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January 2010

Chemistry and health of olive oil phenolics.

The Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower incidence of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. The apparent health benefits have been partially attributed to the dietary consumption of virgin olive oil by Mediterranean populations. Most recent interest has focused on the biologically active phenolic compounds naturally present in virgin olive oils. Studies (human, animal, in vivo and in vitro) have shown that olive oil phenolics have positive effects on certain physiological parameters, such as plasma lipoproteins, oxidative damage, inflammatory markers, platelet and cellular function, and antimicrobial activity. Presumably, regular dietary consumption of virgin olive oil containing phenolic compounds manifests in health benefits associated with a Mediterranean diet. This paper summarizes current knowledge on the physiological effects of olive oil phenolics. Moreover, a number of factors have the ability to affect phenolic concentrations in virgin olive oil, so it is of great importance to understand these factors in order to preserve the essential health promoting benefits of olive oil phenolic compounds.

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2009 Mar;49(3):218-36

Daily consumption of a high-phenol extra-virgin olive oil reduces oxidative DNA damage in postmenopausal women.

Extra-virgin olive oils (EVOO), high in phenolic compounds with antioxidant properties, could be partly responsible for the lower mortality and incidence of cancer and CVD in the Mediterranean region. The present study aims to measure oxidative DNA damage in healthy human subjects consuming olive oils with different concentrations of natural phenols. A randomised cross-over trial of high-phenol EVOO (high-EVOO; 592 mg total phenols/kg) v. low-phenol EVOO (low-EVOO; 147 mg/kg) was conducted in ten postmenopausal women in Florence. Subjects were asked to substitute all types of fat and oils habitually consumed with the study oil (50 g/d) for 8 weeks in each period. Oxidative DNA damage was measured by the comet assay in peripheral blood lymphocytes, collected at each visit during the study period. Urine samples over 24 h were collected to measure the excretion of the olive oil phenols. The average of the four measurements of oxidative DNA damage during treatment with high-EVOO was 30 % lower than the average during the low-EVOO treatment (P=0.02). Urinary excretion of hydroxytyrosol and its metabolite homovanillyl alcohol were significantly increased in subjects consuming high-EVOO. Despite the small sample size, the present study showed a reduction of DNA damage by consumption of an EVOO rich in phenols, particularly hydroxytyrosol.

Br J Nutr. 2006 Apr;95(4):742-51

Mediterranean diet and metabolic diseases.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The objective of this article is to present evidence illustrating the relationship between Mediterranean diets and metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome, and to briefly discuss potential mechanisms by which these diets can help in disease prevention and treatment. RECENT FINDINGS: Although the Mediterranean diet has long been celebrated for its impact on cardiovascular health, mounting evidence indicates a favorable effect on obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well. While health promotion strategies aimed at preventing adult obesity are emphasizing components of Mediterranean dietary patterns, a role for Mediterranean diets in attenuating the inflammatory burden associated with type 2 diabetes is also emerging. Moreover, a lower prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is associated with dietary patterns rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and unsaturated fats. Both epidemiological and interventional studies have revealed a protective effect of the Mediterranean diet against mild chronic inflammation and its metabolic complications. SUMMARY: Mounting evidence suggests that Mediterranean diets could serve as an anti-inflammatory dietary pattern, which could help fighting diseases that are related to chronic inflammation, including visceral obesity, type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

Curr Opin Lipidol. 2008 Feb;19(1):63-8

Effect of resveratrol, tyrosol and beta-sitosterol on oxidised low-density lipoprotein-stimulated oxidative stress, arachidonic acid release and prostaglandin E2 synthesis by RAW 264.7 macrophages.

Oxidation of LDL is hypothesised as an early and critical event in atherogenesis. Oxidised LDL (oxLDL) favour the transformation of macrophages into foam cells, an important cell involved in atherosclerosis. Furthermore, oxLDL cause multiple changes in macrophage functions. Thus, oxLDL induces certain genes, suppresses others and alters cell lipid metabolism. Consumption of a Mediterranean diet is associated with a low incidence of atherosclerotic disease, but data about the specific dietary constituents involved and mechanisms conferring cardioprotection are still sparse. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of representative minor components of wine and olive oil on reactive oxygen species and eicosanoid synthesis induced by oxLDL-stimulated macrophages. We observed that exposure to non-toxic oxLDL concentrations leads to the production of H2O2 by RAW 264.7 macrophages and this effect was reverted by apocynin, a NADPH oxidase inhibitor. Moreover, oxLDL induced arachidonic acid (AA) release, cyclo-oxygenase-2 overexpression and subsequent PGE2 release. We observed that resveratrol and tyrosol revert H2O2 production induced by oxLDL as well as AA release and PGE2 synthesis and that these effects were not as a consequence of these compounds interfering with the oxLDL binding to their receptors. Interestingly, beta-sitosterol presence enhances these polyphenol actions. Thus, we found a synergistic action of polyphenols of olive oil and wine and beta-sitosterol of olive oil led to the modulation of the effects of oxLDL on oxidative stress and PGE2 synthesis.

J Nutr. 2008 Jun;99(6):1199-207

Major phenolic compounds in olive oil modulate bone loss in an ovariectomy/inflammation experimental model.

This study was conducted to determine whether the daily consumption for 84 days of tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol, the main olive oil phenolic compounds, and olive oil mill wastewater (OMWW), a byproduct of olive oil production, rich in micronutrients, may improve bone loss in ovariectomized rats (an experimental model of postmenopausal osteoporosis) and in ovariectomized rats with granulomatosis inflammation (a model set up for senile osteoporosis). As expected, an induced chronic inflammation provoked further bone loss at total, metaphyseal, and diaphyseal sites in ovariectomized rats. Tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol prevented this osteopenia by increasing bone formation ( p < 0.05), probably because of their antioxidant properties. The two doses of OMWW extracts had the same protective effect on bone ( p < 0.05), whereas OMWW did not reverse established osteopenia. In conclusion, polyphenol consumption seems to be an interesting way to prevent bone loss.

J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Oct 22;56(20):9417-22

Olive oil consumption and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The clinical implications of non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) derive from their potential to progress to fibrosis and cirrhosis. Inappropriate dietary fat intake, excessive intake of soft drinks, insulin resistance and increased oxidative stress results in increased free fatty acid delivery to the liver and increased hepatic triglyceride (TG) accumulation. An olive oil-rich diet decreases accumulation of TGs in the liver, improves postprandial TGs, glucose and glucagon-like peptide-1 responses in insulin-resistant subjects, and upregulates glucose transporter-2 expression in the liver. The principal mechanisms include: decreased nuclear factor-kappaB activation, decreased low-density lipoprotein oxidation, and improved insulin resistance by reduced production of inflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-6) and improvement of jun N-terminal kinase-mediated phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1. The beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet is derived from monounsaturated fatty acids, mainly from olive oil. In this review, we describe the dietary sources of the monounsaturated fatty acids, the composition of olive oil, dietary fats and their relationship to insulin resistance and postprandial lipid and glucose responses in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, clinical and experimental studies that assess the relationship between olive oil and NAFLD, and the mechanism by which olive oil ameliorates fatty liver, and we discuss future perspectives.

World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Apr 21;15(15):1809-15

Effects of olive oil polyphenols on erythrocyte oxidative damage.

Many studies have investigated the protective effects of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol against cell injury, but few have investigated the protective effects of oleuropein aglycones 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethanol-elenolic acid (3,4-DHPEA-EA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethanol-elenolic acid dialdehyde (3,4-DHPEA-EDA). The present work studied and compared the capacity of these four compounds, found at high concentrations in olive oil, to protect red blood cells (RBCs) from oxidative injury. The in vitro oxidative stress of RBCs was induced by the water-soluble radical initiator 2,2’-azo-bis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride. RBC changes were evaluated either by optical microscopy or by the amount of hemolysis. All compounds were shown to significantly protect RBCs from oxidative damage in a dose-dependent manner. The order of activity at 20 microM was: 3,4-DHPEA-EDA > hydroxytyrosol > oleuropein > 3,4-DHPEA-EA. Even at 3 microM, 3,4-DHPEA-EDA and hydroxytyrosol still had an important protective activity. However, deleterious morphological RBC changes were much more evident in the presence of hydroxytyrosol than with 3,4-DHPEA-EDA. For the first time it was demonstrated that 3,4-DHPEA-EDA, one of most important olive oil polyphenols, may play a noteworthy protective role against ROS-induced oxidative injury in human cells since lower doses of this compound were needed to protect RBCs in vitro from oxidative mediated hemolysis.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 May;53(5):609-16

Phytochemicals in olive-leaf extracts and their antiproliferative activity against cancer and endothelial cells.

Olive oil compounds is a dynamic research area because Mediterranean diet has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Olive leaves, an easily available natural material of low cost, share possibly a similar wealth of health benefiting bioactive phytochemicals. In this work, we investigated the antioxidant potency and antiproliferative activity against cancer and endothelial cells of water and methanol olive leaves extracts and analyzed their content in phytochemicals using LC-MS and LC-UV-SPE-NMR hyphenated techniques. Olive-leaf crude extracts were found to inhibit cell proliferation of human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7), human urinary bladder carcinoma (T-24) and bovine brain capillary endothelial (BBCE). The dominant compound of the extracts was oleuropein; phenols and flavonoids were also identified. These phytochemicals demonstrated strong antioxidant potency and inhibited cancer and endothelial cell proliferation at low micromolar concentrations, which is significant considering their high abundance in fruits and vegetables. The antiproliferative activity of crude extracts and phytochemicals against the cell lines used in this study is demonstrated for the first time.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 May;53(5):600-8

Neuroprotective effect of hydroxytyrosol and hydroxytyrosol acetate in rat brain slices subjected to hypoxia-reoxygenation.

Hydroxytyrosol (HT) and hydroxytyrosol acetate (HT-AC) are two well-known phenolic compounds with antioxidant properties that are present in virgin olive oil (VOO). Because VOO has shown neuroprotective effects in rats, the purpose of the present study was to investigate the possible neuroprotective effect of HT and HT-AC in a model of hypoxia-reoxygenation in rat brain slices after in vitro incubation of these compounds or after 7 days of oral treatment with 5 or 10 mg/kg per day. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) efflux to the incubation medium was measured as a marker of brain cell death. HT and HT-AC inhibited LDH efflux in a concentration-dependent manner, with 50% inhibitory concentrations of 77.78 and 28.18 microM, respectively. Other well-known antioxidants such as vitamin E and N-acetyl-cysteine had no neuroprotective effect in this experimental model. After 1 week of treatment, HT (5 and 10 mg/kg per day p.o.) reduced LDH efflux by 37.8% and 52.7%, respectively, and HT-AC reduced LDH efflux by 45.4% and 67.8%. These data are additional evidence of the cytoprotective effect of VOO administration, and provide a preliminary basis for further study of these polyphenols as potential neuroprotective compounds.

Neurosci Lett. 2008 Dec 3;446(2-3):143-6

Phenolic compounds in olive oil: antioxidant, health and organoleptic activities according to their chemical structure.

Hydrophilic phenols are the most abundant natural antioxidants of virgin olive oil (VOO), in which, however, tocopherols and carotenes are also present. The prevalent classes of hydrophilic phenols found in VOO are phenolic alcohols and acids, flavonoids, lignans and secoiridoids. Among these substances the last two classes include the most concentrate phenols of VOO. Secoiridoids, like aglycone derivatives of oleuropein, demethyloleuropein and ligstroside, are present in olive fruit as most abundant VOO phenolic antioxidants. Several important biological properties (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive and anti-cancer) and the characteristic pungent and bitter tasty properties have been attributed to VOO phenols. Relationships between polyphenols activities and their chemical structures are discussed in this paper.

Inflammopharmacology. 2009 Apr;17(2):76-84