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Active-Italia: Oleacein from Italian cultivar ‘Coratina’

Oleacein from Italian cultivar ‘Coratina’

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Oleacein, and oleocanthal has attracted great attention in recent times because of the interesting biological properties of these molecules. The synergistic effect of these components makes olive oil a true functional food with unique characteristics.

As the name suggests, the Coratina monocultivar is an extra virgin olive oil obtained from 100% Coratina olives, a single precious variety of olives that takes its name from the town of Corato in the province of Bari, Italy.
The concentrations of oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil have been reported to range from 8.3 (cultivar Taggiasca, Liguria Italia), 50 to 87.9 (cultivar Cornicarba, Toledo Spain), 51 to 92.8 mg/kg (cultivar Coratina), 52 while oleacein content has been reported to vary between 11.5 mg/kg in the oil obtained from the cultivar Koroneiki and 253.9 mg/kg extra virgin olive oil from the Coratina variety.
A protective role against cardiovascular, metabolic diseases, and human cancer has been attributed to oleocanthal, and oleacein.
Based on scientific evidences on health studies, in 2012 the European Food Safety Authority authorized the functional health claim on virgin olive oil polyphenols as they “contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress.”
This benefit became effective within a minimum concentration of 5 mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives (i.e., oleuropein complex and tyrosol) in 20 g of extra virgin olive oil.
Oleocanthal, and oleacein have been studied about their cancer prevention properties alone or associated to other anticancer drugs.
Recent reviews have been published about olive oil polyphenols and their high potential as chemopreventive and anticancer agents in different cancer types. Antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects have been implicated in the anticancer activity of olive oil polyphenols, but the detailed anticancer mechanisms remain to be elucidated.
Studies reviewed comprise cell culture and preclinical approaches, which revealed that olive oil polyphenols are able to inhibit both initiation of carcinogenesis and metastasis. Clinical studies are lacking to confirm the anticancer properties of olive oil polyphenols and their contribution to the association of olive oil intake with reduced risk of cancer, as indicated by epidemiological studies.
In addition, oleocanthal and oleacein extracts of extra virgin olive oil led to apoptosis in nonmelanoma skin cancer cells via inhibition of Erk and Akt phosphorylation along with downregulation of B-Raf (B-Raf proto-oncogene) expression. (Polini B, Digiacomo M, Carpi S, et al. Oleocanthal and oleacein contribute to the in vitro therapeutic potential of extra virgin oil-derived extracts in non-melanoma skin cancer).
Oleacein is a powerful natural antioxidant agent, showing high activity against oxidation even more than oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. Moreover, oleacein is a very potent compound acting against inflammatory situations, like atherosclerosis. Another recent and interesting finding in biological action of oleacein is the attenuation of carotid plaque destabilization. This action could be useful in cases of ischemic stroke, as could reduce the risk of the disease.


Umberto Berti, PM Active-Italia

Linked Article

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