Hydroxytyrosol is a powerful polyphenol which occurs naturally in the olive fruit, pulp, leaves and mill waste waters. Chemically, hydroxytyrosol is described as 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1,2-benzendiol, with the chemical formula C8H10O3.2
Hydroxytyrosol is a well-known minor component
found in extra virgin olive oil, which is derived from hydrolysis of the polyphenol oleuropein during olive maturation and olive oil storage. The compound plays an important role in the complex and varied flavour of olives and extra virgin olive oil.
It is also a vital component which largely adds to the stability and longevity of extra virgin olive oil.
Hydroxytyrosol is hydrophilic, and absorbed in a dose-dependent manner in humans, with absorption occurring in the small intestine and colon. Uniquely, hydroxytyrosol is the only polyphenol which is able to cross the blood brain barrier, which allows it to have a significant action to scavenge free radicals in the nervous system.
Health Benefits Of Hydroxytyrosol In Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Hydroxytyrosol has a potent antioxidant activity. It has one of the highest know ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) results known for a natural antioxidant. ORAC is a method used to determine the antioxidant capacity of a food or chemical substance.
There is also evidence related to the health benefits of Hydroxytyrosol in extra virgin olive oil in the following areas:
Hydroxytyrosol in extra virgin olive oil has the capacity to inhibit proliferation and promote apoptosis of several tumour cells.Therefore, it has been suggested that hydroxytyrosol may have anticancer effects. The exact mechanism of these effects is not well defined, and research continues in this space.
Research has shown that hydroxytyrosol in extra virgin olive oil can reduce the production of cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) in animal models of inflammation.Animal based research has also shown that hydroxytyrosol in extra virgin olive oil may be able to reduce acute inflammation and associated pain.
In vitro experiments have shown that hydroxytyrosol in extra virgin olive oil has antimicrobial properties against infectious respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens.It is also known that hydroxytyrosol in extra virgin olive oil has activity against gram positive and gram-negative bacteria. In general, polyphenols have been reported to have wide antimicrobial activity, such as antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects.