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Cancer Nutrition

Extra-virgin olive oil potential source of new cancer treatments

10 years ago

1001  0
Posted on Dec 18, 2008, 8 a.m. By Rich Hurd

New research has shown the high quality extra-virgin olive oil contains phytochemicals that can trigger cell death in cancer cells.

New research has shown the high quality extra-virgin olive oil contains phytochemicals that can trigger cell death in cancer cells.

Spanish researchers set about testing different fractions of extra-virgin olive oil on breast cancer cells to investigate which components of oil were the most active against cancer. The researchers tested extra-virgin olive oil, which is made by simply by pressing the olives, because it contains phytochemicals that are normally lost in the refining process of other types of olive oil. Results showed that all of the fractions of extra-virgin olive oil that contained the major extra-virgin phytochemical polyphenols (lignans and secoiridoids) were effective at suppressing the cancer gene HER2.

Study leader Javier Menendez, said:  “Our findings reveal for the first time that all the major complex phenols present in extra-virgin olive oil drastically suppress overexpression of the cancer gene HER2 in human breast cancer cells.”

The authors stress that the concentration of phytochemicals needed to trigger cell death in the cultured breast cancer cells is unachievable through normal dietary consumption of extra-virgin olive oil. However, on a more positive note, they conclude: “These findings, together with the fact that that humans have safely been ingesting significant amounts of lignans and secoiridoids as long as they have been consuming olives and extra-virgin oil, strongly suggest that these polyphenols might provide an excellent and safe platform for the design of new anti breast-cancer drugs.”

Menendez JA, Vazquez-Martin A, Garcia-Villalba R, et al.  Anti-HER2 (erbB-2) oncogene effects of phenolic compounds directly isolated from commercial Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). BMC Cancer (in press).

News release: New anti-cancer components of extra-virgin olive oil revealed. BioMed Central. December 17th 2008.

 

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