Scientists discover olive oil directly impacts genes to halt inflammation
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
(NaturalNews) Research has been steadily accumulating that olive oil, a
main component of the Mediterranean diet, has extensive
health-protective properties. For example, phytonutrient components of
olive oil have been found to be effective against breast cancer cells (http://www.naturalnews.com/025633_c…)
and studies suggest the abundance of olive oil in the Mediterranean
style of eating may be the reason that diet helps prevent depression (http://www.naturalnews.com/027265_d…). Now scientists have discovered that phenolic compounds in olive oil directly repress genes linked to inflammation.
This could be especially important in halting the dangerous effects of metabolic syndrome. Characterized by excess abdominal fat, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood glucose levels, metabolic syndrome is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and early death.
Research published in the journal BMC Genomics investigated changes in genes mediated by olive oil
phenols (which are most abundant in the extra-virgin varieties of olive
oil). The double-blind, randomized study, headed by Francisco
Perez-Jimenez from the University of Cordoba, involved 20 research
subjects, all with metabolic syndrome. For six weeks, the patients did
not take any supplements or drugs and they were all placed on similar
low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diets. Then, for breakfast,
they ate either a breakfast containing virgin olive oil with a high
content of phenolic compounds or a similar breakfast with low phenol
The research team took blood samples after the meals to
check for the expression of over 15,000 human genes. The results? The
high phenol olive oil clearly impacted the regulation of almost 100
genes — many of which have been linked to obesity, high blood fat levels, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
identified 98 differentially expressed genes when comparing the intake
of phenol-rich olive oil with low-phenol olive oil. Several of the
repressed genes are known to be involved in pro-inflammatory processes,
suggesting that the diet can switch the activity of immune system cells
to a less deleterious inflammatory profile, as seen in metabolic
syndrome," Dr. Perez-Jimenez said in a statement to the press. "These
findings strengthen the relationship between inflammation, obesity and
diet and provide evidence at the most basic level of healthy effects
derived from virgin olive oil consumption in humans."
ability of olive oil’s phenolic compounds to reduce or prevent
inflammation also provides a molecular basis for the reduction of heart
disease observed in Mediterranean countries, where virgin olive oil
represents a main source of dietary fat.
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