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Olive Oil To Fight Bacterial Infections?

Posted Nov 25 2009 12:00am

Olives have been part of the Mediterranean diet for years. They are concentrated in monounsaturated fats, are a good source of vitamin E and contain multiple phytonutrient compounds including polyphenols and flavonoids, which have beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to all of the well-established benefits of olives, olive oils and olive products, recent studies indicate olives may be the future in protecting against superbugs. The spread of two major offenders, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and the HIV virus, can be slowed by a compound from olive oil and leaves.

Olive leaves are particularly helpful because they contain a broad range of antimicrobial substances. At least seven compounds, all of which possess “unusual” combined antibacterial and antifungal properties when tested in a lab against several common human pathogens have been found in olive leaves. One of these compounds is called “oleuropein,” which is found in concentrated form in many over-the-counter olive-leaf products. However, these products deny the other six compounds (caffeic acid, verbascoside, luteolin 7-O-glucoside, rutin, apigenin 7-O-glucoside and luteolin 4′-O-glucoside) an equal opportunity to do their job. A whole olive-leaf product would be superior to a customized, concentrated form that emphasizes or touts a particular, standardized concentration of a single agent.

The goal is to alleviate the fear that there is nowhere to turn but to drugs when dealing with such bad bugs as MRSA and HIV. Obviously, these germs still kill people – lots of them, unfortunately, and lots of children. Yet many of these deaths are in spite of drug therapy. Perhaps a more balanced approach with broad-spectrum antimicrobials, when used early or in less severe cases, will lead to fewer rampant infections and less spread of the germ to other contacts. Consider turning to olive-leaf extract as a natural alternative. Talk to your doctor for more information.

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