Polyphenol in Olive Oil May Help Fight Allergies

Already approved use for its preventive effect on LDL oxidation, the possibility of using hydroxytyrosol as a nutrient for allergy prevention broadens the opportunities for olive oil therapeutic applications to a whole new horizon.

Aug. 8, 2016
By Negar Jamshidi

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Over the past two decades emerg­ing empir­i­cal evi­dence has strongly asso­ci­ated Mediterranean diet (MD) to lower inci­dence of specif­i­cally car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease as well as other com­mon inflam­ma­tory dis­eases. The MD pri­mary source of fat is olive oil which is abun­dant in polyphe­nols such as hydrox­y­ty­rosol (HT) and tyrosol rep­re­sent­ing about 30 per­cent of the total phe­nol con­tent of vir­gin olive oil. Of note, hydrox­y­ty­rosol is also one of the major com­pounds in olive mill waste and olive leaf extract.
See Also: Olive Oil Health Benefits
Hydroxytyrosol in olive oil has been iden­ti­fied as the most potent antiox­i­dant in nature out of all the polyphe­nols in vitro. In par­tic­u­lar, HT has been found to be the key anti-inflam­ma­tory com­po­nent of olive oil extract and pre­vi­ously shown to inhibit the expres­sion of proin­flam­ma­tory medi­a­tors, cytokines and chemokines.

While olive extracts have been demon­strated to act as anti­his­t­a­mines by block­ing his­t­a­mine recep­tors and thereby spec­u­lated to play a role in allergy due to anti-inflam­ma­tory prop­er­ties, how­ever, the com­po­nent of the olive extract and the under­ly­ing mech­a­nism has never been inves­ti­gated until now.

A new study pub­lished in Immunobiology has demon­strated that the hydrox­y­ty­rosol in olive oil extract may play a cen­tral role in com­bat­ing allergy reac­tions. The researchers inves­ti­gated the poten­tial of pure HT for elic­it­ing an immune response towards one of the major Parietaria pollen aller­gens Par j 1 in healthy vol­un­teers.

In the Mediterranean region, one of the most com­mon aller­genic mol­e­cules is Parietaria Judaica pollen with Par j 1 and Par j2 as its main aller­gen com­po­nents which have been shown recently to acti­vate the immune cas­cade at the mol­e­c­u­lar level.

In a pre­vi­ous study, the find­ings of this group revealed that the Par j 1 aller­gen acti­vated the human immune response result­ing in secre­tion of IFN‑y and IL-10 cytokines in healthy vol­un­teers.

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In their most recent study, the Italian researchers first deter­mined the tox­i­c­ity pro­file of pure HT in vitro by sim­u­lat­ing nor­mal lev­els of phe­nol-rich olive oil present in human plasma fol­low­ing its con­sump­tion and found that the pure polyphe­nol HT had no toxic effects on human cell lines. Next, they showed that incu­ba­tion of human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells with pure HT stim­u­lated a strong response from the cytokine IL-10 dur­ing a nat­ural immune response to the Par j1 aller­gen.

According to the researchers, these results rep­re­sented the first ever find­ings on HT mod­u­la­tion of an aller­gen-spe­cific immune response poten­tially able to strengthen an anti-inflam­ma­tory phenotype…via an increase IL-10 secre­tion.”

The researchers’ take-home mes­sage was, there­fore fur­ther stud­ies to elab­o­rate the phar­ma­co­log­i­cal mech­a­nisms behind the pos­si­bil­ity of using HT as a nutri­ent for allergy pre­ven­tion in addi­tion to its already approved use for its pre­ven­tive effect on LDL oxi­da­tion” broad­ens the oppor­tu­ni­ties for olive oil ther­a­peu­tic appli­ca­tions to a whole new hori­zon.

With con­tin­ued dis­cov­er­ies of its mul­ti­ple health ben­e­fits, the olive oil polyphe­nol HT, despite being a small mol­e­cule, is turn­ing out to be one of the most pow­er­ful nutri­ent dense phy­to­chem­i­cals found in nature.



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