Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Breast Cancer

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The Oxidative Effect Of Polyphenols In Olive Oil

Updated March 31st 2022

Polyphenol Breast Cancer
Polyphenols And Breast Cancer

Can Olive Oil Help Reduce Risks Associated With Some Cancers?

Olive oil is a popular addition to many Mediterranean-style diets. Some people believe that extra virgin olive oil can reduce cancer risk. But does the science support this claim? Recent studies provide some evidence that this may be the case. Keep reading to learn more about how olive oil may help protect against cancer, as well as some tips on how to include it in your diet.

And, in a recent hit list from, The Mediterranean Diet – including a quality extra virgin olive oil – is one of the top 10 best foods for breast health.  The report states:

Women who consume foods that fall more into the Mediterranean category can decrease their chances of being diagnosed with the disease [breast cancer] by as much as 44%.

You know how olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet? Well, virgin olive oil has compounds in it that help to kill certain kinds of breast cancer cells, according to WebMD. Seems like you can enjoy a Mediterranean diet without one ounce of guilt — so make sure that you do!

Interestingly,  many of the other foods listed in this top ten, for example berries, leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds are also a key element of the Mediterranean Diet.

Effect of Polyphenols In Olive Oil On Cancer Cells

Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Price
Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Cancer

In a study carried out by Dr Javier Menendez and colleagues from the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Spain to investigated the effects of extra virgin olive on breast cancer cells grown in laboratory cultures, it was shown that the substances in extra virgin olive oil work in a similar way to the drug Herceptin by reducing the concentration of HER2 protein that helps HER2-positive breast cancer to grow.

Using a method called solid phase extraction, researchers extracted the polyphenols from commercially available extra virgin olive oil. These were then added to the growth medium for HER2-positive and HER2-negative breast cancers to see what effect they had on the tumour cells.

They found that the polyphenols from the extra virgin olive oil reduced the levels of HER2 protein and also increased tumour cell death. HER2 is a protein found on the surface of some cancer cells. This protein can bind to another molecule (known as human epidermal growth factor), which then encourages the growth and division of the tumour cells. Not all have the HER2 protein on their surface; it is estimated that one in five women with breast cancer will have HER2 receptors.

Several laboratory tests were then carried out to determine how fast the tumour cells were growing, their metabolic activity, whether the phenol caused cell death, whether the phenol had an effect on levels of HER2 protein and whether or not HER2 protein was activated in the presence of the phenol. The results from these tests were compared with those from tests performed on breast cancer cells that were not cultured with the phenols.

How Phenols In Olive Oil Can Get To Work

This study found that phenols extracted from extra virgin olive oil have an effect on HER2-positive breast cancer cells grown in culture in the laboratory. The researchers found that some single phenolic compounds (including hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol and others) and all the polyphenols (several phenols joined together) from extra virgin olive oil induced “strong tumouricidal effects” in breast cancer cells that had HER2 protein on their surface. The phenols also reduced the levels of HER2 protein and its activation.

The Conclusions

The researchers concluded that the phenols in extra virgin olive oil have the ability to cause degradation of the HER2 protein on breast cancer cells. This may mean they can be used as a basis for the design of new HER2-targeting agents.

Source: Olive oil and breast cancer – NHS