There is not enough evidence to back a claim that olive leaf water extract boosts glucose tolerance, a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) health claims panel has found.

The panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) was asked its opinion after an application from Comvita New Zealand Limited in September.

The natural health products company had proposed the claim that, “daily intake of supplemental olive leaf extract polyphenols contributes to the reduction of the blood glucose rise after meals.” It proposed a daily intake of five of its OLE (olive leaf extract) capsules, each containing 400 mg

OLE, in order to provide at least 50mg daily of oleuropein. Comvita said the target population was adults willing to reduce their postprandial (after eating) glycemic response. “It will be particularly beneficial to individuals with impaired glucose tolerance, a common condition in the general adult population, particularly among those who are overweight or obese,” it told EFSA.

Comvita identified two human studies and three animal studies as being pertinent to the claim but in an opinion published earlier this month, the NDA panel said no conclusion could be drawn from one of the human studies and the three animal studies as they involved foods not complying with Comvita’s specifications.

It said the other human study shows an increase in glucose tolerance applicant but the results have not been replicated in other studies and no evidence had been provided on the mechanism by which the olive leaf water extract could exert the claimed effect. “The scientific evidence is insufficient to establish a cause and effect relationship between the consumption of olive leaf water extract and an increase in glucose tolerance.”

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