New Study Suggests Olive Leaf Extract Could Help Treat Type 2 Diabetes

A recent study from Turkey appears to confirm earlier reports that olive leaf extract could be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

Olive leaf extract in capsule form.
Jan. 10, 2020
By Julie Al-Zoubi
Olive leaf extract in capsule form.

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A study pub­lished in the American Journal of Plant Sciences sug­gested that olive leaf extract could play a role in treat­ing Type 2 dia­betes by help­ing to bal­ance blood sugar.

The study was led by pro­fes­sor Abdurrahim Koçyiğit from Istanbul’s Fatih Sultan Mehmet University who told the Daily Sabah news­pa­per that the main issue with Type 2 dia­betes was insulin resistance.

The study is merely a report of alter­ation in insulin recep­tor activ­ity in the test tube. As insulin recep­tor func­tion is nor­mal in Type 2 dia­betes (despite much con­fus­ing infor­ma­tion) this is not sup­port­ive of a role in treat­ment or pre­ven­tion.- Roy Taylor, pro­fes­sor at the Newcastle University the dia­betes research center

According to Koçyiğit, although suf­fer­ers of Type 2 dia­betes gen­er­ally have higher than nor­mal insulin lev­els most of the time, they also dis­play high blood sugar lev­els. He attrib­uted this to a lack of insulin recep­tors which pre­vents glu­cose from enter­ing cells and being metabolized.

Koçyiğit sug­gested that polyphe­nols sourced from olive leaves can increase insulin sen­si­tiv­ity and activ­ity, as well as improv­ing pan­cre­atic respon­sive­ness to assist the body in bet­ter metab­o­liz­ing sugar.

See Also: Olive Oil Health Benefits

The study con­firmed that olive leaves had antimi­cro­bial, anti­hy­per­ten­sive and anti-inflam­ma­tory prop­er­ties. It was noted that the anti-hyper­glycemic ben­e­fits of the leaves were greater in extract form than when brewed as a type of tea.

In 2017, Olive Oil Times reported on a study from Iraq which sug­gested olive leaf extract held promise as a safe and eco­nom­i­cal alter­na­tive to con­trol dia­betes and hyper cho­les­terol disorders.

The poten­tial of olive leaf polyphe­nols for reduc­ing the risk of devel­op­ing Type 2 dia­betes also came to light in a 2013 study which sug­gested that the extract improved insulin sen­si­tiv­ity and pan­cre­atic β‑cell secre­tory capac­ity in over­weight mid­dle-aged men who were at risk of devel­op­ing the disease.

Koçyiğit did not respond to a request for com­ment on the study. However, Roy Taylor, a pro­fes­sor at the dia­betes research cen­ter at Newcastle University, told Olive Oil Times that olive leaf extract may not play an impor­tant role in the treat­ment or pre­ven­tion of Type 2 diabetes.

The study is merely a report of alter­ation in insulin recep­tor activ­ity in the test tube,” he said. As insulin recep­tor func­tion is nor­mal in Type 2 dia­betes (despite much con­fus­ing infor­ma­tion) this is not sup­port­ive of a role in treat­ment or prevention.”

However, olive oil can be ben­e­fi­cial pro­vided it is seen as an alter­na­tive to ani­mal fats,” he added. In itself, I know of no sound evi­dence that it con­fers any spe­cial ben­e­fit, and if taken in addi­tion to nor­mal eat­ing it will lead to weight gain.”

For Koçyiğit’s research, mature leaves were gath­ered from an olive tree in Turkey’s west­ern province of Tekirdag for a year-long cell cul­ture study.

After exper­i­ment­ing with var­i­ous extrac­tion meth­ods, the research team con­cluded that using methanol was the most effec­tive method of obtain­ing a highly con­cen­trated, stan­dard­ized and sta­ble form of the polyphe­nol oleu­ropein. (This was also cited as the best extrac­tion method dur­ing an ear­lier study in Iraq.)

It was noted that fur­ther tri­als on ani­mals and humans were required to ascer­tain cor­rect dosages for achiev­ing max­i­mum ben­e­fits and reduc­ing any risks.

Koçyiğit claimed that dis­cus­sion with doc­tors had shown that dia­bet­ics favored olive leaf prod­ucts over other health sup­ple­ments and sug­gested that even dia­bet­ics who did not con­sider olive leaf as being ben­e­fi­cial to their Type 2 dia­betes believed it deliv­ered other health ben­e­fits.





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