WHAT IS OLEOCANTHAL?
Oleocanthal is a tyrosol ester and phytonutrient (a group of chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and have multiple health benefits but are not considered essential to human health) that is found in extra virgin olive oil. Studies have shown that it can fight free radicals, reduce unnecessary inflammation and more. In this article I will be taking a deeper look at oleocanthal and discussing its key health benefits.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF OLEOCANTHAL?
The discovery of oleocanthal dates back to 1999 when the biologist and geneticist Gary K.Beauchamp was sampling extra virgin olive oil in Sicily. The oil caught in the back of his throat and made him cough. He instantly recognised the ticklish, peppery sensation as being very similar to liquid ibuprofen. Further studies revealed that this compound did not just taste like ibuprofen but it also acted in a similar way by relieving pain and reducing inflammation. In 2005 Gary K.Beauchamp and his researchers identified this compound in extra virgin olive oil and named it oleocanthal.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF OLEOCANTHAL?
Oleocanthal is very similar to ibuprofen and is highly effective at reducing pain and inflammation. The list below outlines the main health benefits of this tyrosol ester:
– Acting as an antioxidant and protecting the body against damaging free radicals (harmful by-products of oxygen based reactions).
– Acting as an anti-inflammatory (a substance that prevents unnecessary inflammation within your body).
– Relieving pain associated with inflammation.
Early evidence suggests that oleocanthal may also have further benefits but more research is required before they can be confirmed. These potential health benefits are listed below:
– Possibly preventing Alzheimer’s disease (a mental disorder which leads to the loss of memory, thought and speech).
– Possibly preventing cancer.
– Possibly preventing heart disease (by reducing blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
– Possibly reducing blood levels of LDL cholesterol (a type of cholesterol which can cause blockages in the arteries and increase your heart disease risk).
HOW MUCH OLEOCANTHAL DO YOU NEED?
Oleocanthal is not classed as an essential nutrient so no official recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been established. However, some sources suggest taking 9 milligrams (mg) of oleocanthal each day will allow you to enjoy all its health benefits.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN OLEOCANTHAL?
Extra virgin olive oil is the only food source of oleocanthal and it contains around 18mg of this tyrosol ester per 100 grams (g).
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CONSUMING TOO MUCH OLEOCANTHAL?
Currently there are no reported overdose symptoms associated with oleocanthal consumption.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF FAILING TO CONSUME ENOUGH OLEOCANTHAL?
Oleocanthal is not classed as an essential nutrient so no deficiency symptoms have been established.
Oleocanthal is 1 of the most recent phytonutrient discoveries and there is still a lot to learn about the role it plays in human health. However, the early research is very promising and it is believed to be 1 of the key drivers behind the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet (a diet that has been linked with reduced rates of cancer, heart disease and mental disease). Extra virgin olive oil may cost a little more than regular olive oil but it is definitely a worthwhile investment in your health.