More and more people are searching for olive polyphenol supplements online.  Patients are often directed by their doctors or nutritionists to “find some polyphenol-rich supplements or olive oil.”  Are there olive fruit polyphenol supplements available that are good for me?  And if so, what do they do – and how could that help me?  Most people just don’t know to ask “What does hydroxytyrosol do for my heart”?!

Hydroxytyrosol and Your Heart

Polyphenols from olive oil or the olive fruit itself, provide some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory properties especially when consumed in high levels.*  Chronic inflammation affects the heart and cardiovascular system.  This inflammation can cause hypertension, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, heart failure, and cardiomyopathy.  For example, chronic inflammation can be associated with irregular heart rates, a build up of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure, clots, etc.  In fact, chronic inflammation is the number one risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease.*

Hydroxytyrosol Benefits

So how do high hydroxytyrosol-rich polyphenol supplements  help with this?

Research suggests there are two mechanisms involved: First, studies have found that higher levels of olive fruit polyphenols (hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol and their derivatives) can reduce arterial wall stiffness, and decrease the cellular adhesion of lipids and cholesterol to the arterial walls.  This means that the arteries become more flexible. And it reduces the “stickiness” of the inside walls of the arteries – thus allowing the lipids to keep passing through instead of building up inside them.1

Second, hydroxytyrosol can help increase HDLs (high density lipids) which are good for you because these lipids will carry oxidized LDLs (low density lipids) back to the liver, causing an overall reduction in total cholesterol in the process.2

Some of these studies used polyphenol-rich olive oil, however, more companies are beginning to provide hydroxytyrosol in a more convenient oral form.  A softgel supplement can make it convenient and easy to take regularly, without the calories from olive oil.  Want to drill down more on hydroxytyrosol?  Check here.

Some products even combine the hydroxytyrosol with the powerful Omega-3 fish oil ingredients of EPA and DHA for a double effect.  People already taking a fish oil supplement could consider switching to a supplement that adds hydroxytyrosol to the fish oil.   And there are studies now that show why adding polyphenols to your PUFA omega-3 fish oil is a really good idea!

References:

1.        “Hydroxytyrosol and Cytoprotection: A Projection for Clinical Interventions; International Journal of Molecular Science, 2017 Apr 28;18(5):930; see the abstract at :  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28452954/
2.        “The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors“;  Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007 Mar 6;146(5):394; see the abstract at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17339627/

Learn more about hydroxytyrosol and polyphenol science here!

* Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.