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peptic ulcers and gastric cancer

Olive oil poly phenols active against H. pylori in vitro

Since Helicobacter pylori, an organism implicated in peptic ulcers and gastric cancer, is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, the search is on for other substances which show anti-H. pylori activity. Results of experiments obtained by Concepcion Romero and her colleagues at the University Hospital of Valme, Seville, Spain, have suggested that virgin olive oil might be useful as a chemo protective agent against these ailments.

Herbal extracts and essential oils already widely used in traditional medicines, have already been shown to have anti-H. pylori activity in vitro. Some foods, including red wine, sprouted peas, green tea and cranberry have also been shown to inhibit H. pylori growth. These antibacterial properties have been attributed to the poly phenol content of these foods and medicines. Various mechanisms whereby phenol ic compounds might affect H. pylori activity have been put forward which include the inhibition of activity, adhesion to the human gastric mucus, and suppression of its VacA cytoxin activity.

Unfortunately, in vivo studies with garlic, jalapeno peppers, cinnamon extract, broccoli and cranberry juice failed to demonstrate the eradication of H. pylori despite positive antibacterial activity in vitro.

Virgin olive oil is one of the few edible oils which is consumed unrefined and so contains a number of bio active substances. Despite the numerous scientific papers exploring the health benefits of such substances, none has focused on the inhibition of H. pylori growth. Recent work by the Seville team had already shown a very high level of anti microbial activity by olive oil poly phenols against various food borne pathogens (JAFC, 2006, 54 (14): 4954-4961) and a study of patients with gastric ulcers by Taits (Urach Delo, 1986, 7: 67-70) showed that when dietary animal fat was replaced by olive oil, there was a significant reduction in the size of their ulcers. However, research into the stability of phenolic compounds in the acidic stomach environment has yielded conflicting results with some showing that they are readily hydrolyzed. The aim of Romero et al., therefore, was to examine the anti-H.pylori activity of an extract of virgin olive oil and the anti microbial effects of isolated phenolic compounds. The main phenolic compounds in olive oil are the aglycones of oleuropein and ligstroside which hydrolyze during olive oil storage into hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol.

Using conditions which simulated the gastric environment, the authors demonstrated that a significant amount of polyphenolic components of the oil diffused from the oil into the acid and remained stable for several hours. Also, a strong anti-H. pylori activity was exerted by the olive oil extracts, including activity against some antibiotic resistant strains. Furthermore, only very low concentrations of the extracts were necessary. Amongst the poly phenols which showed anti-H.pylori activity, Ty-EDA (dialdehydic form of decarboxymethyl ligostride aglycone) was particularly effective. Only <1.5 ìg/mL of this compound was needed to kill H. pylori cells in vitro. Ty-EDA is a secoiridoid aglycone present in most virgin olive oils in concentrations up to 240 ìg/mL. In contrast to results from other research groups, the current study found that Ty-EDA and Hy-EDA (dialdehydic form of decarboxymethyl oleuropein aglycone) were both stable in simulated gastric juices.

The authors believe that the possibility of using virgin olive oil as a chemo protective agent against peptic ulcers and gastric cancer should be considered, although acknowledging that their results need confirming in vivo. (Romero et al. J. Agric Food Chem. ASAP, 17/01/07)

We take no responsibility for the above information and you should always consult your medical practitioner

 

 

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