Phenolic Compound in EVOO May Be Beneficial for Parkinson's Disease

A new study found that tyrosol delayed neurodegeneration and contributed to a longer lifespan in worms by reducing oxidative stress and inducing the expression of different protective genes.

By Julie Al-Zoubi
Aug. 28, 2019 15:18 UTC

A new study pub­lished in Neurobiology of Aging sug­gests that tyrosol, a phe­no­lic com­pound found in extra vir­gin olive oil, could have the poten­tial to become a nutraceu­ti­cal com­pound for Parkinson’s dis­ease; bring­ing hope of a new treat­ment to the esti­mated 10 mil­lion world­wide suf­fer­ers of the pro­gres­sive neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tion.

The pio­neer­ing study, which was car­ried out by researchers from the University of Jaén and the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research, exam­ined the effects of tyrosol on Caenorhabditis ele­gans worms with var­i­ous forms of Parkinsonism.

The research team dis­cov­ered that worms treated with tyrosol enjoyed a sig­nif­i­cantly longer lifes­pan of around 21.33 days com­pared to untreated worms whose aver­age lifes­pan was just 18.67 days.

See Also:Olive Oil Health Benefits

The researchers con­cluded that tyrosol delayed neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion in worms and reduced oxida­tive stress. It also appeared to induce the expres­sion of dif­fer­ent pro­tec­tive genes in a par­tic­u­lar form of Parkinsonism.

It was also noted that worms treated with tyrosol ben­e­fited from 80 per­cent of dopamin­er­gic neu­rons being intact at two weeks of age com­pared to just 45.33 per­cent in untreated ones. This was an impor­tant find­ing as the loss of these neu­rons is a trade­mark of Parkinson’s dis­ease.

The tyrosol treat­ment was also noted to sig­nif­i­cantly reduce the lev­els of mol­e­cules asso­ci­ated with dam­ag­ing DNA and cel­lu­lar struc­tures. While untreated worms aver­aged 124.5 of these mol­e­cules, the tyrosol treated crea­tures had a much lower aver­age of around 12.06. These fig­ures sug­gested that the tyrosol treat­ment had been effec­tive in reduc­ing neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion.

The over­all results sug­gested that the tyrosol treat­ment had had an effec­tive antiox­i­dant effect on the study’s worms with the treat­ment sig­nif­i­cantly increas­ing the expres­sion of some pro­teins; includ­ing heat shock pro­teins which are known to assist cells in pro­tect­ing them­selves from dam­age.

The tyrosol treat­ment also sub­stan­tially reduced the num­ber of clumps of the alpha pro­tein synu­clein (an indi­ca­tor of Parkinson’s dis­ease) to 22.63 per worm in treated crea­tures com­pared to 58.72 per worm in untreated ones.

While it was noted that the treated worms abil­ity to move inde­pen­dently was sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter on the ninth day of its life, at no other points in time was there a notable dif­fer­ence. It was also reported that both treated and untreated worms devel­oped paral­y­sis by the time they reached 11 days old.

In an ear­lier study by the same research team, it was dis­cov­ered that tyrosol delayed aging, increased life spans and reduced mark­ers of cel­lu­lar stress in worms. This study inspired the team to inves­ti­gate if the phe­nol could be ben­e­fi­cial to neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive con­di­tions, par­tic­u­larly Parkinson’s dis­ease.

In 2016, Olive Oil Times reported on a study which found that phe­nols found in extra vir­gin olive oil pro­vided antiox­i­dant and anti-inflam­ma­tory ben­e­fits to the brain and offered neu­ro­pro­tec­tive activ­ity against dis­eases includ­ing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The ben­e­fi­cial effects of extra vir­gin olive oil have been attrib­uted to its high lev­els of antiox­i­dants and monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids, with tyrosol, in par­tic­u­lar, being acknowl­edged for its antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties.


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