The traditional Mediterranean diet (MD) is associated with long life and lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancers. The main diet comprises a high consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes, dark cocoa, red wine, tea, fish and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Olive oil has gained popularity thanks to the key benefits of and evidence behind the polyphenol content. Olive leaf extract (OLE) contains a higher quantity and variety of polyphenols than those found in EVOO. There are also important structural differences between polyphenols from olive leaf and those from olive fruit that improve the capacity of OLE to enhance the endogenous antioxidant defense system. Olive leaf polyphenols have been shown to play an important protective role in anti-inflammatory diseases, helping protect against DNA damage initiated by free radicals.
In nature, the hydroxytyrosol (phenolic alcohol) molecule is found in greater concentration in the leaves: 1450mg total phenolic/100g fresh leaf vs 110mg /100g olive fruit and 23mg/100ml extra virgin olive oil. The primary active compounds in olive leaves are Hydroxytyrosol (phenolic alcohol) and Oleuropein (b-glycosidase). These bioactive compounds have completely separate properties and are used synergistically together with significantly different roles. Oleuropein is hydrolysed in the gastrointestinal tract, and is then converted into the Oleuropein aglycone Hydroxytyrosol (3,4- dihydroxyphenylethanol). Hydroxytyrosol (DOPET) and its metabolite (3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid) known as (DOPAC) are permeable nutrient molecules concentrated in the cytosol and cell membranes. This indicates Hydroxytyrosol helps protect the cell cytoplasm in the water-lipid interface of the phospholipid bilayers of the cell cytoplasm, which promotes a healthy mitochondria cellular system.