Health & Wellbeing

Natural olive compound aids weight loss and regulates blood sugar

Natural olive compound aids weight loss and regulates blood sugar
Elenolic acid in olives boosts GLP-1 and PYY hormones
Elenolic acid in olives boosts GLP-1 and PYY hormones

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Elenolic acid in olives boosts GLP-1 and PYY hormones
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Elenolic acid in olives boosts GLP-1 and PYY hormones

A compound that occurs naturally in olives has been found to lower blood sugar levels and ramp up weight loss in rapid time, mimicking the effects of drugs such as diabetes medications liraglutide and metformin. This opens the door for developing safe, natural and affordable treatments for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

“Lifestyle modifications and public health measures have had limited impact on the rising prevalence of obesity, one of the top risk factors for type 2 diabetes,” said research lead Dongmin Liu, a professor at Virginia Tech. “Available obesity drugs are ineffective in weight loss maintenance, expensive and/or carry potential long-term safety risks. Our goal was to develop safer, cheaper and more convenient multi-targeting agents that can prevent the occurrence of metabolic disorders and type 2 diabetes.”

The team from Virginia Tech set out to target metabolic hormone secretion in the gut, which would have a knock-on effect of regulating metabolic function. Their aim was to find a natural compound that impacted L-cells, which secrete glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY), two key hormones in hunger satiety, metabolism and blood sugar regulation.

What they found was that elenolic acid triggered the secretion of GLP-1 and PYY in the gut, resulting in a significant reduction in food intake, and it also decreased the expression of agouti-related peptide (agRP) in the brain's hypothalamus. There's a direct link between agRP expression and overeating and weight gain.

“Overall, the study showed that elenolic acid from olives has promising effects on hormone release and metabolic health, particularly in obese and diabetic conditions,” said Liu. “The compound seems to mimic the physiological conditions of eating to directly promote gut metabolic hormone secretion, which helps regulate energy balance and metabolic health.”

The researchers found that just a week of oral elenolic acid treatment resulted in weight loss and better glucose regulation in obese, diabetic mice, compared to mice that did not receive the compound. After 4-5 weeks, the mice had a mean 10.7% reduction in weight, and their blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity resembled that of healthy, leaner mice.

Yes, it is a mouse study, but researchers are confident they'll see similar benefits in a human trial.

Elenolic acid is a derivative of the polyphenol oleuropein, which has traditionally been used as an antioxidant supplement to support the immune system and tame free radicals. And while the acid naturally occurs in olive oil and mature olive fruit, the researchers note that its concentration in those sources is most likely too low to deliver these metabolic benefits. The team extracted the acid from existing oleuropein products.

The researchers will now look at just how this compound is absorbed and metabolized in the digestive system, which should pave the way for a human trial.

The findings were presented at NUTRITION 2024, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, and is based on research published in Frontiers in Nutrition.

Source: American Society for Nutrition

3 comments
3 comments
Cymon Curcumin
Whenever I hear something claimed to “reduce blood sugar” my first thought is “great, I used to have active type 2 (now in remission) do that would be good.”

Then I start thinking. I got the diabetes into remission by loosing weight (I’m still trying to get those last 10 lbs of abdominal fat off that never want to leave). Anything that reduces blood sugar has to send it somewhere, likely into the cells to become fat. And the reduction in blood sugar would also make one more hungry and affect eating decisions to make weight loss harder.

I can see lowering blood sugar being needed to treat diabetes but doesn’t it conflict with weight loss which is also good to treat diabetes?
WillyDoodle
Hmmm. So, if you if you're thinking of consuming a bit of cannabis, eat a few olives before, during and after to avoid the (not so funny) 'munchies"? Gonna give it a try.
Karmudjun
Thanks Bronwyn - another good article. The source article is good as well, you covered everything. I'm not a big fan of olive oil cooking although I like the Mediterranean Diet. I also have pretty good genes, and no one in my family has suffered from diabetes to date. I've always believed in eating "close to the field" with low processed foods, fresh foods just harvested, and limiting portions, but knowing that olives may be another easy to incorporate addition to my diet is fascinating. You didn't mention that the level of elenolic acid in olives is too low that adding olives to one's diet may not trigger the same results as the mice....yeah, but it can't hurt, can it?