A new study has revealed that extra-vir­gin olive oil can pro­tect the liver from oxida­tive stress.

As part of the study, sci­en­tists exposed rats to a mod­er­ately toxic her­bi­cide known to deplete antiox­i­dants and cause oxida­tive stress, find­ing that those rats fed on a diet con­tain­ing the olive oil were par­tially pro­tected from the result­ing liver dam­age.

Mohamed Hammami from the University of Monastir, Tunisia and King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, worked with a team of researchers to carry out the exper­i­ments in a group of 80 rats.
See more: Olive Oil Health Benefits
He said, “Olive oil is an inte­gral ingre­di­ent in the Mediterranean diet. There is grow­ing evi­dence that it may have great health ben­e­fits includ­ing the reduc­tion in coro­nary heart dis­ease risk, the pre­ven­tion of some can­cers and the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of immune and inflam­ma­tory responses. Here, we’ve shown that extra vir­gin olive oil and its extracts pro­tect against oxida­tive dam­age of hepatic tis­sue.”

The study appeared in BioMed Central’s open access jour­nal Nutrition and Metabolism.

The researchers sep­a­rated the rats into a con­trol group, an olive oil group, and 6 groups that were exposed to the her­bi­cide ‘2,4‑Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid’ with or with­out either whole olive oil, or one of two oil extracts – the hydrophilic frac­tion or the lipophilic frac­tion. All rats given the her­bi­cide showed signs of sig­nif­i­cant liver dam­age.

However, extra vir­gin olive oil and hydrophilic frac­tion intake induced a sig­nif­i­cant increase in antiox­i­dant enzyme activ­ity and a decrease in mark­ers of liver dam­age.

Speaking about the results, Hammami said, “The hydrophilic frac­tion of olive oil seems to be the effec­tive one in reduc­ing toxin-induced oxida­tive stress, indi­cat­ing that hydrophilic extract may exert a direct antiox­i­dant effect on hepatic cells. However, more detailed stud­ies about the effect of antiox­i­dant com­pounds sep­a­rately and/​or their inter­ac­tions are nec­es­sary to sub­stan­ti­ate these obser­va­tions.”


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