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Extra-virgin olive oil protects nerve cell structure and function, improves learning and memory, and reduces the amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain in mice genetically engineered to get Alzheimer’s disease. The polyphenols in olive oil activate autophagy, which leads to the clearance of plaques and tangles in the brain.

Last week, I interviewed an expert on autophagy and we discussed how one of the most important functions of it is to clear away protein aggregates. We also discussed some of the mechanisms by which various polyphenols a (such as those found in olive oil) can induce autophagy through an epigenetic mechanism. Stay tuned for that podcast (post-production edits are being made to the video now!

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    For those interested whether heating affects various parameters of olive oil, I have linked a study that found that heating a variety of types of extra virgin olive oil to 60C (140F) had no effect on the fatty acid profiles (ie. no peroxidation) or polyphenol content. However, some varieties did have a decrease in the alpha-tocopherol context (vitamin E) after heating.

    For those interested in olive oil quality, extra virgin real olive oil that is high in polyphenols has a pungent smell and taste (at least that is my non-scientific litmus test). You can taste the polyphenols. I’m still on a quest to find a brand that can be found on most grocery store shelves and not just the high-end ones that I get from specialty stores that sell olive oil. I’ll ask some experts I know and post a brand later.

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      I’ve always found it odd that E.V. olive oil inflames me (joints). Disappointing because apoe4 genes suggest alz and LDL

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        How much should a 185 man take to mimic the results? Also, can I just take it direct on a spoon?

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          This appears to be a poor study. Oils, including olive oil, have been shown to decrease arterial elasticity and promote inflammation. So there may be negative trade offs. By comparing it to mouse chow, we don’t know whether it really has unusual protective benefits or whether chow is just low in whole food micronutrients. How would olives compare without processing into oil, which strips some of the micronutrients? How would other whole foods compare to chow? Caution is warranted.

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            The only one I have found consistently in many grocery stores that seems to rate well most of the time is: Lucini Italia Organics Limited Reserve.

            However, I just order by mail order because the selection and price and quality is much more favorable than what is available in most grocery stores.

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              You need to be aware that most olive oil brands are not extra virgin or even pure oil; they have been adulterated. This is a helpful link, which also explains how to test the purity of your oil by putting it in the fridge: http://www.easypointsrecipes.net/the-14-fake-olive-oil-companies-are-revealed-now-avoid-these-brands/