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Olive leaf loves you: Oleuropein protects against type 2 diabetes

Many people already know that olive oil is a healthy fat and can protect against heart disease and is one of the best features of the Mediterranean diet. And certainly, olive leaf extracts have been shown to keep blood pressure levels in check.

But as more emerging science makes clear, the polyphenols in olive leaf have benefits that extend far beyond cardiovascular protection. This study found that oleuropein promotes insulin secretion and protects cells from amylin amyloids – a potentially harmful hormone found at elevated levels in individuals with obesity and high blood sugar levels. Amylin may also be a contributing factor to cognitive decline.

One way that people concerned who are concerned about elevated blood sugar levels can fight back is by finding a supplemental source of olive oil polyphenols that provides a consistent level of compounds. By combining it with a sensible diet and exercise, it could illustrate one more reason to keep looking to olive trees for natural medicine.


Wu L, Velander P, Liu D, Xu B. Olive Component Oleuropein Promotes β-Cell Insulin Secretion and Protects β-Cells from Amylin Amyloid-Induced Cytotoxicity. Biochemistry. 2017 Sep 26;56(38):5035-5039. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00199. Epub 2017 Sep 13.

Oleuropein, a natural product derived from olive leaves, has reported anti-diabetic functions. However, detailed molecular mechanisms for how it affects β-cell functions remain poorly understood. Here, we present evidence that oleuropein promotes glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) in β-cells. The effect is dose-dependent and stimulates the ERK/MAPK signaling pathway. We further demonstrated that oleuropein inhibits the cytotoxicity induced by amylin amyloids, a hallmark feature of type 2 diabetes. We demonstrated that these dual functions are structure-specific: we identified the 3-hydroxytyrosol moiety of oleuropein as the main functional entity responsible for amyloid inhibition, but the novel GSIS function requires the entire structure scaffold of the molecule.

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
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