March 28, 2013

Olive Leaf Improves Insulin Sensitivity

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olive-leafOlives are tasteful additions to our culinary repertoire. Now a study in PLoS One adds another layer of benefit to the wondrous olive tree. The olive leaf is touted for its robust effects on insulin sensitivity.  

The background of the study explains that there is limited data examining the effects of olive polyphenols on glucose control in humans. To fill-in the gaps, a study was designed to evaluate the effects on insulin sensitivity in middle aged, overweight men who are at risk for developing metabolic syndrome.

The study was conducted over a 12 week period. One group received olive leaf extract and the other group received a placebo. It was a double-blind study where groups crossing over to the other treatment after a 6-week washout from the other treatment.

The primary objective of the study was to evaluate the insulin sensitivity of participants. Secondary outcomes included body composition and blood pressure.

The group treated with olive leaf extract was associated with a 15% improvement in insulin sensitivity compared to placebo. There was also a 28% improvement in beta cell responsiveness with olive leaf extract.

Patients treated with olive leaf extract did not show any improvement in blood pressure, or body composition.

For men who are at risk for developing metabolic syndrome, the supplementation with olive leaf extract may significantly improve insulin sensitivity and beta cells ability to secrete insulin.

If you’re taking blood pressure medication or trying to lose weight, this is not your hall pass. But olive leaf extract may help keep you out of the graduating class of metabolic syndrome.

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