The Olive Wellness Institute is a science repository on the nutrition,
health and wellness benefits of olives and olive products, which is
all subject to extensive peer review.

New Study finds – An extra virgin olive oil-enriched diet improves maternal, placental and cord blood parameters in GDM pregnancies.

New Study finds – An extra virgin olive oil-enriched diet improves maternal, placental and cord blood parameters in GDM pregnancies.

A diet enriched in EVOO in GDM patients reduced maternal triglyceridemia and weight gain and has anti-inflammatory properties in placenta and umbilical cord blood, possibly mediated by the regulation of PPAR pathways.



Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a prevalent disease that increases the risks of maternal, placental, and perinatal adverse outcomes and induces long-term adverse effects on the offspring´s later life.

Adverse outcomes in GDM have been related to an intrauterine proinflammatory environment. Indeed, proinflammation is a common alteration in gestational diseases and can influence the placental development and function, the foetal development, and the offspring´s development later life.


Summary of the study methods

In this study published in 2020, 33 pregnant women at 24-28 weeks of gestation with diagnosed Gestational Diabetes Mellites (GDM) and 17 healthy controls were randomly assigned to receive an EVOO-enriched diet that consisted of an additional three tablespoons of crude EVOO daily (36 g/day).

Metabolic parameters and pregnancy outcomes were collected and measured at enrolment (gestational weeks 24 to 28) and at gestational week 37.


Key Findings

GDM patients that received the EVOO-enriched diet showed reduced pregnancy weight gain (GDM-EVOO:10.3±0.9, GDM:14.2±1.4, P=0.03) and reduced triglyceridemia (GDM-EVOO:231±14, GDM:292±21, P=0.02) compared to the non-EVOO-enriched GDM group.

Increased proinflammatory markers (interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α and nitric oxide overproduction) in GDM placentas were prevented by the EVOO-enriched diet (respectively P=0.001, P=0.001 and P=0.01 vs GDM).

MMPs overactivity was prevented in placenta and umbilical cord blood in the EVOO-enriched GDM group (MMP-9: respectively P=0.01 and P=0.001 vs GDM)


Take home message

This clinical study provides evidence of the capacity of an EVOO-enriched diet to induce placental anti-inflammatory effects. Anti-inflammatory effects were also evidenced in the umbilical cord blood, suggesting benefits in the perinatal period and the offspring´s later life.

Further studies addressing long term effects of this dietary treatment will be needed to establish its clinical significance in the offspring´s later life.


Link to view/access study