`Extra Virgin Olive Oil a Potential Functional Food for Colitis

Food & Cooking

Extra Virgin Olive Oil a Potential Functional Food for Colitis

Feb. 11, 2013
Elena Paravantes

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In a recent study, Span­ish researchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Seville observed a pos­i­tive effect of extra vir­gin olive oil on col­i­tis. Col­i­tis is a con­di­tion char­ac­ter­ized by inflam­ma­tion of the large intes­tine caus­ing many and often painful gas­troin­testi­nal symp­toms. Ulcer­a­tive col­i­tis is a form of col­i­tis that affects the lin­ing of the large intes­tine and its pres­ence increases the risk of colon can­cer. The cause of it is unknown but may be related to the immune sys­tem.

For this study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Nutri­tional Bio­chem­istry, the researchers tested the effects of extra vir­gin olive oil as well as extra vir­gin olive oil polyphe­nol extracts on lab­o­ra­tory ani­mals induced with col­i­tis that pro­gressed to severe chronic col­i­tis.

The researchers eval­u­ated the Dis­ease activ­ity index (DAI) a series of mea­sure­ments of symp­toms, and also deter­mined inflam­ma­tion of the intes­tine by his­to­log­i­cal and bio­chem­i­cal analy­sis. The results showed that the EVOO and EVOO+ EVOO polyphe­nol extracts both had a sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive effect on sev­eral pro­teins involved in the dis­ease with less his­to­log­i­cal signs of dam­age com­pared to a stan­dard diet. In addi­tion, there was a much higher reduc­tion of iNOS, an enzyme that is expressed dur­ing inflam­ma­tory reac­tions with the EVOO enriched with polyphe­nol extracts.

The researchers con­cluded that extra vir­gin olive oil and its polyphe­nol extracts could improve chronic col­i­tis, but also could be used as a func­tional food for this dis­ease.

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