Health

Olive Oil May Help Prevent and Treat Brain Cancer, Study Shows

It is no secret that eating olive oil and using it topically has countless benefits, including the prevention of strokes and diabetes. Now, researchers say it may even help break down malignant tumors.

Jun. 5, 2017
By Hannah Anain

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The School of Bio­log­i­cal Sci­ences at the Uni­ver­sity of Edin­burgh released the excit­ing results of a recent study that could do won­ders for can­cer research.

Our find­ings do sug­gest that oleic acid can sup­port the pro­duc­tion of tumor-sup­press­ing mol­e­cules in cells grown in the lab.- Grac­jan Mich­lewski, Uni­ver­sity of Edin­burg

Under the fund­ing of the Med­ical Research Coun­cil and the Well­come Trust, the university’s sci­en­tists were ana­lyz­ing the effect of oleic acid on miR‑7, an active cell mol­e­cule in the brain and a tumor sup­pres­sor that tar­gets crit­i­cal can­cer path­ways.
See more: Olive Oil Health Ben­e­fits
They dis­cov­ered that oleic acid, which is found in foods such as avo­ca­dos, nuts, sesame oil, and of course, olive oil, pre­vents a cell pro­tein known as MSI2 from stop­ping pro­duc­tion of miR‑7.

In stim­u­lat­ing the pro­duc­tion of miR, oleic acid helps pre­vent tumors from form­ing and may help break them down while they are still small. Researchers made their dis­cov­er­ies while test­ing on human cell extracts and on liv­ing HeLa cells in the lab, prov­ing the pro­teins in oleic acid to be ben­e­fi­cial to human cells.

Grac­jan Mich­lewski, a pro­fes­sor and researcher at the university’s school of bio­log­i­cal sci­ences and the leader of the study, said that the research sug­gests that oleic acid could help the pro­duc­tion of mol­e­cules sup­press­ing tumors and there­fore could help pre­vent and pos­si­bly fight can­cer.

While we can­not yet say that olive oil in the diet helps pre­vent brain can­cer, our find­ings do sug­gest that oleic acid can sup­port the pro­duc­tion of tumor-sup­press­ing mol­e­cules in cells grown in the lab. Fur­ther stud­ies could help deter­mine the role that olive oil might have in brain health,” Mich­lewski said.

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Mich­lewski worked along­side San­tosh Kumar and Angela Downie Ruiz Velasco on this study.

Given the low sur­vival rate of brain can­cer (the five-year sur­vival rate is only about 35 per­cent), their dis­cov­ery is no small feat. Fur­ther explo­ration of oleic acid’s impact on miR‑7 and other cell mol­e­cules will hope­fully reveal more about the poten­tial to fight can­cer with fatty acids such as those found in olive oil.

The com­plete study, pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Mol­e­c­u­lar Biol­ogy, can be found here.



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