Olive Leaf Extract. Everyone’s seen those ads for extra super never-been-kissed virgin olive oil.
The ones starring the twelve thousand year old mediterranean couple with skin looser than a neopolitan mastiff, and more wrinkles than Gordon Ramsey’s forehead.
They’d have you believe olive oil makes you immortal if it sold more bottles of it, but there’s something in the health claims about olives, even if it’s not everlasting life as a human turtle.
Olive leaf extract has been popping up in all sorts of health supplements, from diet pills to herbal health tonics.
No-one loves the idea of life-extension more than hypochondriacs with more money than sense, but if the science is anything to go by, the Romans might be on to something after all.
Primarily, it appears to be a potent protector against LDL oxidation. We’ll talk about that in more detail, but suffice it to say that this mechanism alone could be a major factor in preventing diet and age related heart disease.
Olive Leaf Extract for Heart and Cardio Vascular Health
Olive leaves contain a high concentration of bioactive compounds called phenolics.
Phenolics can prevent LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) from being oxidized, which technically puts them firmly in the antioxidant category, but their specific effect on LDL makes them particularly useful.
Low Density Lipoprotein’s nickname is “Bad Cholesterol”. If your cholesterol balance is higher in LDL and lower in HDL (High Density Lipoprotein), you aren’t in very good shape.
That’s because the oxidation of LDL is what makes it “bad”. It results in the hardening and narrowing of arteries and blood vessels due to the deposits of a material called plaque.
If someone you know has had stents put in their arteries to widen them, or flat out bypass surgery, then it might be because of their LDL levels and the oxidation thereof.
The disease associated with plaque build-up is called Atherosclerosis, and it is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths a year. Live long enough, and between cancer and atherosclerosis, one of them will get you in the end.
Atherosclerotic plaque is made of cholesterol deposits, fat and other substances taken from your blood by highly reactive free radicals, the devil children of metabolism and the toxic air we might inhale.
So, back to olive leaf extracts and how they reduce LDL oxidation, which in-turn reduces plaque build-up, which lowers your risk of atherosclerosis, and ultimately and untimely death from a catastrophic heart attack.
To put a qualifier on the claims, there have been several scientific studies including some involving patients with coronary heart disease, and the phenolic compounds demonstrated potent effects.
Secondary to the oxidation prevention, olive leaf extract can actually improve your lipid profile by reducing LDL count and increasing HDL (the “good cholesterol”) although this occurs at less significance than the antioxidant effect.
Blood pressure was reduced notably for people suffering from hypertension, and one study even involved patients with stage 1 hypertension.“DID YOU KNOW: Olive leaf extract protects your arteries from plaque build-up and prevents damage to your DNA”Click To Tweet
Olive Leaf Extract for Other Benefits
Long term heart health is definitely the reason to supplement Olive Leaf but there are other benefits that come with it.
Of note is its regulating effect on blood sugar levels, making it a possible additional preventative measure to avoid type II diabetes, or even help reverse it.
DNA damage is reduced notably as well, another antioxidant effect that helps reduce the risk of many high mortality diseases.
How To Use Olive Leaf Extract
The phenolics from olive leaves are effective at relatively low doses, allowing for their inclusion in capsule supplements with enough room to spare for other ingredients.
Whether you get it as a stand alone product or it is included in the formula of a multi-ingredient supplement, it is effective for combatting LDL oxidation at very low quantities.
In fact, you can get the (LDL) antioxidant benefit from including virgin olive oil and its products in your diet.
Olive Leaf Extract Dosage
To really squeeze all the benefits from the olive, it’s best to take about 500mg of olive leaf extract per day.
Anything up to 1000mg is completely fine to use, but if your supplement contains 10mg or more, you will still get the benefit of reduced LDL oxidation. The higher doses will trigger the other benefits mentioned here.
Olive Leaf Side Effects
Doses of a gram (1000mg) for weeks on end have been used in studies without any observable side effects.
There is no reason to suspect any negative side effects will occur, and even if you are allergic to the pollen of olive plants, it is unlikely you are allergic to the phenolics or olive leaf extract in the supplements.
Olive Leaf Extract Conclusion
It’s a well known fact that olive oil confers health benefits and it stands to reason that areas of the world where olive products are a staple part of the populations’ diet should have lower incidences of heart disease.
Hopefully what you can take from this article is that you don’t need a whole lot of olive leaf extract or even olive oil in your diet to avail of the benefits, at least not the main benefit which we want most of all anyway.
If you drizzle extra virgin olive oil on your salads, then power to you, because you are doing your body a massive favour.
For those of you who want to ensure you are getting a good amount of the phenolics into your system, and if you can spare the cash, get a supplement containing a few hundred milligrams of olive leaf extract.
You never know, you might end up on an Olivio advert one day.