Mycotoxins are naturally produced by certain fungi growing on many types of animal and human food, including grains and greens. They can cause motor system dysfunctions including tremors and seizures. Available treatments simply seek to strengthen the immune system, but research has discovered two lignan polyphenols that show promise – one of which is unique to extra virgin olive oil. Recent studies show that the olive lignan is a novel lead that can prevent the neurotoxicity of these food-contaminating mycotoxins. These are just preliminary studies, but the more olive oil polyphenols are studied, the more the importance of their benefits for our health are discovered.
America’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) has just acknowledged oleocanthal as potentially medicinal for a certain type of breast cancer (TNBC), and has awarded a grant for researchers at Oleolive to develop the phenolic compound as a functional food in the prevention of breast cancer.
Oleocanthal derives from extra virgin olive oil cultivated to have the highest possible phenolic content. With our specialized milling equipment and small, hands-on operation, the polyphenols of all of the Apollo Olive Oils range between 350 and 520 ppm, which is considered very high. On our website, you can find the level of polyphenols in the detailed description of each of our oils. Very few olive oil producers can proudly publish the polyphenol levels of their oils.
As noted in the Oleolive website white paper, the many recent studies about the various health benefits of the polyphenols in real Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) have led to a recommendation of consuming about 2 tablespoons of real extra virgin olive oil daily.
A recent Australian study found that consuming 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with a high polyphenol count reduced blood pressure in healthy adults. They took 50 adults and divided them in two groups. For three weeks one group had 4 tablespoons of high polyphenol olive oil and the second group consumed 4 tablespoons of low polyphenol olive oil. Then the two groups spent two weeks cleansing their systems and consuming no olive oil. Then the second group consumed the high polyphenol oil and the first group consumed the low polyphenol oil. They found that in both cases the group who consumed the high polyphenol oil had a consistently lower systolic blood pressure and the other group consuming the low polyphenol oil had no change. While more research needs to be done the conclusion is that consuming high polyphenol oil could be a good preventative measure for prolonged improved health.
A new study was published on the Nation Library of Medicine web site on June 7, 2020 linking the consumption of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) with a reduced risk of colon cancer. Mice were given a high fat diet of EVOO, safflower, and coconut oil. Both safflower and coconut oil were found to encourage flora that enhanced inflammation. EVOO, on the other hand, encouraged beneficial microbial growth and reduced the inflammation causing microbes. You can read the entire publication here.
A new study from Australia found following a Meditteranean diet can help reduce the symptoms of depression. They studied two groups aged 17-35 that scored high for depression, anxiety, and stress for three weeks. One group followed the Meditrranean Diet and the other continued with their normal diet. Afterwards the group on the new diet went from scoring high on the depression scale to normal and the other group remained the same. Larger and repeatable studies need to be conducted to confirm the findings but they are very encouraging. This study is part of a growing body of research confirming a link between diet and mental health called nutritional psychiatry.
With all that is known at this stage in nutrition history regarding the link between inflammation, mood and diet, it is not too early in the process to make a solid hypothesis that the Mediterranean diet can reduce depression symptoms.- Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author
A new study
on oleocanthal was recently published by a group of researchers from
Taiwan. Oleocanthal is one of the more prominenet polyphenols found in
high grade extra virgin olive oil. Oleo is Greek for olive and canth is
Greek for prickly. Thus oleocanthal is primarily responsible for the
prickly sensation when ingesting extra virgin olive oil by itself.
Oleocanthal offers several benefits to several diseased states with its
anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective qualities. The study also found
that oleocanthal proactively destroys cancer cells by damaging the
lysosomes leading to cancer cell toxicity in vitro and in vivo. The
study went one step further to establish that oils rich in oleocanthal
had this effect where oils that were not did not have this effect. So
the prickly sensation you feel from consuming our oils is very
A study, recently published in the JAMA Network Open, presents the first randomized clinical study of the MedDiet done in the US. While the MedDiet has long been known to be heart-healthy, the researchers wanted to learn more specifically, why it is healthier. 25,000 women were followed for 12 years, divided into three groups based on how closely they followed the MedDiet. After 12 years the group that followed the MedDiet the closest showed a 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The primary factors for reduced risk were decreased inflammation, better glucose metabolism, and lower weight. Other factors contributing to the better results were lower blood pressure, and lower lipid levels. A great thing about the MedDiet is that it is very easy to follow and very tasty as well.
A recent article in USA Today highlights a Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine study that found extra virgin olive oil helped reduce the conditions associated with Alzheimer’s. They also found evidence that EVOO preserves the ability to learn and improves memory. The mechanism by which this is achieved is EVOO reduces inflammation in the body including in the brain and it enhances the process of removing toxins and debris from our brains. Alzheimer’s is thought to begin by the reduced ability to remove these toxins.
The study was conducted on mice with one group consuming EVOO compared to a control group not consuming EVOO. After a few months the two groups tested the same, however, the differences began to show up after 9 to 12 months. The mice on a EVOO diet had better learning abilities and spatial memory. It seems good nutrition can take a while before we get noticeable changes. Like all good habits using natural methods, the change is slow but reliable.
US News Ranks Popular Diets
US News evaluated the 38 most popular diets with the help of diet and nutritional experts. They rated them in several different categories. The DASH diet ranked number one and the Meditteranean diet ranked number two overall. Both diets use extra virgin olive oil as their primary fat for cooking and adding to recipes. The Meditteranean diet ranked number one as the easiest to follow. The entire study is very interesting, you can read about it here.
The article includes nice recipes from the several different diets. It also ranks diets according to best commercial diets, best diets for diabetes, and several other categories.
Oleocanthal is a polyphenol found in real extra virgin olive oil. It is already well documented as a very effective anti-inflammatory. In a recent study published in Nutrition and Cancer, it was also found to inhibit the growth of melanoma cancer cells. The study introduced concentrated amounts of oleocanthal into normal cells and melanoma cells and found the normal cells’ growth was regular but the melanoma cells’ growth was greatly reduced. The initial thinking is that the oleocanthal upsets the protein strains responsible for melanoma but that are not found in normal cells.
These are just initial experiments and much more study is needed to determine if consuming real extra virgin olive oil can actually have a inhibiting effect on cancerous cells. However, multiple studies in recent years all point in this direction.