Last Updated June 13th, 2021
What is olive leaf extract?
Olive leaf extracts are prepared from olive leaves. It is a package of various benefits. There are two major biphenyls present in it: oleuropein & phenolic compounds. Various stress-related conditions that are processed by the body result in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). They damage every cell or molecule. Antioxidants in olive leaf extracts are compounds that combat ROS and protect the cells.
The many health benefits of olive leaf extract
It offers protection from infections
Studies show that olive leaf extract inhibits influenza virus multiplication. It is also researched for treating Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections as well. Components of olive leaf extracts suppress the genes associated with viral proteins. The olive leaf extracts are also shown to enhance the activity of the genes involved in killing such pathogens.
It also enhances the immune system. It triggers the process of phagocytosis. Phagocytosis is a response where the immune cells engulf the infectious agent and kill the pathogens. Olive leaf extracts also reduce inflammation. It suppresses the pathways and enzymes involved in inflammation. Gargling with olive leaf tea helps in treating sore throat.
Anticancer effects of olive leaf extract
The compounds in olive leaf extracts exhibit antioxidant and anticancer effects. Here, these antioxidant compounds counter cancer generated ROS damages. A study was done on breast cancer cells where olive leaf extracts was used on the subjects. These flavonoids triggered the production of alien enzymes. This suppressed the tumor cell growth and proliferation as it damaged the DNA and cell replication machinery.
Another study showed that the compound apigenin in olive leaf extract suppresses the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting the inflammatory response. The compound oleuropein is also toxic to cancer cells. Here, it induces the pathways that are involved in cell death. Thus, overall olive leaf extract has strong anti-cancer potential.
Defeat diabetes with olive leaf extract
There are pieces of evidence suggesting the use of olive leaves as a natural alternative to curb diabetes. Scientists observed that the olive leaf extract help in minimizing insulin resistance. A study also depicted that insulin resistance decreased by 15% and improved insulin production from the pancreas by about 18%. The phenolic compounds in olive leaf extract slow the sugar production.
They also help in enhancing the uptake of glucose by the cells thereby minimizing glucose spike in the blood. Components of the olive leaf extract inhibit the enzyme activity of pancreatic amylase. This enzyme is involved in the breakdown of starch into simpler forms of glucose units. The compounds in the extract (oleuropein and tannins) defeat the activity of the enzyme alpha-glucosidase (an enzyme that breaks down complex carbs to simple glucose units). This prevents the sugar spike in the blood post food consumption.
Healthy heart via olive leaf extract
Any obstacles in the flow of blood or any constriction in the blood flow leads to an increase in the blood pressure. Cholesterol accumulates in these blood capillaries and thus narrows down the passage for the blood flow and this increases the blood pressure.
Research shows that the components of olive leaf extracts lower the chances of high blood pressure (hypertension) from occurring in the first place. The antioxidants in olive leaf extracts sequester the bile acids and excrete them. This lowers cholesterol levels effectively. Reports also show that olive leaf extracts prevent the breakdown of the endothelial cells thus maintains healthy blood circulation. The components of olive leaf extracts also help in the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide aids in dilating the blood vessels and thus decreases the blood pressure.
Olive leaf extract can prevent bone weakening
Old bone cells get chipped away and are replaced by new ones. The process of chipping away of old bone cells is called osteoclastogenesis. If this rate flares up, the bone strength reduces drastically. The polyphenols in the olive leaf extract prevent osteoporosis. There are reports that the compound in genistein in olive leaves suppress osteoclastogenesis.
Olive leaves contain phenolic compounds such as tyrosol, apigenin, oleuropein, and hydroxytyrosol. The compound hydroxytyrosol is a strong antioxidant. There are cases where ROS damage on the bones can give rise to osteoclastogenesis. Hydroxytyrosol in the olive leaf extract decreases the level of ROS and prevents the breakdown of bone metabolism. Compounds such as oleuropein stimulate the process of This is a process for bone formation.
Olive leaf extract also prevents neurodegeneration
The brain is more susceptible to ROS damage because the brain uses about 20% of the body’s oxygen. This damage is the underlying reason for other neurodegenerative complications like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.
There is an important factor called Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) in the cell that gets switched on when the ROS levels increase. These factors induce a set of reactions leading to cell death. Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that results due to buildup of the abnormal protein called beta-amyloid. This abnormal protein accumulation prevents nerve cells from communicating with each other. ROS production adds more to the damage. Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme that destroys acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a chemical involved in nerve cell signaling. Polyphenols in the olive leaf extracts act as acetylcholinesterase
Improvement in cognitive function
Compounds such as oleuropein, hydroxytyrosoltyrosol, verbascoside, etc., in olive leaf extract play a major role in improving cognition. These polyphenols also awaken your body’s antioxidant machinery and protect the brain from neurodegeneration.
Reduce your wrinkles with olive leaf extract
The ROS damage also causes damage to the skin cells causing skin wrinkling, etc. ROS levels increase with an increase in age. The compound oleuropein in olive leaf extracts is highly antioxidant in nature. This protects the skin cells from the ROS damage. This compound minimizes the redness of the skin (or skin erythema) too.
The compounds in the extract enhance the protein production and thus, help in skin repair. The wrinkles will smoothen up eventually. Oleuropein also has antimicrobial properties and protects the skin from microbial infection. The reduction in inflammation and reduction of ROS induced damage helps in improving the blood flow to the skin.
Other uses of olive leaf extract
- It helps in treating toothache.
- It heals joint pain
- Can help boost energy levels
- Promotes wound healing.
- Reduces binge eating tendencies.
Are there any side-effects?
Olive leaf extracts are available commercially in the form of powders and pills. It is better to consult a doctor first before you consume them. Here are some of the probable side effects that can you might experience:
- Erythema multiforme
- Rash or hives
- Nausea & vomiting
- Pharyngeal edema (abnormal swelling in the throat)
- Abdominal pain
The final outcome…
Olive leaf extracts are antioxidant rich. They also possess anti-inflammatory properties and this forms the sole basis for a wide range of benefits. These extracts must not be consumed for more than 4 weeks in continuity. The health benefits that sprout from these extracts go a long way in healing different disorders that affect the vital regions of the body including the brain and the heart. Side effects such as vomiting, cough, etc., can be caused in some people who might be allergic to it. Practice caution before you begin the use of olive leaf extract supplements.
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