Extra Virgin Olive Oil Polyphenols: Oleocanthal (P-Hpea-Eda)

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Another Of The Magic Ingredients Of Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Updated November 26th 2021

Oleocanthal In Polyphenols
Oleocanthal In Polyphenols


What Is Polyphenol Oleocanthal (p-HPEA-EDA)? ?

p-HPEA-EDA, otherwise known as Oleocanthal, belongs to the Tyrosol family of polyphenols. It is the dialdehydic form of decarboxymethyl ligstroside aglycone. It is synonymous with p-HPEA-Elenolic acid Di-Aldehyde and Ligstroside-aglycone di-aldehyde. Its chemical formula is  C17H20O5.

Polyphenol P Hpea Eda
Polyphenol P Hpea Eda

The Oleocanthal molecule is responsible for the peppery / stinging sensation at the back of your throat when you ingest certain extra virgin olive oils. In fact, this is how the molecule got its name, ’oleo’ means oil and ‘canth’ is Greek for stinging or prickly.

Polyphenol Oleocanthal In Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The importance and uniqueness of Oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil is that it has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Its anti-inflammatory action on the body is very similar to ibuprofen, one of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs most widely consumed.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen, can be differentiated from steroids because they have far fewer secondary effects. NSAIDS have proven to have very beneficial effects in diseases that involve chronic inflammation processes, such as degenerative and neurodegenerative illnesses (Alzheimer).

A Study On The Effect Of Polyphenol Oleocanthal In Extra Virgin Olive Oil On Cancer

Many studies have identified the components of extra virgin olive oil which confer health benefits, but few have tested the effect of high phenolic extra virgin olive oil on cancer. This is a gap which the research of Dr Limor Goren who recently completed her PhD, and her colleagues at City University of New York set out to explore.

The study explored the effects of oils containing varying levels of oleocanthal on anti-cancer effects. Dr Goren’s study showed that extra virgin olive oil rich in oleocanthal are powerful enough have an effect on cancer cells, while oleocanthal-poor olive oils do not.

The study has shown that oleocanthal specifically kills human cancer cells, but not normal, non-cancerous cells. The authors suggest that this is due to the ability of oleocanthal to induce the death of cancer cells through lysosomal membrane permeabilisation (LMP). (A lysosome is a membrane-bound cell organelle that contains digestive enzymes. Lysosomes are involved with various cell processes. They break down excess or worn-out cell parts. They may be used to destroy invading viruses and bacteria). Permeabilising the lysosomal membrane allows digestive enzymes stored inside this organelle to be released, which preferentially causes cell death in cancer cells.

Furthermore, recognising that different olive oils have different concentrations due to their origin, harvest time, and processing methods, the researchers tested a variety of extra virgin olive oils to determine their respective concentrations of oleocanthal, which ranged from very low to very high.

The olive oils that had high oleocanthal content completely killed cancer cells in vitro (in a petri dish), in a manner similar to purified oleocanthal. The olive oils with average oleocanthal content reduced viability, but to a lesser extent. Those with no oleocanthal had no effect on cell viability.

Polyphenol Oleocanthal And Tumours In Mice

In addition, Dr Goren and colleagues also found that injection of oleocanthal into mice engineered to develop pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours, reduced their tumour burden and extended the lifespan of the mice. More specifically, the injections extended the lives of the mice by an average of four weeks. Based on lifespan conversion, if oleocanthal has the same effect in humans, it might extend human life by more than 10 years.

How Much Extra Virgin Olive Oil Should Be Taken?

In order that oleocanthal may have protective effects on our health, like the rest of extra virgin olive oil polyphenols, a daily and a regular consumption is recommended. Four daily tablespoons of an extra virgin olive oil rich in Oleocanthal is equivalent to a consumption of 125 mg of ibuprofen, which would be, according to the researchers of the Andalusian society of Oleocanthal, a good basis to prevent or relieve chronic inflammatory processes and reduce the risks of cancer.

This continues our series of articles about the polyphenol content of our new harvest extra virgin olive oil and what they can do to improve our health. As we have reported, this year’s harvest has produced a low acidity level of 0.2% together with the highest level of polyphenols yet seen in our extra virgin olive oil of 644 mg/kg