Antiviral effects of olive leaf extracts flagged amid heightened immunity tensions
31 Mar 2020 --- The health benefits of olive leaf extracts have fallen into the spotlight as natural ingredients producer Pharmactive launches its immunity-boosting olive leaf extract under its Isenolic brand. Meanwhile, Euromed pointed to the potential antibacterial and food preservative benefits of olive leaf extracts in a newly published study. Both timely releases address a surging market demand for immune health support and tap into the current booming trend for natural ingredients.
While some unscrupulous nutrition companies try to cash in on coronavirus fears with misleading claims on health products, Pharmactive “does not pretend to position Isenolic to help against COVID-19,” Julia Díaz, Head of Marketing, tells NutritionInsight.
“This would not be responsible or ethical. During the past few months, we have been busy attending to new consumer priorities regarding their health and wellness, such as more focus on boosting immune health,” she continues. Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, consumers are indeed more interested in exploring new ways of boosting immunity through nutrition.
Standardized to at least 4 percent elenolic acid by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the extract has shown it can naturally inhibit neuraminidase, a key enzyme present in the flu virus that can penetrate the cell and disassemble the virus from the host cell membrane. In turn, this promotes its liberation to infect new cells, which Isenolic can prevent, as well as subsequent proliferation. “Tested in a cell line especially vulnerable to influenza, the necessary concentration of Isenolic to reduce the neuraminidase activity of the virus by half (called IC50) was only 171.5 µg per mL,” Díaz highlights.
Inhibiting bacterial growth
A recently published study found Euromed’s olive leaf extracts can completely inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Moreover, specific technologies can enhance the extracts’ abilities to prevent more efficient bacterial growth and proliferation, Andrea Zangara, Scientific Marketing Manager at Euromed, also tells NutritionInsight.
“Polyphenols in olive leaf extracts cause the inhibition of foodborne pathogens. Bacteria are sensitive to polyphenols since the bacterial membranes interact with hydrophobic components of the polyphenols. Olive leaf extracts can reduce the pathogen’s motility,” Zangara details.
“The study hypothesized that gold nanowires could accelerate the antimicrobial activities of polyphenolic compounds as in olive leaf extracts. It aimed to find the safest concentration for gold nanowires to be used as an electrocatalyst. The gold nanowires concentration used in the study is nearly ten times lower than the safe concentration,” Zangara further explains.
Natural ingredients considered safe and effective
Several scientific studies throughout the years have demonstrated the elenolic acid compound can prevent and reduce symptoms of viral and microbial infections, as well as shorten the duration of colds. “Immune-boosting botanicals with roots in ancient or Traditional Medicine are factors that strongly resonate with consumers, who perceive them as natural and effective and respect their long history of safe use,” adds Díaz.
“Our Isenolic olive leaf extract is locally sourced from olive trees grown in fields in the Mediterranean and uses an extraction process that is fully controlled and completely traceable. We leverage ancestral know-how to provide a final extract of the highest quality and purity,” she explains.
Meanwhile, as a natural product, olive leaf extracts can be regarded as particularly safe antimicrobial agents in controlling foodborne pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.
“Foodborne pathogens can cause large outbreaks associated with a variety of foods, a global concern with the impact on human health. Therefore, control of foodborne pathogens is a major concern for regulatory agencies and the food industry. There is a growing trend to produce food additive-free foods. Compared to synthetic food preservatives, plant antimicrobials are generally recognized as safe and can benefit human health,” Zangara explains.
A staple in the Mediterranean diet
Díaz points to the “extended tradition of olive culinary consumption in the Mediterranean countries since ancient times.” Indeed, adhering to the Mediterranean diet, with olive oil as a staple ingredient, can result in numerous health benefits, ranging from boosting microbial health to reducing prenatal weight gain and diabetes, even preventing hearing loss.
A water-soluble ingredient, Isenolic can be safely consumed in soft gels, syrups, powders and effervescent formulations, as well as incorporated into F&B applications. The ingredient is non-GMO, non-irradiated, doping-free and both halal- and kosher-certified.
Other health benefits of olive leaf extracts include healthy aging and heart health management. Euromed’s olive extract Mediteanox, in its line of healthy aging fruit extracts, offers beneficial healthy aging effects. Based on its high standardized content of hydroxytyrosol – a powerful antioxidant polyphenol – Mediteanox is clinically proven to enhance blood circulation and reduce LDL cholesterol oxidation levels, helping to prevent atherosclerosis.
By Anni Schleicher
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