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Olive Oil: A Natural Obesity Combatant

Renowned for its delightful taste and health-boosting polyphenols, olive oil features compounds like oleocanthal, oleuropein, and hydroxytyrosol, which have been extensively studied. Now, scientists are shedding light on the remarkable health benefits of another polyphenol: elenolic acid.

One in every eight people lives with obesity worldwide. Obesity is also established as the leading factor in the development of type-2 diabetes. Current obesity medications are costly, pose potential long-term safety risks, and are ineffective in maintaining weight loss. Obesity treatment remains challenging, highlighting the urgent need for innovative and more effective approaches.

A recent study led by Dr. Dongmin Liu, a professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech, offers promising news. This new research on mice suggests that compounds found in olive oil can enhance blood sugar control and help with weight loss

What is elenolic acid?

Elenolic acid is a natural compound found in olives and extra virgin olive oil ( that prompts your body to produce L-cells metabolic hormones, specifically the PYY (Peptide YY) and GLP-1 hormones, into your gut. You may have heard about GLP-1 due to extensive media coverage of drugs like Ozempic, which are popular for their role in managing diabetes and aiding weight loss. These hormones play several important roles in the body, particularly in regulating blood sugar levels and appetite.

Elenolic acid is produced in olive plants when a polyphenol called oleuropein, which helps the plant stay healthy and can be found in olive leaves and olive oil, breaks down.

Findings and health benefits 

After just one week of ingesting elenolic acid, obese mice with diabetes were reported to have a major improvement in metabolic health. Subsequently, after four to five weeks, the diabetes mice experienced a reduction of 10.7% in obesity. The blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity of obese mice were also equivalent to those of healthy mice.

Dr. Liu says, “This is a healthy effect of elenolic acid as it also increased muscle weight, reversed diet-induced fatty liver disease, and improved liver function.” His team also discovered that the elenolic acid compound can potentially remedy critical defects of diabetes. Though human studies are still necessary, these findings were not surprising considering the previous knowledge of olive oil already vouches for its advantages.

Olive oil’s content of elenolic acid, as well as the saturated, mono-unsaturated, and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, combine to make a unique flavor profile and a healthy additive to your meal. Olive oil is scientifically known to provide content because of the interaction of fatty acids of olives within the cell; as said before, it suppresses your hunger hormones and, therefore, leaves you satisfied for much longer. (This could be why Europeans anecdotally snack less between meals than Americans!) 

Adding Elenolic Acid to Your Diet

Eneloic acid is found only in food derived from olive plants: olives and extra virgin olive oil. So consider adding olives to your meals, and exploring the many uses of extra virgin olive oil in place of other oils and fats: :

By integrating extra virgin olive oil into your diet, you can harness the benefits of elenolic acid. We look forward to learning more about studies on elenolic acid, particularly its potential effects on satiety, weight loss and obesity.

Learn more about the study: (OR02-02-24) Identification of a Novel Multi-target Bioactive Compound With Anti-obesity and Anti-diabetic Activities 

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