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Olive oil compound reduces insulin resistance, fatty liver in experimental research

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

April 12 2017. On April 11, 2017, Lipids in Health and Disease published the results of a study which found an association between supplementation with hydroxytyrosol and a reduction in markers of insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice given a high fat diet.

“Hydroxytyrosol is a polyphenol found in extra-virgin olive oil, which is known to have antioxidant properties and may play a key role in its health benefits,” explained lead author Rodrigo Valenzuela. “Our research shows that in mice fed on a high-fat diet, hydroxytyrosol exerts a protective effect in the liver.”

Mice were given a high fat diet or a control diet with or without hydroxytyrosol for 12 weeks. Animals that received the high fat diet had a reduction in liver enzymes needed for long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid synthesis that can play a role in vascular health. The decrease in these enzymes was associated with imbalanced fatty acids in the brain, heart and liver. However, mice that received hydroxytyrosol had enzyme activity and organ fatty acid composition similar to that of normal mice. They also had lower levels of cholesterol and markers of insulin resistance.

“Our study found that mice fed on a high-fat diet had signs of nonalcoholic liver disease which we believe has led to the noticeable reduction in enzyme activity in the liver and the negative effects on fatty acid composition in this, and other, organs,” Dr Valenzuela stated. “We also found that the liver showed signs of increased oxidative stress, which we know has links to fatty liver disease. It is intriguing that adding a relatively low dose of hydroxytyrosol to the diet was able to reverse these effects, reduce the signs of fatty liver disease, and reduce negative effects seen in the other organs.”

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