Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) contains more than 36 phenolic compounds. Although all of the phenolic compounds in EVOO have known beneficial effects, one specific compound in particular, known as oleocanthal, has been discovered to have powerful natural anti-inflammatory benefits.
In fact, oleocanthal exhibits the same anti-inflammatory response in the body as NSAID ibuprofen, acting down the exact same pathways as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Oleocanthal has been shown to stop the inflammatory cascade by inhibiting both cyclooxygenase‑1 (COX‑1) and cyclooxygenase‑2 (COX‑2) inflammatory enzymes in a dose-dependent manner.See Also: Olive Oil Health Benefits
Compared to NSAID ibuprofen, its potency is less, at approximately 10 percent. However, unlike NSAIDs, which have many known side effects, olive oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that can be safely consumed by anyone.
According to a study in the International Journal of Molecular Science, “The concentration of oleocanthal contained in virgin olive oil ranges from 284 to 711 mg/kg.” And oleocanthal is unique only to olive oil. It is not found in any other vegetable oils.
It has been well established in research that the pathophysiology of many different disease states such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, neurodegenerative disease, and others, are associated with low-grade chronic inflammation in the body.
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Both in vivo and in-vitro research has reported that EVOO reduces the inflammatory response in the body, and therefore, may reduce the pathogenesis and development of many of these chronic diseases. Again, oleocanthal has been attributed to such results in many instances.
Some of the powerful natural anti-inflammatory benefits of EVOO and oleocanthal reported in relation to the conditions mentioned above, include:
In relation to the natural anti-inflammatory capacity of EVOO, the benefits reported here are just a small proportion of the what’s available in the scientific literature. There are many more studies showing positive association for other health conditions that have not been mentioned.
Although oleocanthal is the most strongly reported anti-inflammatory phenolic compound, others have also been recorded. Oleuropein aglycone inhibits the proinflammatory molecule TNF‑a. Hydroxytyrosol has been shown to reduce TNF‑a and interleukin‑1 beta with promising effects on other key proinflammatory molecules. Tyrosol has been shown to inhibit COX‑2.
Interestingly, many of the studies conducted show these anti-inflammatory effects to be in a dose-dependent manner, which presents a strong case that more EVOO consumption is beneficial for reducing the inflammatory effects of many chronic and deadly diseases. Best of all, it’s a natural, affordable and safe alternative that can be included in an individual’s everyday dietary routine.