Ibuprofen Vs Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) – Part One

Ibruprofen-like-activity in EVOO


Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.19.23 am.png

Have heard of many benefits of virgin and extra virgin olive oil but did you know that one of the phenolic compounds in olive oil, oleocanthal, uses the same mechanism of action as ibuprofen and has potent anti-inflammatory actions. It decreases a number of inflammatory mediators and exhibits neuroprotective properties. Researchers are looking at oleocanthal and other phenolic compounds, such as oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, in studies investigating their impact on atherosclerosis, obesity, blood sugar control, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer among many other conditions.

Newly pressed extra-virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal — a compound whose pungency induces a strong stinging sensation in the throat, not unlike that caused by solutions of the non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug ibuprofen1 . We show here that this similar perception seems to be an indicator of a shared pharmacological activity, with oleocanthal acting as a natural anti-inflammatory compound that has a potency and profile strikingly similar to that of ibuprofen. Although structurally dissimilar, both these molecules inhibit the same cyclooxygenase enzymes in the prostaglandinbiosynthesis pathway. The agent in extra-virgin olive oil responsible for throat irritation is thought to be the dialdehydic form of ( )deacetoxy-ligstroside aglycone2 (or oleocanthal, with oleo- for olive, -canth- for sting, and -al for aldehyde) (Fig. 1). To confirm this, we isolated ( )oleocanthal from different premium olive oils and measured its intensity as a throat irritant. Continue reading research article below 

Olive20Oil20anti-inflammatory- research paper ( READ)

“Olive oil compound acts like Ibuprofen”

OLIVE OIL- it’s good to know that a natural food as delicious and versatile as olive oil benefits all three. The recent discovery that olive oil contains a health-promoting polyphenol called oleocanthal challenges the assumption previously held by nutrition experts that olive oil health benefits come mainly from its healthy monounsaturated fat content.  It is now known that the oleocanthal, one of the principle polyphenol compounds in olive oil, provides enormous health benefits.

Not all olive oil contains oleocanthal

In addition to its significant anti-inflammatory properties, new research suggests oleocanthal has powerful anti-cancer abilities and can even prevent Alzheimer’s. However, not all olive oil contains oleocanthal. Some olive oils contain none at all, while others contain quite impressive amounts. And it doesn’t seem to matter where the olives were grown or what varieties of olives are used.

So what does the oleocanthal level depend on, then? And how can you tell if your olive oil contains high amounts of these potent chemicals? Unfortunately, this information is not typically listed on the label. Nevertheless, there are ways you can greatly increase the likelihood of purchasing olive oil with a high oleocanthal concentration and thus be in the best position to obtain olive oil health benefits.

 “Early harvest” olive oil health benefits are greatest due to highest polyphenol levels

The best way to maximize the oleocanthal content of your olive oil is by purchasing one that is from “early harvest” olives. Olives typically don’t fully ripen from green to black until late winter. Green olives picked in the fall tend to be higher in polyphenols like oleocanthal and in antioxidants. In fact, a recent study of 175 single varieties of commercial Greek and California olive oil samples confirmed that the earlier the time of harvest, the more oleocanthal the oil contained.[1] Many people like the peppery and bitter quality of early harvest oil which contains flavors of grass and green leaf and is more pungent and astringent. These qualities, along with its bright green color, are due to the naturally occurring polyphenols, including oleocanthal, found in the olives.

The importance of true extra virgin grade for olive oil health benefits

Extra virgin is the highest grade of olive oil. If you make sure to choose an early harvest olive oil, it will likely automatically be extra virgin. As with all “virgin” olive oils, it is considered the natural juice of the olive fruit. It is made without the use of chemicals or excessive heat and must meet certain standards in terms of taste, smell, and chemical composition. Extra virgin olive oil is produced by the first pressing of the olive fruit through the cold pressing process and must be less than 0.8% acidity. As an unrefined, natural product that has undergone very little processing, extra virgin olive oil retains its nutritive value and contains the highest levels of polyphenols like oleocanthal. Other categories – “pure” or “light” oil, “olive oil,” and “pomace olive oil” – have undergone chemical refinement which strips away olive flavors and many of the oil’s health benefits.

Unfortunately, despite recent involvement from the USDA, many companies around the world deceptively sell inferior grade olive oil as “extra virgin.” True extra virgin olive oil doesn’t have to cost a fortune or be purchased from specialty shops, but you have to do your research since it’s not always easy to make sure you’re getting true extra virgin olive oil. Web sites like Truth in Olive Oil, and Olive Oil Source can be helpful in finding the real deal.

Other criteria for choosing the healthiest olive oil

In addition to making sure your olive oil is “early harvest” and truly extra virgin, some other helpful tips for choosing quality oils include:

  • Oil should be bottled in dark glass or other containers that protect against light.
  • To ensure freshness, look for bottles with a date of harvest, or at least a “best by” date. Try to buy oils only from this year’s harvest.
  • Avoid oils whose precise point of production – a specific mill – is not specified on the label.
  • Certifications mentioned on olive oil labels can provide a level of confidence that an oil has been properly made. Look for PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), or certifications from national and state olive oil associations, such as the Australian Olive Association, the California Olive Oil Council, and the Association 3E.

Is it the oleocanthal or other factors responsible for olive oil health benefits?

It is unlikely that oleocanthal in olive oil is solely responsible for olive oil health benefits. There are other polyphenols, as well as its monounsaturated fatty acids, that make olive oil a super health food.  In terms of Alzheimer’s disease, eating a traditional Mediterranean diet, high in olive oil, is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia in observational studies.[2] At this point, it is not known how much of this is due to the oleocanthal in olive oil and how much is due to other factors associated with this dietary pattern.

How to get the most from your olive oil

In addition to a high intake of olive oil as the main source of fat, the traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern is characterized by a high consumption of plant foods (i.e. vegetables, fruits, legumes and cereals), a moderate intake of fish, low-to-moderate intake of dairy products and low consumption of meat and poultry, with wine consumed in low-to-moderate amounts during meals. Therefore, moving towards a more traditional Mediterranean-style diet incorporating an early-harvest extra virgin olive oil may be your best bet for staving off Alzheimer’s. For the best results, eat one or two tablespoons per day of an early harvest extra virgin olive oil a day AND increase your plant food consumption.



I also did my own literature review  after developing a search strategy to answer and frame a clinical questions is formulated using the PICO model that is an evidence based practice process, this aids in retrieval of clinical evidence (Portney & Watkins 2009,p.10).



P: Patient / Problem/ Population– describes group of patients, what are the important characteristic

I: Intervention – What are you considering? exposure therapies, diagnostic tests, education, therapies or environmental factors. What do you want to do?

C: Comparison/Control – What is the main alternative being considered, if any? e.g. placebo, exposure, alternative treatment or standard therapy.

O: Outcome – What are you trying to measure, improve, accomplish or affect?

(Sacket 2005)

Clinical Question:

“In Adults with inflammatory disease/disorder does supplementing with Olive oil result in reduction of symptoms when compared with adults with inflammatory disease/disorder that don’t supplement with Olive oil?”

 RESULTS IN NEXT BLOG –  Interesting findings 



Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.01.08 am.pngScreen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.01.24 am.png


Look out for my next  post  where i will publish my results on the lIterature review 

“In Adults with inflammatory disease/disorder does supplementing with Olive oil result in reduction of symptoms when compared with adults with inflammatory disease/disorder that don’t supplement with Olive oil?”