New research indicates that olive leaf extract can help reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors, according to a paper published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
Comvita, Australia’s leading manufacturer of olive leaf extract, welcomed the research highlighting the approach to helping manage cardiovascular risk factors and overall health.
Study results demonstrated that the average 24-hour blood pressure, plasma total and LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides of participants were significantly lower after six weeks of olive leaf extract intake relative to placebo treatment.
The 60 person study was a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled, cross-over trial in which pre-hypertensive participants consumed olive leaf extract or placebo daily for six weeks, and then crossed over to the other treatment arm for a further six weeks.
The authors concluded that daily consumption of olive leaf extract resulted in favourable improvements in several cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.
Small improvements in risk factors can be significant and studies suggest that even a 2mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure is associated with a 6-7 per cent reduction in CVD risk and a 10-15 per cent reduction in stroke and heart attack. On this basis, the effect of the olive leaf extract on blood pressure may be associated with a 9-14 per cent reduction in cardiovascular risk, making it a useful addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
According to Professor Ian Rowland from the University of Reading, “The results are promising and support a natural approach to helping manage cardiovascular risk factors and overall health.
“We think this is a significant finding. Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of premature death worldwide, with clear evidence that reducing risk factors like elevated blood pressure and cholesterol can help prevent this disease.”
Researchers have previously shown olive leaf extract has a positive short term impact on cardiovascular risk factors but this is the first research to show the beneficial effects are retained over a longer timeframe - six weeks.
The research is part of a collaboration between the Hugh Sinclair Human Nutrition Unit at the University of Reading in the UK and The School of Food and Nutrition at Massey University in New Zealand.