Posted on Tue, 19 Sep 17
A clinical trial supports previous evidence that olive leaf extract may be an effective natural way to lower high blood pressure.
Olives and olive oil are key components of the traditional Mediterranean diet known to be associated with well documented health benefits. These foods are rich in a wide-range of phytonutrients, including oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, which are in part responsible for the association with extra virgin olive oil and lower cardiovascular disease risk.
Olive leaf is richer in phytonutrients than both olives and olive oil, and has emerged as a potential natural product for cardiovascular health. Previous experimental and clinical studies indicate that olive leaf extract may be particularly useful for lowering high blood pressure, and major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
A new clinical trial tested olive leaf extract vs. placebo in pre-hypertensive (systolic blood pressure (SBP): 121–140 mmHg; diastolic blood pressure (DBP): 81–90 mmHg) men at a dose of 10 ml twice daily (136 mg oleuropein; 6 mg hydroxytyrosol/ daily) for 6 weeks.
Olive leaf extract significantly reduced blood pressure, with a reduction in SBP by 3.33 and 3.95 mmHg and DBP by 2.42 and 3.00 mmHg for 24 h and daytime values, respectively. Olive leaf also resulted in reductions in plasma total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammation (interleukin-8).
These blood pressure reductions “can be considered physiologically significant,” commented the study investigators. “Data from observational studies suggest that 2 mm Hg reductions in SBP and DBP are associated with 6% and 7 % reductions in coronary heart disease risk and 10% and 15 % reductions in stroke and heart attack respectively,” they noted. “Extrapolating from this would suggest that regular OLE intake may be associated with a 9–14 % reduction in coronary heart disease risk and a 20–22.5 % reduction in risk of stroke and heart attack.”
This finding suggests that phytonutrient-rich olives, extra virgin olive oil and olive leaf extract would be a useful addition to a healthy diet for cardiovascular risk reduction.
Lockyer S, Rowland I, Spencer JPE, Yaqoob P, Stonehouse W. Impact of phenolic-rich olive leaf extract on blood pressure, plasma lipids and inflammatory markers: a randomised controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. 2017 Jun;56(4):1421-1432.