|Evan Watson, NatureCity author & contributor|
According to a recent study conducted in Switzerland, olive leaf extract may help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels. High blood pressure – or hypertension – affects almost 1 of every 3 American adults and is a significant risk factor for heart disease and cardiac events.
In the study, researchers from Israeli food and beverage company, Frutarom, recruited 20 sets of identical twins with borderline high blood pressure. One twin from each pair was given a placebo while the other was assigned either 500mg or 1,000mg of an olive leaf extract.
By using identical twins, the researchers hoped to remove outside influences on the study which could be triggered by genetic variations in people.
The study ran for eight weeks and participants were measured for weight, heart rate, blood pressure and lipid levels every two weeks. The results are published in the August 2008 issue of Phytotherapy Research.
At the conclusion of study, researchers saw an 11mmHg decrease in systolic and 5mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure among the group that received 1,000mg of olive leaf extract when compared to the control. No significant changes were found in participants who received the 500mg supplement.
While all groups showed a decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol, the results seemed to be dose-dependent.
According to researchers, these positive benefits could be the result of a compound called oleuropein, a chemical compound found in olive trees. Oleuropein is thought to inhibit the replication process of many pathogens, possibly because of its antioxidant properties. The compound has also been linked to enhanced immune system function.