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An "optimised" rapeseed oil that is good for your health

In the case of rapeseed oil, the fourteen partners in the European Optim'Oils project have succeeded in modifying the manufacturing process for edible oils in order to preserve a maximum of the micronutrients naturally present oilseed grains. Consumed on a daily basis, this "optimised" rapeseed oil had a beneficial effect on serum cholesterol levels and oxidative stress in healthy volunteer subjects.

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Updated on 04/29/2013
Published on 10/04/2012

Processes that can degrade oil quality

Oilseed grains – whether they are of soybean, sunflower or rapeseed – are naturally rich in beneficial micronutrients: phytosterols, polyphenols, tocopherols and Q10/Q9 co-enzymes. These substances participate in protecting the cardiovascular status of consumers. But during the production of edible oil, and most particularly during its refining, the majority of these micronutrients are lost.

Optim'Oils: a European project to improve the health value of edible oils

Nine research organisations, four industrial partners producing oils and margarines (two of them based in Morocco and Tunisia) and the ACTIA have been collaborating for more than 3 years in order to develop a micronutrient-enriched oil that could contribute to the nutritional prevention of cardiovascular risks. Their aim: to optimise oil extraction and refining processes in order to limit the losses of useful micronutrients and, in humans, to assess the cardioprotectant properties of this "optimised" oil.

The health effects of an "optimised" rapeseed oil

An "optimised" rapeseed oil was thus developed. Compared with a standard oil, this oil displays significantly higher contents in phytosterols (+22%), polyphenols (x11), tocopherols (+131%) and Q10/Q9 co-enzymes (+165%). Researchers in the INRA Joint Research Unit for Human Nutrition (INRA-Université d'Auvergne UMR 1019) and the Auvergne Centre for Research in Human Nutrition, performed a clinical study to assess the health effects of the daily consumption of this "optimised" rapeseed oil. To achieve this, 59 healthy volunteers thus ingested 20 g oil and 22 g margarine (optimised or standard) on a daily basis for two, 3-week periods. The results demonstrated a positive effect of consuming the optimised oil on serum cholesterol levels (increase in "good" cholesterol, or HDL-Cholesterol) and oxidative stress (reduction in the level of LDL lipoprotein oxidation). Thus the "optimised" rapeseed oil, produced using innovating manufacturing processes, and enriched in useful micronutrients, could contribute to reducing the cardiovascular risk.

Contact(s)
Scientific contact(s):

  • Cécile GLADINE UMR 1019 INRA/Université d’Auvergne - Unité de Nutrition Humaine (UNH)
Associated Division(s):
Nutrition, Chemical Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour
Associated Centre(s):
Auvergne Rhône-Alpes

Partners in the project:

ITERG (French Institute for Fats and Oils) (coordinator) – the Swedish Institute for Food and Technology (SIK) – CREOL (Centre for Research and Experimentation on Oilseeds and Protein Crops) – AINIA (Spanish Food Industry Research Association) – ISS (Italian Istituto superiore di Sanita – Food Science, Nutrition and Health Section) – ENSIA (French National Institute for the Food and Farming Industries) – IBET (Portuguese Institute for Experimental Biotechnologies) – Auvergne Centre for Research in Human Nutrition – INRA/UMR 1019 – FUSAGx (Gembloux University Faculty for Agricultural Sciences) – UNILEVER – LESIEUR – LESIEUR CRISTAL – Ets ABDELMOULA – ACTIA (Technical Coordination Association for the Agri-Food Industry).

For further information:

  • Preservation of micronutrients during rapeseed oil refining : a tool to optimize the health value of edible vegetable oils? Rationale and design of the Optim’Oils randomized clinical trial. Gladine, C et al. Contemporary Clinical Trial 32 (2011)233-239
  • Optimized rapeseed oil enriched with healthy micronutrients : a relevant approach to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Results of the Optim’oils randomized intervention trial. Gladine et al. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, sous presse