EVO regimens (2,561± 246 and 2,560 ± 253 kcal/day, respectively). Analysis of the lipid intake showed a reduction in saturated fatty acids with VAO and EVO regimens (27 ± 1.4 and 26.4 ± 3.4%, respectively) as compared with the stabilization period (41.6 ± 2.4%). The analysis of serum lipids showed a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-I in both VAO group (8.4%, p = 0.012, and 5.2%, p = 0.027, respectively) and EVO group (17.3%, p = 0.001, and 5.9%, p = 0.036, respectively). However, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (13.8%, p = 0.037, and 7.8%, p = 0.039, respectively) decreased significantly only in EVO group as compared with the stabilization period, while triglycerides decreased significantly by 17.5% (p = 0.039) only in VAO group. Conclusion: These results confirm the cholesterol-lowering effect of EVO and show for the first time the triglyceride-lowering effect of VAO in men.
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