Dr. Gundry’s Olive Oil: Controversial Pitchman Peddles a Dose of Deception
YouTube viewers with olive oil anywhere in their search algorithm will likely encounter a 10-minute advertisement for a brand with some lofty claims.
The video begins with a sensational hook: “Olive oil from your local grocery store might actually be more harm than good for your body.”
Gundry, who is not an accredited dietician, came under criticism long before his foray into the olive oil business.
The pitchman is Steven R. Gundry, a Beverly Hills-based cardiac surgeon and author, who claims his olive oil brand contains “more polyphenols than any other olive oil you can find.”
Gundry explains that his oil is sourced from a Moroccan farm where the desert conditions stress the olives, which respond by “producing more hydroxytyrosol than any other olives in the world.”
The advertisement is replete with grand pronouncements that Gundry’s olive oil can “restore your youthful vitality no matter how old you are,” and he repeatedly states that his Polyphenol-Rich Olive Oil has “30 times more polyphenols than any other olive oil.”
The sleight-of-hand that might escape most viewers is that Gundry repeatedly compares his brand to what he calls “traditional” olive oils, not extra virgin olive oils. Refined oils by definition contain a fraction of the phenolic content of extra virgin olive oils.
When asked how their olive oil would compare with extra virgin olive oils, a Gundry associate replied, “Since we have not tested for third-party extra virgin olive oils, we would not be able to provide a comparison to our product. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.”
“In my medical practices, I always advise my patients to get at least a liter of olive oil a week,” Gundry says in the video, without specifying whether his 8,000-calorie prescription is to consume extra virgin or refined olive oil.
“In order to slim down, support your heart health, super-charge your energy, soothe your joints, and make your skin glow, a liter of olive oil a week is more than worth it,” Gundry proclaims.
One can imagine some of his devotees smothering their Western-diet fare with more than 1,000 calories per day of olive oil, hoping to “slim down.”
If Gundry counsels his patients to consume a liter of refined oil to reach his recommended intake of polyphenols, he disregards extra virgin olive oils in his directive entirely. (And didn’t he say, “Olive oil from your local grocery store might actually be more harm than good for your body”?)
If he intends for his patients to take a liter of extra virgin olive oil, he fails to acknowledge the legions of researchers who have determined that replacing less healthy fats with a mere two tablespoons per day could bring substantial health benefits.
But as an alternative to downing a liter of some kind of olive oil every week, Gundry wants you to take half a tablespoon per day of his Polyphenol-Rich (and Super-Expensive) Olive Oil, which he says will “ensure you’re getting an entire liter a week’s worth of supercharged polyphenols in just 4 days.”
Olive Oil Times commissioned two analyses of Gundry’s oil that revealed total phenolic content between 561 and 612 mg/kg (or ppm).
While lab test results always have a degree of uncertainty and can vary depending on the analytical methods employed, the phenolic contents of Gundry’s samples, while quite high, would be in line with extra virgin oils produced in regions around the world from early-harvested olives.
However, an internationally-certified taste panel leader found the Gundry sample from the most recent harvest to be lampante — or unfit for human consumption — calling it “one of the worst oils I have ever assessed,” devoid of any positive attributes and exceedingly rancid.
Gundry lists extra virgin olive oil as the sole ingredient on the back of the bottle, but the front indicates “polyphenol-rich olive oil.” It’s therefore unclear, intentionally or not, whether the product is being represented as EVOO or as refined olive oil with additives to boost its phenolic composition.
Gundry’s website offers another product, “Chef’s Select,” from the same Moroccan source, which indicates extra virgin olive oil on the front label yet sells for 1/4 the Polyphenol-Rich oil price. When asked to explain the difference, a Gundry associate replied, “there is no hydroxytyrosol in the Chefs Select” — a surprising statement since any extra virgin olive oil has at least some of the compound.
Again, when Gundry explains that it would take a liter of “regular olive oil” every week to reach his recommended intake of phenols, he seems to be referring to refined oils. To suggest his olive oil boasts 30 times more polyphenols than any extra virgin olive oil would be patently false.
Yet that’s the reasoning behind the nearly $200-per-liter price tag of Gundry’s product when Moroccan extra virgin olive oil is trading for around $3.65 on a good day.
Gundry’s label also shows a three-year shelf-life, a rare and unscrupulous (though technically legal) practice that helps a producer sell oil well past its prime.
Joseph R. Profaci, executive director of the North American Olive Oil Association, said members of the group, including major American importers, are prohibited from indicating a three-year shelf-life on packaging “following clear guidance from the International Olive Council.”
And justifying a sky-high price for elevated phenolics levels (even if it were true) has its own problems.
Gundry claims “you can never get too many polyphenols” without citing evidence, contrary to some health experts who say that’s not the case.
“You get to a point, and sometimes early, that the high doses [of polyphenols] become hazardous,” Jim Kehrer of the pharmacy department at the University of Alberta in Edmonton said in an interview with CBC News.
“Advertisers have put forth the idea that a little is good, more is better, and a lot is great, but that isn’t really correct,” said Kehrer, who has been researching the effects of free radicals since the 1970s, according to CBC.
Gary Beauchamp, the president emeritus of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia who discovered and named the phenolic compound oleocanthal, said there is no evidence that more is always better when it comes to phenols, adding “it is reasonable to assume that there is a level of phenolics that would not be healthy to consume.”
Gundry, who is not an accredited dietician, came under criticism long before his foray into the olive oil business.
Robert H. Eckel, a past president of the American Heart Association, wrote in an article for the Center for Nutritional Studies that Gundry’s diet advice contradicts “every dietary recommendation represented by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association and so on” and that it is not possible to draw conclusions from Gundry’s research due to the absence of control patients in his studies.
“There is no detailed publication of his methods, his subjects, his results, or his intervention,” Eckel wrote, attributing Gundry’s unsubstantiated claims to “either willful negligence or astonishing incompetence.”
“I find it curious that MDs think they can function as a nutritionist,” said Mary Flynn, a nutritionist for Brown Medical School. “As an MD, his nutrition knowledge would be limited, so I guess he is just one more MD making money off the internet.”
In New Scientist, food writer and chef Anthony Warner called Gundry’s theories on nutrition “laughable” and unsupported by mainstream nutritional science.
Beauchamp, who first identified one of the most celebrated phenolics in extra virgin olive oil, said Gundry’s work seemed “very problematic” when asked about the advertised claims.
Hard-working producers of high-quality extra virgin olive oils worldwide have always struggled to differentiate their brands in a crowded marketplace rife with lesser products.
Undermining their efforts is the long-standing practice by mass merchants who use extra virgin olive oil as a loss-leader, suppressing prices and livelihoods.
Celebrity doctors and chefs routinely stumble through on-air mistruths, like a widely cited (and thoroughly debunked) refrigerator test to determine olive oil quality or a ludicrous see-through test for purity.
And there will always be snake oil salesman throwbacks who capitalize in the vacuum of consumer knowledge about a healthy, affordable and necessary commodity.
“We need to stop the spread of the false choice that olive oil is healthy only if it’s expensive,” Profaci wrote. “Such misinformation pushes consumers who can’t afford to pay $1 or $2 per tablespoon or even more to forgo the potential health benefits of olive oil entirely and opt instead for less healthy cooking oils. And it is especially objectionable when such misinformation comes from a physician who has sworn to do no harm.”
There are others following Gundry’s lead. A Los Angeles-based osteopath is selling Greek olive oil for $272 per liter, claiming it contains “plant-based superphenols,” whatever that means. (A trademark application for the meaningless term is pending.)
Gundry nevertheless enjoys a considerable following who gush with glowing testimonies of their changed lives on his YouTube channel and product pages.
If only the opportunistic doctor used his megaphone to spread truths, instead of adding to the abundant confusion about this vital product and subverting ethical producers and marketers’ efforts to educate the deserving public.
Curtis Cord is the founder and editor-in-chief of Olive Oil Times.
Squalene in Virgin Olive Oil May Help Tissue Repair
By ROSA GONZALEZ-LAMAS on October 22, 2018
Squalenes, a compound found in virgin olive oil, might help cicatrization and tissue repair according to a research study by the University of Jaén.
The role squalenes exert in the immunomodulation of proinflammatory macrophages suggests that this compound found in virgin olive oil might benefit tissue repair and the cicatrization of wounds.
This is the main finding of a research study undertaken by Spain’s University of Jaén to identify specific components of virgin olive oil that are responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties. This is an initial step to later ascertain whether they could be used to treat inflammatory diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
The conclusions of this study were detailed in the research article “Squalene Stimulates a Key Innate Immune Cell to Foster Wound Healing and Tissue Repair,” published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Squalene is the main minor compound of virgin olive oil, its main hydrocarbon and the major component of its nonsaponifiable fraction. It reacts against chemical, physical, bacterial, and exogenous stress signals, protecting the skin’s surface. The compound helps prevent skin damage and has anti-inflammatory properties which are presumed to be capable of preventing cancer, skin damage, and atherosclerotic lesions.
Virgin olive oils have high concentrations of squalene.
The study explored the role of squalenes exert on the proinflammatory responses of certain macrophages and concluded these are a natural product that might be beneficial at the last stage of wound closures because of their immunomodulation of macrophages. Macrophages are the main innate cells involved in repairing tissues and bringing inflammation to an end.
Two kinds of macrophages are involved in wound cicatrization: M1 and M2. M2 macrophages have anti-inflammatory properties and are key for the definitive healing of wounds. The interaction of M1 and M2 macrophages takes the healing process from infection to recovery; without squalenes, cicatrization will be deficient and tissue damage may occur.
According to the study, squalenes appear to act as a mediator in tissue remodeling and repair by promoting a switch from M1 into M2 macrophages, thereby recruiting immune cells and producing anti-inflammatory signals.
The study was led by José Juan Gaforio, professor of Immunology at the University of Jaén. Researchers from the University’s Center for Advanced Studies in Olive Groves and Olive Oils, and the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the University of Navarra also participated in the study.
A finding of the study was that squalene’s concentration levels may have an influence on how this compound behaves during the healing process. The report recommends to further study the behavior of squalenes in different concentrations to confirm if elevated squalene concentrations might be adverse, rather than beneficial.
Recently, squalenes have been used in several applications, including chemopreventive in several tumors. Years ago, the University of Jaén also conducted another study that suggested squalenes might help prevent breast cancer because they helped reduce oxidative damage upon epithelial cells.
Frequent Olive Oil Consumption May Reduce Risk of Blood Clots
By MARY WEST on March 18, 2019
In a recent study, the participants who consumed the most olive oil had the least platelet accumulation, which could lead to heart disease and stroke.
New research found eating olive oil at least once a week was associated with lower platelet activity in obese adults.
Since platelets are involved in blood clot formation, this effect could reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Olive oil is a vital part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to cardiovascular benefits.
Our study suggests that choosing to eat olive oil may have the potential to help modify that risk, potentially lowering an obese person's threat of having a heart attack or stroke.- Sean P. Heffron, assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine
Platelets are fragments of blood cells that bind together when activated. When a blood vessel suffers harm, platelets rush to the damaged site to form a plug; however, this beneficial process can become a threat to health.
Platelets also contribute to the formation of artery-clogging plaque, called atherosclerosis, which underlies the majority of heart attacks and strokes, Sean P. Heffron, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at New York University’s School of Medicine, explained.
SEE MORE: Olive Oil Health News
The participants in the study were 63 obese nonsmoking adults with an average age of 32 and an average body mass index (BMI) of 41. Anyone with a BMI of more than 30 is considered obese.
Heffron and his colleagues used food frequency questionnaires to determine how often the .,individuals consumed olive oil.
Analysis showed that participants who ate olive oil at least once a week had less platelet activation than those who ate it less frequently. In addition, those who consumed olive oil most often had the least level of platelet accumulation.
The research team believes that aside from the plentiful amount of antioxidants in olive oil, the anti-platelet action has something to do with the structure of its molecules.
“People who are obese are at increased risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event, even if they don’t have diabetes or other obesity-associated conditions,” Heffron said. “Our study suggests that choosing to eat olive oil may have the potential to help modify that risk, potentially lowering an obese person’s threat of having a heart attack or stroke.”
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess the effects of dietary composition, olive oil specifically, on platelet function in obese patients,” coauthor Ruina Zhang, a NYU medical student, added.
The study had several limitations. It relied on self-reporting of olive oil consumption, and it didn’t include information on the quantity consumed.
Moreover, because the investigation was observational, it showed a link rather than a cause-effect relationship. Results were recently presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2019.
In addition to platelet activation, other factors influence cardiovascular health, one of which is inflammation. Physician Nikola Djordjevic, founder and project manager of MedAlertHelp.org…, told Olive Oil Times how a component of olive oil helps remediate this condition.
“One of the best properties of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that makes up three-fourths of olive oil, is that it reduces inflammation,” she said. “This, in turn, is beneficial for the health of your arteries, as long-term inflammation can cause damage that leads to atherosclerosis. Thus, olive oil can play a major role in preventing heart disease and stroke.”
Olive Oil Reduces Arthritis Inflammation
While tasting extra-virgin olive oils in Sicily, Gary Beauchamp, PhD, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, noticed a ticklish, peppery sensation in the back of his throat. It was nearly identical to the “sting” he’d felt when swallowing a liquid form of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, during previous sensory studies. Beauchamp detected a connection between the olive oil and inflammation.
Further studies revealed that a compound in the oil, called oleocanthal, prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes – the same way ibuprofen works.
“By inhibiting these enzymes, inflammation and the increase in pain sensitivity associated with them is dampened,” says Paul Breslin, PhD, co-author of the 2011 study. Researchers found the intensity of the “throaty bite” in oil is directly related to the amount of oleocanthal it contains. “Virgin olive oils from Tuscany, or other regions that have the same variety of olives, have the highest oleocanthal levels,” says Breslin.
A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2015 looked specifically at the benefits of oleocanthal for rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers found that this compound had a significant impact not only on chronic inflammation but also on acute inflammatory processes.
More Than Inflammation
Extra-virgin olive oil has benefits beyond stemming inflammation. Several studies have shown benefits for heart health, bone loss and neurological diseases (affecting the brain, spine, muscles and connecting nerves). A study published in Molecules in 2014 discussed the effect of a component of the oil, called hydroxytyrosol, which had a protective effect on the neurological system. In an animal study published in the peer-reviewed journal, PLOSOne in 2014, researchers showed that when virgin olive oil was combined with vitamin D, it protected against bone loss. Another study, led by Dr. Francisco Perez-Jimenez of the University of Cordoba, Spain in 2005 showed that a compound found in the oil, called polyphenol, promoted heart health.
Getting The Full Benefits of Virgin Olive Oil
Researchers say that about 3 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil is equal to a 200-mg tablet of ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is widely used to help control pain and inflammation. But serious side effects can occur if it’s used for more than 10 days. Virgin olive oil may lessen how much you need to take, but talk to your doctor before changing your medication regimen.
Be aware that 3 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil has more than 400 calories. So, it’s a good idea to use in moderation so that excess calories don’t lead to weight gain.
Do not heat olive oil to high temperatures (about 410 degrees), because this kills some of the beneficial properties. At lower temperatures, you can sauté vegetables (300 degrees) or fry breaded items (340 degrees), and reap the benefits of switching out butter for olive oil. You can also use it at room temperature in salad dressings, as a dip for bread, or for tossing pasta or veggies.
Protect the oil’s healthful properties by keeping it in a cool, dark cupboard or pantry, but you can store in the fridge too. Don’t keep next to the stove. At the grocery store, choose the dark bottles and one that at the back of the shelf – it’s been shielded from the fluorescent light.
10 Teaspoons of Fresh High Quality EVOO a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Olive oil may help prevent and even fight breast cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, and published in the journal Carcinogenesis.
The researchers found that olive oil appeared to protect rat DNA from the damage that can lead to cancer. Furthermore, it seemed to deactivate key proteins required for the continued survival of breast cancer cells.
Because the benefits were only seen in rats who consumed olive oil over the long term, researcher Eduard Escrich recommends that everyone consume 50 milliliters (10 teaspoons) of high-quality, extra-virgin olive oil each day.
Previous studies have linked olive oil to a lowered risk of certain kinds of cancer. Olive oil is also a critical component of the Mediterranean diet, which is associated with a lower risk of not only cancer, but also heart disease and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
In another study, conducted by researchers from Barcelona's Insitut Municial d'Investigacion Medica and published in the journal FASEB, olive oil was found to hamper the activity of genes associated with the hardening of arteries characteristic of heart disease.
"Knowing which genes can be modulated by diet in a healthy way can help people select healthy foods," researcher Maria Isabel Covas said.
"This study is ground-breaking because it shows that olive oil and a Mediterranean diet affect our bodies in a far more significant way than previously believed," said Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of "FASEB."
The Mediterranean diet is high in fruit, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and fatsfrom nuts and olive oil. It is low in red meat and dairy, and alcohol (especially red wine) is consumed in moderation. Researchers believe that the healthy fats and antioxidants found in these foods may play a crucial role in the diet's benefits.
Another classic Mediterranean ingredient, garlic, has been found to destroy breast cancer cells in the laboratory.
Health Benefits Associated with Consuming Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Could a traditional food have pain- and inflammation-reducing effects similar to over the counter pain medicine like ibuprofen?
Scientists from Italy, Spain, the U.S. and Australia have discovered that extra virgin olive oil can provide significant health benefits, including the ability to help reduce pain and inflammation.
This robust, flavorful oil is an example of the food as medicine concept, that foods can have a powerful impact on health.
A Mythical, Sacred Oil
From ancient Greece to the Holy Land, olive oil has been treasured. Celebrated as sacred in Greek mythology, the olive branch symbolized peace in Hellenic culture. Evidence of this ancient oil was discovered in 1901 at the "Room of the Olive Press" at Knossos on the island of Crete in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. From there olives were pressed into oil over 4,500 years ago and the olive oil was exported to North Africa and mainland Greece.
Cultivation of olive trees spread around the Mediterranean where olive oil flourished along with many early civilizations. The bible speaks of olive oil, and it has been used by Christianity and Judaism as a holy anointing oil.
Today, the major producers of olive oil are Spain, Italy, Greece, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco and Syria.
But the growing popularity of olive oil can be seen in the spread of cultivation around the world to countries such as the U.S., Chile, and South Africa. Australia has become an energetic olive oil producer and exporter, and has just announced a record crop.
During travels with my family from the south of France to Tuscany to Greece I have witnessed the special beauty of the olive tree and tasted its fruit. Able to withstand heat, sun and survive on only a little moisture, the hardy olive tree became an icon of the Mediterranean region. Freezing temperatures, however, can harm the trees and the crop.
Eating Healthy With Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil can contribute nutritional support in the fight against such health problems as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and in pain management.
A research study from Spain has shown that higher olive oil consumption is associated with leaner body weight, an important factor in prevention of chronic conditions.
Another study from the universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain looked at how diets including olive oil might offer protection against depression: Bad Fats Linked to Depression
Natural Painkiller Discovered in Olive Oil
Recent research has identified the antioxidant called oleocanthal, which is only found in extra-virgin olive oil. Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia, found that oleocanthal in olive oil has a potency strikingly similar to that of the drug ibuprofen in inhibiting the cyclooxygenase (Cox) enzyme that causes pain and inflammation. Their findings were published in the science magazine Nature.
Given the side effects of common pain relieving drugs, finding a nutritional way to reduce pain and inflammation could be a solution for people suffering from pain.
In another study Italian researchers explain that the characteristic pungent and bitter taste of virgin olive oil have been attributed to phenols in the oil that have potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive and anti-cancer benefits.
Research on Health Benefits of Olive Oil
At the meeting of the "International conference on the healthy effect of virgin olive oil" that took place in Spain in 2005, numerous benefits of virgin olive oil from the research were outlined. They looked at the consumption of olive oil from the perspective of issues such as cardiovascular health, cancer and longevity. With respect to anti-aging they noted: "The more recent studies consistently support that the Mediterranean diet, based in virgin olive oil, is compatible with a healthier ageing and increased longevity."
Consumption of olive oil has been associated with:
Reduction of total cholesterol and an increase in the high-density cholesterol (HDL-C), which has a protective effect on blood vessels.
Improved sensitivity of cells to insulin, which helps to prevent the Metabolic Syndrome. Preventing Metabolic Syndrome is important, because the syndrome increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Potent Antioxidant Power of Olive Oil
Phenolic compounds are potent antioxidants found in virgin and extra-virgin olive oil. These compounds give unrefined olive oils their distinctive flavors and high degree of stability.
Studies indicate these compounds may be able to:
Turn off the activity of genes that produce the kind of inflammation that causes coronary heart disease.
Decrease production of inflammatory chemicals called thromboxanes and leukotrienes.
Decrease the production of the most damaging form of cholesterol, oxidized LDL cholesterol.
University of South Australia researchers note that compounds from the olive were found to be antimicrobial against various bacteria.
And olive oil is just the beginning of anti-inflammatory foods. Learn more about fighting pain and inflammation in my article: Natural Anti- Inflammatory Foods and Supplements That Help Arthritis
Enjoying Olive Oil
The research studies focus on the benefits of extra-virgin olive oil, so this is what I always buy. I look for organic oil that has been grown without pesticides. Freshness counts, so I like shop where they sell a lot of oil, such as a big health food store. Store it in a cool place.
The amount of olive oil associated with protection against inflammation is only two teaspoons a day, which is easy to achieve. A sprinkle of olive oil makes a simple salad dressing, and a little oil can be used for dipping bread, instead of butter. Olive oil can also be used in baking.
Here is a popular tangy and sweet recipe from my book The Fat Resistance Diet, an anti-inflammatory dietary program.
7 Reasons to Give Olive Oil to Your Dog
1. It helps the eater lose weight
Whether canine or human, if there are some unwanted pounds that need shedding, olive oil will help grease the weight-loss engine. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil actually encourage pound-melting by breaking down the fat inside fat cells, to get rid of belly fat and reduce insulin sensitivity.
2. It promotes optimal health
Rich in monounsaturated fats, olive oil prevents and lessens the effects of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It contains oleic acid, in addition to some compounds (squalene and terpenoids) that are believed to be effective in preventing cancer, which kills a staggering 50 percent of dogs over age 10.
3. It defends the immune system which may extend canine longevity
With high levels of antioxidants including polyphenols, vitamin E, and carotenoids, olive oil is very effective at arming the body's immune system so it can efficiently fight off disease. Olive oil prevents free radical cell oxidation which can lead to premature aging, this is especially important as canines’ transition from one season to another.
4. It’s a brain food
Olive oil helps prevent the cognitive decline associated with aging in all species, so be sure to serve it to senior dogs at least once daily, to keep their minds sharp and cloud-free.
5. It provides an energy boost
Olive oil can help improve canine circulation as well! Circulation improves, and breathing comes more easily with a daily dose of olive oil -- it helps increase blood flow and in humans, lessens the effects of asthma. It can be of particular benefit to breeds such as the Bulldog who sometimes struggle to breathe.
6. It’s a beauty treatment
Long used to beautify human hair and skin, olive oil can do the same for canines. Condition your dog's coat from the inside out with a daily serving, which helps to impart moisture and gleam to even the driest, dullest fur.
7. It’s good for maintaining joint and bone health
Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. As an anti-inflammatory, regular doses of olive oil in a dog’s diet can help reduce the amount of pain and stiffness that an aging dog feels. The omega-3 fatty acids in olive oil can aid in joint lubrication as well. Additionally, it’s a safe and economical alternative to many drug therapies.
Phenolic Compound in EVOO May Be Beneficial for Parkinson’s Disease
A new study found that tyrosol delayed neurodegeneration and contributed to a longer lifespan in worms by reducing oxidative stress and inducing the expression of different protective genes.
The pioneering study, which was carried out by researchers from the University of Jaén and the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research, examined the effects of tyrosol on Caenorhabditis elegans worms with various forms of Parkinsonism.
The research team discovered that worms treated with tyrosol enjoyed a significantly longer lifespan of around 21.33 days compared to untreated worms whose average lifespan was just 18.67 days.
It was also noted that worms treated with tyrosol benefited from 80 percent of dopaminergic neurons being intact at two weeks of age compared to just 45.33 percent in untreated ones. This was an important finding as the loss of these neurons is a trademark of Parkinson’s disease.
The tyrosol treatment was also noted to significantly reduce the levels of molecules associated with damaging DNA and cellular structures. While untreated worms averaged 124.5 of these molecules, the tyrosol treated creatures had a much lower average of around 12.06. These figures suggested that the tyrosol treatment had been effective in reducing neurodegeneration.
The overall results suggested that the tyrosol treatment had had an effective antioxidant effect on the study’s worms with the treatment significantly increasing the expression of some proteins; including heat shock proteins which are known to assist cells in protecting themselves from damage.
The tyrosol treatment also substantially reduced the number of clumps of the alpha protein synuclein (an indicator of Parkinson’s disease) to 22.63 per worm in treated creatures compared to 58.72 per worm in untreated ones.
While it was noted that the treated worms ability to move independently was significantly better on the ninth day of its life, at no other points in time was there a notable difference. It was also reported that both treated and untreated worms developed paralysis by the time they reached 11 days old.
In an earlier study by the same research team, it was discovered that tyrosol delayed aging, increased life spans and reduced markers of cellular stress in worms. This study inspired the team to investigate if the phenol could be beneficial to neurodegenerative conditions, particularly Parkinson’s disease.
In 2016, Olive Oil Times reported on a study which found that phenols found in extra virgin olive oil provided antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to the brain and offered neuroprotective activity against diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
The beneficial effects of extra virgin olive oil have been attributed to its high levels of antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids, with tyrosol, in particular, being acknowledged for its antioxidant properties.