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Olive extract

Olive Extract Protects Against Neurodegenerative Disorders

Thursday, May 01, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: olive extract, health news, Natural News


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(NewsTarget) An extract derived from olives may provide protection against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, according to a study published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry."

Researchers examined the effect of an antioxidant chemical known as hydroxytyrosol, which has previously been shown to be connected to the health benefits of olive oil, such as LDL ("bad") cholesterol reduction and cancer prevention.

In one test, the researchers added oxidative stressors to the brain cells of mice in a laboratory setting. These stressors, such as iron ions and a nitric oxide donor, are damaging to cells because of their oxidizing effects. For some of the cells, researchers also added an olive extract rich in hydroxytyrosol. Among the cells to which only the stressors were added, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) was reduced by 40 percent. In the cells treated with olive extract, ATP was only reduced by 15 percent. This effect was achieved at hydroxytyrosol concentrations as low as 0.01 milligrams per milliliter.

ATP is a primary energy source for cells, transporting chemical energy for internal cell metabolism.

In a second test, the same team of researchers examined how effectively hydroxytyrosol from different sources was absorbed by the body and penetrated brain cells. One of the sources was the wastewater from olive mills.

According to the researchers, a 45.5 percent hydroxytyrosol extract was able to decrease the effects of oxidative stress in dissociated brain cells (DBC).

"Polyphenols are being associated to exerting neuronal biological activities and brain biomarkers reflecting antioxidant response," said Pablo Baena, head of research and development at Genosa, the Spanish company that supplied the olive extract for the study. "Hydroxytyrosol is a low weight molecule with a significant antioxidant potential by acting as a free radical scavenger and non-toxic to DBC under the current experimental design."

In a prior study, researchers from the University of Barcelona found that consuming as little as 25 milliliters (0.85 fluid ounces) of virgin olive oil each day led to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol after only a week.

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