One of the foundational ingredients to the Mediterranean diet are olives and their oil, which is rich in heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats. Extracts made from the leaves of the olive plant also find their way into sports supplements due to their wide array of benefits, with many similar to those present in olives.
What it does
Olive leaf extract has received considerable attention for its beneficial impact on cardiovascular health. This comes as no surprise as olive tree leaves have been used for centuries in the treatment of atherosclerosis, hypertension, fever, diabetes, and various wounds.
A number of studies find that supplementation with olive leaf extract may help improve lipid pro les (reduce total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglyceride levels) as well as reduce blood pressure. Other research indicates that olive leaf extract may help combat type 2 diabetes by helping to improve insulin secretion in cells and lower blood sugar levels.
Animal studies also suggest that olive leaf extract may support weight loss by modulating the expression of genes that impact weight gain and help limit food intake.
How it works
Olive leaves contain a potent phenolic compound called oleuropein which is largely responsible for the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of olive leaf extract. Oleuropein has also been noted to offer anti-atherogenic, antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-aging, and neuroprotective effects.
Researchers attribute the blood-pressure-lowering effects of olive leaf extract to its ability to inhibit ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme). ACE is an enzyme that plays a role in the renin-angiotensin system, which impacts blood pressure by regulating how relaxed blood vessels are. Inhibiting ACE activity promotes greater dilation and arterial flexibility, allowing for better blood flow, and thus lower blood pressure.
Lastly, oleuropein may promote fat loss due to its ability to increase uncoupling protein 1 (UCP-1) content in brown adipose tissue (brown fat) and enhance noradrenaline release.
Human studies typically give participants between 500–1,000 mg per day of a standard olive leaf extract, standardized for oleuropein or oleacein.
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