Evidence for Bioactivity of Virgin Olive Oil


Parkinson and Cicerale review possible biological mechanisms of action of Virgin Olive Oil in this open access article (Creative Commons by 4.0).

They reference a reported ancient tradition in the use of Virgin Olive Oil

Hippocrates mentions approximately 60 health conditions where VOO use can be beneficial

The authors reference the Seven Countries Study and outline many constituents of olive oil including

phenolic acids, phenolic alcohols, secoiridoids, hydroxy-isocromans, flavonoids and lignans

Much of the research they reference has been undertaken on the phenolics and the authors look at studies which have investigated the bioavailability of these compounds.

The authors reference studies investigating the relationship of these compounds to physiological and pathological processes. Many of the studies are in vitro.

The authors discuss the limitations of the studies. There is variation in the constituents of olive oil products, in vitro studies do not necessarily translate into in vivo studies and there is a complex interaction between constituents of the food matrix.

Nevertheless a valuable function of the review is to identify models of how olive oil may act biologically and such models can be combined with epidemiological data to generate hypotheses for testing.

I found table 1 to be particularly interesting as it references some of the in vitro work that has been done around neurofibrillary tangles. Neurofibrillary tangles are central to key models of Alzheimer’s Disease. The authors also look at some of the in vitro studies of inflammation and atherosclerosis.

The authors have provided a detailed and useful overview of the literature in this area which can support the development of pathophysiological models in a range of conditions.

Appendix – Full Citation

Parkinson L, Cicerale S. The Health Benefiting Mechanisms of Virgin Olive Oil
Phenolic Compounds. Molecules. 2016 Dec 16;21(12). pii: E1734. doi: 10.3390/molecules21121734. Review. PubMed PMID: 27999296.

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Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Conflicts of Interest: *For potential conflicts of interest please see the About section.



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