Thai Tea Seed Oil and Virgin Olive Oil Similarly Reduce Plasma Lipids: A Pilot Study within a Healthy Adult Male Population

Nuchanart Suealek, Thipaporn Tharavanij, Robert M Hackman, Carl L. Keen, Roberta R. Holt, Benjapun Burawat, Ammara Chaikan, Rattana Tiengtip, Panadda Rojpibulstit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The potential cardiovascular benefit of virgin olive oil (VOO) is widely recognized. However, the use of VOO at very high cooking temperatures makes these oils poorly suited for many Asian dishes. The use of tea seed oil (TSO) is increasing in Thailand, with TSO having a higher smoke point than VOO. The current study examines the effects of daily TSO intake in healthy adults. In a randomized, single-blind crossover design, 12 men consumed for 3 weeks 40 g day−1 of food prepared with either TSO or VOO as a cooking oil. Plasma lipids, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and oxidant defense enzyme activities are measured before and after each 3-week intervention period. Gas chromatography analysis of TSO and VOO demonstrates that both oils are equally high in monounsaturated fatty acid. The dietary incorporation of TSO and VOO for three weeks reduces low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) concentrations by 15% and 13%, respectively; with total cholesterol (TC) levels lowered by 10% in both groups. No significant changes in TBARS or antioxidant enzyme activity is observed. These results support the concept that Thai TSO can be utilized as a suitable and healthy alternative oil for high-temperature cooking in many Thai and Asian diets. Practical Applications: Tea seed oil from Camellia oleifera grown in Thailand has been recently reported to favorably lower lipid profiles in hamsters fed a high-fat diet in a manner similar to feeding refined olive oil or grapeseed oil. A pilot crossover trial is conducted to compare the effects of three weeks of daily intake of either TSO or VOO in healthy human adults. Consumption of both oils produced significant reductions in TC and LDL-C. Thai TSO leads to favorable lipid profiles and is a reasonable choice for many Thai and Asian food recipes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Journal of Lipid Science and Technology
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • cardiovascular disease
  • monounsaturated fatty acids
  • plasma cholesterol
  • tea seed oil
  • virgin olive oil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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