` Patent Applicant Claims Olive Polyphenols Help Blood Sugar Control - Olive Oil Times

Patent Applicant Claims Olive Polyphenols Help Blood Sugar Control

Apr 1, 2014 8:26 PM EDT
Julie Butler

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A nat­ural health prod­ucts group is seek­ing an inter­na­tional patent for an olive leaf extract it says can help pre­vent or man­age insulin sen­si­tiv­ity, includ­ing type 2 dia­betes.

It claims clin­i­cal tri­als show oral admin­is­tra­tion of an olive leaf extract con­tain­ing the olive polyphe­nols and antiox­i­dants oleu­ropein and hydrox­y­ty­rosol may have sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits in treat­ing, reduc­ing the symp­toms of and/or pre­vent­ing type 2 dia­betes, in both at risk sub­jects and those already with the dis­ease.“
Comvita Ltd sub­sidiary Apimed Medical Honey Ltd, based in New Zealand, said in its patent appli­ca­tion before the World Intellectual Property Organization that in a dou­ble blind, placebo con­trolled trial involv­ing 46 over­weight mid­dle-aged men at risk of devel­op­ing future meta­bolic syn­drome — which can be a pre­cur­sor to dia­betes — sup­ple­men­ta­tion with olive leaf polyphe­nols for 12 weeks saw sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment in insulin sen­si­tiv­ity and pan­cre­atic β‑cell respon­sive­ness. This mat­ters because, for impaired glu­cose tol­er­ance to progress into dia­betes, patients need to become both insulin resis­tant, and lose pan­cre­atic β‑cell secre­tion capac­ity,” the appli­ca­tion says.

The olive (Olea europaea L.) leaf extract used in the trial was a prod­uct sold by Comvita. Participants were told to take four cap­sules as a sin­gle dose once a day, which would deliver a daily total of 51.1mg of oleu­ropein and 9.7mg of hydrox­y­ty­rosol.

Olive leaves now a valu­able com­mod­ity”

Apimed said in its patent appli­ca­tion that folk med­i­cine using olive plants to treat dia­betes has existed for cen­turies,” but only recently has research on the med­i­c­i­nal prop­er­ties of olive prod­ucts focused on olive polyphe­nols — par­tic­u­larly oleu­ropein and hydrox­y­ty­rosol (a break­down prod­uct of oleu­ropein).


Polyphenols are found in most edi­ble plants, and are con­sid­ered to deliver the health ben­e­fits of choco­late, cof­fee, green tea, and red wine. Paralleling the growth in sci­en­tific knowl­edge in olive polyphe­nols, the olive nutraceu­ti­cal mar­ket is expand­ing. As the con­cen­tra­tion of olive polyphe­nols is far more potent in olive leaves com­pared to the fruit or olive oil, this once dis­carded by-prod­uct of tree prun­ing is now a valu­able com­mod­ity,” it said.

But the expan­sion in the olive nutraceu­ti­cal mar­ket has not been accom­pa­nied by a relax­ation in the health claims com­pa­nies can make in Europe and the United States. As stated by Apimed itself in its appli­ca­tion, the European Food Safety Authority allows a health claim link­ing con­sump­tion of olive oil polyphe­nols to pro­tec­tion of blood lipids from oxida­tive dam­age, but so far no sim­i­lar claim has been approved for glu­cose home­osta­sis (blood sugar con­trol). Also, a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration warn­ing let­ter pro­vided a sober­ing reminder for dietary sup­ple­ment com­pa­nies to be care­ful in the claims they make about their prod­ucts. The let­ter in January to Pennsylvania-based Exclusive Supplements raised issues includ­ing that the FDA con­sid­ered ther­a­peu­tic claims (since removed) on the company’s web­site about its BioRhythm brand Olio prod­uct — which con­tains extra vir­gin olive oil — estab­lished the prod­uct was a drug because it was intended for use in the cure, mit­i­ga­tion, treat­ment, or pre­ven­tion of dis­ease,” and such drugs need prior FDA approval.

Other research has found that fol­low­ing a Mediterranean diet has a pre­ven­ta­tive effect against dia­betes. In 2011, a trial within the PREDIMED study showed a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of type II dia­betes by almost 50 per­cent com­pared to a low fat diet


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