Study Demonstrates Role of Phenols in Early Pregnancy

Researchers demonstrated the antioxidant effects of oleuropein on cells formed during the first stage of pregnancy without adverse effects.
By Simon Roots
Feb. 6, 2023 19:29 UTC

Oleuropein, a phe­no­lic com­pound found in olive oil, fruits and leaves, is well known for its antiox­i­dant, anti-inflam­ma­tory and neu­ro­pro­tec­tive effects.

While numer­ous stud­ies have demon­strated the ben­e­fits of olive oil-rich diets dur­ing preg­nancy, there have been no human stud­ies on the role of olive phe­nols or polyphe­nols in embryo implan­ta­tion and devel­op­ment.

A new study pub­lished in a spe­cial issue of the jour­nal Antioxidants has sought to address this issue by exam­in­ing the impact of oleu­ropein on oxida­tive stress on human tro­phoblasts: cells formed dur­ing the first stage of preg­nancy that pro­vide nutri­ents to the embryo.

See Also:Consuming EVOO Results in More Polyphenols in Breast Milk, Study Finds

In vitro exper­i­ments per­formed by the research team found that oleu­ropein sig­nif­i­cantly reduced oxida­tive dam­age and restored antiox­i­dant func­tion­ing in tro­phoblasts sub­jected to hydro­gen per­ox­ide, which was used to model oxida­tive stress.

Olive oil polyphe­nolshealth-news-study-demonstrates-role-of-phenols-in-early-pregnancy-olive-oil-times

Polyphenols are a group of nat­ural com­pounds com­monly found in plant-based foods and bev­er­ages, includ­ing olive oil. They have potent antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties and are believed to have health ben­e­fits, such as reduc­ing the risk of cer­tain chronic dis­eases. Olive oil is par­tic­u­larly rich in hydrox­y­ty­rosol, tyrosol, and oleu­ropein, which are types of polyphe­nols.

Not only did it improve antiox­i­dant sta­tus and pre­vent pro­tein and lipid dam­age, but oleu­ropein also reduced iNOS lev­els, exces­sive pro­duc­tion of which has been linked to improper embryo trans­port and ectopic preg­nancy.

Reactive oxy­gen species, vari­eties of free rad­i­cals, play a vital role in nor­mal preg­nancy. Still, an excess is known to cause oxida­tive stress, lead­ing to seri­ous com­pli­ca­tions such as ges­ta­tional dia­betes, preeclamp­sia, or even fetal loss.

The poten­tial for antiox­i­dants to pre­vent and treat such dis­or­ders is receiv­ing increas­ing atten­tion. However, very few antiox­i­dant com­po­nents have so far shown sig­nif­i­cant effects on preg­nancy dis­or­ders.

Most com­mon antiox­i­dant sup­ple­ments, such as vit­a­min C and vit­a­min E, have not only been found to be inef­fec­tive in reduc­ing the risk of com­pli­ca­tions but have even been asso­ci­ated with an increase in still­births.

The researchers noted that exist­ing stud­ies of olive oil sup­ple­men­ta­tion in the pre-con­cep­tion period and dur­ing preg­nancy have demon­strated that a sup­ple­men­ta­tion period could improve embryo qual­ity para­me­ters in in vitro human embryo devel­op­ment.

They also empha­sized that no indi­ca­tions of adverse effects in the tro­phoblast cells were observed from the intro­duc­tion of oleu­ropein, thus paving the way for fur­ther research.


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