Oxidative damage by ROS to DNA and lipids contributes significantly to the etiology of cancer and atherosclerosis. A decrease in production of pro-inflammatory mediators would, therefore, be beneficial by decreasing the release of ROS. Diminishing the production of cytokines is also believed to improve the symptoms of RA. It has been suggested that olive oil may have anti-inflammatory properties as it can reduce the production of these proinflam-matory mediators. Although few studies have been carried out on the benefits of olive oil on symptoms of inflammation, it is possible that olive oil produces a similar effect to fish oil. Fish oils and butter have both been shown to reverse the proinflammatory effects of one cytokine, TNF. Further research, where C18:1 was added to a diet containing coconut oil, resulted in responses to TNF that were similar to those seen in animals fed butter. It was assumed that, as the anti-inflammatory effects of butter appeared to be due to its oleic acid content, olive oil should be more anti-inflammatory. This was put to the test, and, while both butter and olive oil reduced the extent of a number of symptoms of inflammation, olive oil showed a greater potency than butter. From this, it can be concluded that dietary factors such as olive oil may play a significant protective role in the development severity of RA.
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