Written by Mita Majumdar, M.Sc. | 

Article Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team on Jul 09, 2018

Olive Oil Protects against Cancer

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids in Olive oil that help reduce inflammation and lower risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The bad news is the human body cannot make omega-3 – it has to be derived from the food. Again, when the body uses omega-6 fatty acids, it produces lot of free radicals that contribute to the development of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Unlike sunflower oil and safflower oil that have high omega-6 content as well, Olive oil is a very good source of omega-3. It is one of the ‘healing’ fats since it does not upset the critical omega-3 – omega-6 ratio.

A number of studies have shown that Olive oil protects against cancer. Apart from phenolic compounds and omega-3 fatty acids in Olive oil, especially extra virgin Olive oil, contains substantial amounts of other compounds such as squalene and terpenoids that are deemed to be anti-cancer agents, according to the German Cancer Research Center study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention.

Among cancers, extensive research has been done on the effects of Olive oil with respect to colorectal (colon) cancer and breast cancer.

Studies have shown that Olive oil is negatively associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence. A study from Oxford University suggests that Olive oil may influence bile salt secretion patterns which in turn influence polyamine metabolism in the colon in ways that reduce progression towards colon cancer.

Another population based case-control study from Spain found that although total fat intake or specific types of fat are not significantly associated with breast cancer in pre-menopausal or post-menopausal women, higher consumption of Olive oil is significantly related to lower risk of breast cancer.

Studies have also reported the effectiveness of virgin Olive oil in fighting peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. Virgin Olive oil contains a number of phenolic compounds that exert a strong bactericidal activity on Helicobacter pylori that is linked to majority of peptic ulcers and some types of gastric cancer.

One such study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the dialdehydic form of the phenolic compound decarboxymethyl ligstroside aglycon showed the strongest bactericidal effect at a concentration as low as 1.3 microg/mL.

References:

  1. Synthesis and Assignment of Absolute Configuration of Oleocanthal - (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ol052106a)
  2. Giacomo D et al. Influence of the olive variety and the zone of provenience on selenium content determined by cathodic stripping potentiometry (CSP) in virgin Olive oils. Food Chemistry Volume 88, Issue 1, November 2004, Pages 135-140
  3. Kim HS, Noh SU, Han YW, Kim KM, Kang H, Kim HO, Park YM. Therapeutic effects of topical application of ozone on acute cutaneous wound healing. J Korean Med Sci. 2009 Jun;24(3):368-74. Epub 2009 Jun 12.
  4. Owen RW, Giacosa A, Hull WE, Haubner R, Würtele G, Spiegelhalder B, Bartsch H. Olive-oil consumption and health: the possible role of antioxidants. Lancet Oncol. 2000 Oct;1:107-12.
  5. EUORLIVE study - (http://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/727945/effect-polyphenols-olive-oil-heart-disease-risk-factors-randomized-trial?volume=145&issue=5&page=333)
  6. Owen RW, Haubner R, Würtele G, Hull E, Spiegelhalder B, Bartsch H. Olives and Olive oil in cancer prevention. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2004 Aug;13(4):319-26.
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  8. Martin-Moreno JM, et al. Dietary fat, Olive oil intake and breast cancer risk. Int J Cancer. 1994 Sep 15;58(6):774-80.
  9. Romero C, Medina E, Vargas J, Brenes M, De Castro A. In vitro activity of Olive oil polyphenols against Helicobacter pylori. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Feb 7;55(3):680-6.
  10. Piers LS, Walker KZ, Stoney RM, Soares MJ, O''Dea K. Substitution of saturated with monounsaturated fat in a 4-week diet affects body weight and composition of overweight and obese men. Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):717-27.
  11. Soriguer F, et al. Incidence of obesity is lower in persons who consume Olive oil. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;63(11):1371-4. Epub 2009 Jul 22.
  12. Lozano A, et al. Body mass interacts with fat quality to determine the postprandial lipoprotein response in healthy young adults. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2010 Nov 17.
  13. Puel C, Mardon J, Agalias A, Davicco MJ, Lebecque P, Mazur A, Horcajada MN, Skaltsounis AL, Coxam V. Major phenolic compounds in Olive oil modulate bone loss in an ovariectomy/inflammation experimental model. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Oct 22;56(20):9417-22. Epub 2008 Sep 19.
  14. Santiago-Mora R, Casado-Díaz A, De Castro MD, Quesada-Gómez JM. Oleuropein enhances osteoblastogenesis and inhibits adipogenesis: the effect on differentiation in stem cells derived from bone marrow. Osteoporos Int. 2010 May 21.


Comments

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