Research Gives Insight into Benefits of Olive Oil

By: Mark Lange, PhD

The health benefits of olive oil have been recognized since ancient times and most recently by proponents of the Mediterranean diet.  But, little is known about what the healthful component of olive oil is or how it interacts with the body to benefit weight loss or normalizing blood sugar. Read on to find out what recent research has revealed!

The Virginia Tech Research Team discovered that oleuropein in olive oil helps the body secrete more insulin, which shuttles sugar from the blood into cells. The same compound also detoxifies another signaling molecule called amylin.  Amylin is a peptide hormone that inhibits glucagon secretion, delays gastric emptying, and acts as a satiety agent.

“Our work provides new mechanistic insights into the long-standing question of why olive oil and other olive products can be antidiabetic,” explains Bin Xu, assistant professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We believe it will not only contribute to the biochemistry of the functions of the olive component oleuropein, but also have an impact on the general public to pay more attention to olive products in light of the current diabetes epidemic.”

The discovery could help improve our understanding of the scientific basis of health benefits of olive oil and lead the way to the development of dietary supplement to help maintain normal blood sugar levels and weight ranges.