Olive Leaf Extract Reduces Blood Pressure Like Captopril

2011-03-11 13:39

If you have high blood pressure, you may be interested in the results of a new study showing olive leaf extract to be just as effective as the medication called captopril. Olive leaf extract lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressures in patients who had stage 1 hypertension.

Olive leaf extract also lowered triglyceride levels

High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the most common health problems facing people both young and old, affecting an estimated 1 billion people around the world. One-third of Americans are estimated to have high blood pressure.

Participants in this study had stage 1 hypertension, which is defined as a systolic (upper number) reading of 140 to 159 mm Hg, and a diastolic (lower number) reading of 90 to 99 mm Hg. A normal, healthy blood pressure is defined as less than 120/80 mm Hg.

Captopril is an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor) that is prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure, some types of congestive heart failure, and to prevent kidney failure associated with high blood pressure and diabetes.

In a double-blind, randomized, parallel and active-controlled clinical trial sponsored by Frutarom (which provided the olive leaf extract, EFLA 943) and Dexa Medica (which provided the captopril), a research team from the University of Indonesia compared the effectiveness and tolerability of olive leaf extract and captopril in individuals who had stage 1 hypertension.

The participants were randomly assigned to receive either 500 mg twice daily of olive leaf extract or 12.5 mg of captopril twice daily. Treatment lasted for eight weeks, during which time the researchers recorded blood pressure once per week and lipid levels were taken at four-week intervals.

After eight weeks, patients in both treatment groups experienced similar, significant reductions in both systolic (mean reduction, 12.6 mmHg) and diastolic (mean reduction, 5.6 mmHg) blood pressure when compared with levels before treatment. The patients who took olive leaf extract, however, also had a significant reduction in their triglyceride levels, while patients in the captopril group did not.

The study’s authors note that the leaves of the olive tree (Olea europaea L) have been valued since ancient times as an effective treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes, and other medical conditions. The active ingredients have been identified as oleacein, oleanolic acid, and oleuropein.

No side effects have been reported for olive leaf extract. However, individuals who already have low blood pressure and/or low blood glucose levels may experience abnormally low blood pressure and abnormally low glucose levels (hypoglycemia) if they take this supplement.

Doctors often prescribe more than one medication (e.g., diuretics, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers) to reduce blood pressure in people who have hypertension, which increases both cost and the risk of side effects. The side effects vary depending on the drugs taken, but may include blurry vision, constipation, dizziness, dry cough, headache, loss of taste, nausea, rash, and swelling.

Use of olive leaf extract at 1,000 mg daily has been shown to reduce high blood pressure effectively and safely, based on the results of this study. The study’s authors concluded that “the anti-hypertensive activity of the extract was comparable to that of captopril, given at its effective dose of 12.5 to 25 mg twice daily.”

SOURCE:
Susalit E et al. Phytomedicine 2010; 18(4): 251-58.

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