The olive leaf extract benefits and side effects include many of the former and few, if any, of the latter. In fact, it might even be better for your health than the oil.
Unless you’re completely new to nutritional therapy, you already know that extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is extremely good for your health.
If fact, as part of a traditional Mediterranean diet it can lengthen your lifespan.
It can also lower your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
As long as you’re eating lots of low-sugar fruits and veggies, and fish, and not too much meat, and EVOO, you’ll likely be healthy
But there’s another product related to EVOO that might even be more beneficial. It’s olive leaf extract (OLE).
One of the primary reasons researchers hail EVOO is its polyphenol content.
Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant.
It turns out that OLE has a higher amount of these antioxidants than the oil.
Olive leaf extract benefits and side effects: which way does the scale tip?
This study says that not only does OLE contain a higher quantity of these antioxidants, there’s also more variety of them.
Moreover, “there are also important structural differences … that may improve the capacity of OLE to enhance health outcomes,” says the study.
What are the benefits of olive leaf extract?
For starters, playing an important protective role in cancer. And other diseases caused by inflammation.
There are several other advantages of OLE. We’ll examine those shortly….
But first, because people typically want to hear bad news before the good, let’s discuss any possible disadvantages taking an OLE supplement….
According to this supplement company, there are four possible side effects.
It’s possible it can produce a rash. This is potentially because of the detoxification process.
However, it’s just purely cosmetic; you can’t feel it.
Secondly, because it can lower blood pressure, it may result in temporary lightheadedness.
Another potential side effect is obvious. If you’re allergic to olives, don’t take this supplement.
But olive allergies are relatively rare.
There’s also a slight possibility it can trigger acid reflux or heartburn. The possibility of this side effect increases if you take a medication for heartburn.
In assessing the balance between olive leaf extract benefits and side effects, ConsumerLab.com, says that the supplement has not undergone comprehensive safety testing.
However, “it does not appear to commonly cause much more … than occasional digestive distress,” the independent group concludes.
Yet, Consumer Lab adds it the following populations might want to avoid it:
- young children
- pregnant or nursing women
- those with severe liver or kidney disease
Now the good news….
The overwhelming majority of people will benefit from OLE.
However, keep in mind something if you read something about OLE saying it can protect against cancer…
And that is that the studies come mostly from experiments on cell lines.
In other words, much of the research has been done in a lab without human trials.
Nonetheless, the cell line studies are very promising.
They show that the antioxidants (specifically the polyphenols; remember those from above?) prevent damage to DNA.
Excessive damage to DNA results in premature aging and/or disease.
Researchers also believe it protects against inflammation. That’s because of its effects on estrogen.
Estrogen, of course, is the dominant group of female sex hormones. And the polyphenols in the leaves have a similar structure to estrogen.
What does this mean for your health?
If you’re female, it means that you’ll have a lesser risk for developing estrogen dominance.
This dominance of estrogen can lead to hormone-related cancers, such as breast cancer.
(Click here to learn about the causes of the dominance.)
Another reason why olive leaf extract benefits and side effects far outweigh the former is its effects on blood sugar.
This study suggests that olive leaf might help control blood sugar levels in diabetes.
However, again, there needs to be a healthy dose of skepticism with the study. The subjects in the study are not humans.
There are some convincing studies involving people. One of them looks at the effects of OLE on blood pressure.
Over 200 people were involved. The experiment group took OLE extract twice a day (500 mg). The experiment group took a common high blood pressure drug.
The results were that the OLE group’s blood pressure dropped. In fact, blood pressure was lowered to the same levels as those who took the drug.
Olive leaf extract benefits and side effects for blood pressure seem to favor this natural supplement. However, larger studies need to occur before concluding this definitively.
The leaf of this fruit tree might also protect your arteries and normalize cholesterol levels.
In addition to polyphenols, there are other antioxidants in this extract. And these other compounds are also not found in EVOO. Moreover, many of these compounds also show promise in anti-cancer research.
Researchers also believe that because the leaf contains glucose (sugar), the antioxidants are more active. EVOO, on the other hand, does not contain glucose.
OLE Prevents Superbugs
Some studies suggest it can kill harmful bacteria. And viruses, and fungi as well. It may also help feed the good bacteria in your gut.
However, ConsumerLab.com again cautions against these claims. That’s because these results are conclusions from lab settings, not human trials.
But it is impressive that OLE shows promise in being able to kill the following: H. pylori, C. jejuni, S. aureus and MRSA.
According to this report, there may be over one million new cases of H. pylori each year. This is largely the result of superbugs.
Superbugs are bacteria that are highly resistant to antibiotics.
Nearly two out of every three people on the planet have the H. pylori bacteria in their gut. It’s when the bacteria grows out of control that it becomes a problem.
As for C. jejuni, the Centers for Disease Control says it’s also highly problematic. It also causes over one million illnesses each year in the United States.
The third nasty bacteria above, MRSA, can cause life-threatening infections.
Perhaps OLE can play a role in treating bacterial overgrowth. Even when antibiotics won’t work.
What else is olive leaf extract good for?
It may also strengthen the immune system. Especially against harmful viruses such as HIV. In addition, it may offer skin protection.
And one study (this one) shows that a compound in it—oleuropein—decreases the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Olive leaf extract dosage
ConsumerLab.com says because supplements vary widely, just follow the label instructions.
However, this supplement company recommends 100 mg per day for the first week.
Then, says the company, keep adding 100mg each week. Eventually you can reach 1000 mg per day.
But to be on the safe side, it’s probably best to follow ConsumerLab’s advice.
The quality of an OLE product will depend on several factors. For example, where the olives come from, the age of the tree and fruit.
The reason why the fruit contains such high amounts of polyphenol antioxidants in the first place:
To protect itself against sunlight and insects.
And it’s in the leaves where much of these polyphenols are stored.
Olive leaf extract benefits and side effects: Final score
In conclusion, there is strong evidence. OLE prevents the progression and development of cancer. But to reiterate, cell models are very different from humans.
Hopefully, one day, there will be conclusive human clinical trials. And this research will prove that olive leaf extract benefits and side effects far outweigh the former.