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.
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.
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 more: 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.