Olive Leaf Extract Same as Statin for Lowering Cholesterol
A Turkish team found that olive leaf extract was as effective as a common statin called atorvastatin in lowering cholesterol in rats fed a cholesterol-enriched diet. The findings suggest this natural remedy could be an alternative to statins and other drugs in improving lipid levels in cases of high cholesterol.
Over several millennia, the leaves of the olive tree (Olea europaea L) have been used for various health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, fever, and malaria. Thus far, the active ingredients identified in olive leaves are oleuropein, oleacein, and oleanolic acid.
Olive leaf extract and atorvastatin
The scientists studied four groups of rats, all of whom were fed a high-cholesterol diet for eight weeks. One group was given 50 mg/kg/day of olive leaf extract, another was given 100 mg/kg/day, a third group was given 20 mg/kg/body weight of atorvastatin, and the fourth group received no intervention.
Here’s what the scientists found:
- The atherogenic index (which is a reliable predictor of atherosclerosis) in the cholesterol-fed rats showed a significant increase from 0.68 to 4.86
- Rats who were given olive leaf extract showed a decline in atherogenic index to final levels of 2.10 and 3.29 for the 50 and 100 mg/kg/day doses, respectively
- In the rats given atorvastatin, the atherogenic index dropped to 2.60
- Overall, olive leaf extract reduced total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol but did not cause a change in triglyceride or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels
The authors concluded that “our findings demonstrated a potential and beneficial effect of olive leaf extract in reducing of the atherogenic index,” and that this natural supplement could prove to be helpful in managing high cholesterol.
Other olive leaf extract research
Previous research has shown that olive leaf extract can be equally effective as captopril, a prescription drug used to treat high blood pressure. In one of the studies to show this effect, individuals with stage 1 hypertension took either 500 mg twice daily of olive leaf extract of 12.5 mg of captopril twice daily for eight weeks.
Participants in both groups experienced similar reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (mean 12.6 mmHg and 5.6 mmHg, respectively). As a bonus, the individuals who took the olive leaf extract also showed a significant decline in triglyceride levels, but the patients in the captopril group did not.
Olmez E et al. Olive leaf extract improves the atherogenic lipid profile in rats fed a high cholesterol diet. Phytotherapy Research 2015 Oct. 29(10): 1652-57