Olive Leaf Extract: The Immune Enhancer – Invite Health Podcast, Episode 85
Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH
On today’s episode, we will be discussing Olive Leaf extract and the immune system supporting properties that go along with it. It’s really quite interesting when you look at the amount of science that has gone into accessing the powerful constituents that are contained within the olive leaf itself. Across the spectrum, there are so many different ways in which olive leaf has been shown to be very beneficial.
What makes Olive Leaf Extract so unique?
I am always an advocate of people adhering to the Mediterranean diet because it is the most widely studied diet out there and has been shown to be the most effective when you think about brain health, heart health, control of blood glucose and cholesterol. Well, olive leaf coming from the olive tree is native to that Mediterranean region. Some of the main and active constituents of the olive tree really can do a wonderful job when we look at different health issues that we commonly come across. One area that is quite interesting is the way that olive leaf has been looked at when it comes to the immune system. Oxidative stress can drive up inflammation and dampen our normal immune system response, which is why olive leaf has been looked at as being a means to try to enhance those initial immune system responses. This is why an olive leaf supplement is a great option to add to an immune support routine.
Oleuropein is a very unique compound that is derived from the olive leaf itself. It is responsible for most of the antioxidant properties that come from the olive leaf. Oleuropein is what gives an olive that bitter taste. The leaves themselves contain a really high amount of this powerful compound, which is what makes the extract form a really wonderful nutrient.
The Science Behind Olive Leaf and It’s Powerful Antioxidant
Published in the Scientia Pharmaceutica Journal in 2010, researchers studied Oleuropein and its pharmalogical properties, including it being an antioxidant, having anti-inflammatory properties, anti-atherogenic properties (the cardiovascular system), anti-microbial properties, as well as being anti-viral. Researchers studied the impact of Oleuropein from the olive leaf against different forms of viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus and para-influenza virus.†
In one clinical study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers studied the effects of Oleuropein on upper respiratory illness in high school athletes. This is a good study group because people who have extensive endurance training from exercise have a little window where the immune system can depress itself, causing them to have a weakened immune system. This does not make you feel sick, rather it is the immune system trying to keep up with all of the stress that has been brought on because of that endurance exercise. You see this very commonly in marathon runners. So, in the study, the participants were broken up into two groups – one receiving Oleuropein, the other receiving placebo. They were looking at their measures of well-being and their training mode, as well as respiratory illnesses. What they were able to determine after doing this particular study, was that the group that was given the olive leaf extract containing Oleuropein did much better in terms of either not catching upper respiratory infections or they had a significant reduction in the number of sick days, which I think is really quite impressive.
Questions about olive leaf extract or its important antioxidant compound, Oleuropein? Leave me a comment below to join the discussion!
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