The fascinating story and properties of oleocanthal

The fascinating story and properties of oleocanthal

Often, chance discoveries can be much more important than they might first seem.  This is the case of oleocanthal which you can also write as oleocantal.  Well, if you don’t mind, we’re first going to look at all of the benefits of oleocanthal.  Afterwards, we’ll tell you the anecdote about the  discovery of this substance.

Now we’re going to see why it’s so important.  It’s an organic component which is present in some extra virgin olive oils of great quality.  You’ll also find it in the oils which we produce at Masía El Altet. It’s what gives the olive its spicy taste.  We should also say that it’s a deliciously spicy taste.

But bear this in mind.   In spite of this characteristic having its importance, it’s not the only one.  Investigations have shown that it has similar effects to Ibuprofen and aspirin.  That is to say, that it’s a natural anti-inflammatory.

Against cancer

And not only that!!  According to this article in the magazine Muy Interesante, oleocanthal can kill cells which cause certain types of cancer without damaging healthy ones. That is  the conclusion reached by a team of scientists from  Rutgers University, New Jersey.  A conclusion which, in its day, was published in the prestigious magazine ‘’Molecular and Cellular Oncology’’.

When all is said and done, oleocanthal gives some extra virgin olive oils that characteristically spicy flavour and acts at the same time as ibuprofen to reduce all types of inflammations and besides, is capable of killing carcinogenic cells.

Can you ask more of a molecule?  ¿Can you ask more of an EVOO?  Of course you can’t.

The discovery of oleocanthal

Right, we’re not going to wait any longer.  Afterwards, we’ll talk a bit about more about this substance, but we can’t wait any longer to reveal how the discovery was made.  It was during the year 2005 and a chemistry congress was taking place in Italy.  A group of scientists, led by the prestigious Doctor Gary Beauchamp drank some olive oil.  And that’s it.

The majority of them had that tickle, that little irritation in their throats.  And that tickled (never more appropriately said) their curiosity. One of them said that the taste reminded him of ibuprofen.

They were all more or less surprised and asked themselves the question: is it possible that the best EVOOs have a molecule which is similar to one of  the most popular medicines?

After the question, they started to investigate again.  This investigation led them to a natural antioxidant derived from oleuropein.

If we look to see what oleuropein is, we see that it is a phenolic component and  to be found in the pulp of green olives.  It’s also to be found in the leaf of the olive and of course, once  the juice of the olive has been produced.   (Remember that this is only the case with high quality oils).  And there we have oleocanthal.

You can find this study here, in the prestigious magazine Nature.

Olecanthal and medicine

We’re sure you’ll  have found the way this substance was discovered interesting.  As you can see, it was pure chance, from the curiosity of a scientist who drank a sip of oil and asked himself what it was that produced that spicyness that was so agreeable and characteristic.

From that moment on there has been nothing but praise for oleocanthal.  Because it’s a molecule with many similarities to anti-inflammatories.  Anti-inflammatories which are prescribed by thousands and thousands of doctors all over the world.

It’s a natural ibuprofen and also has properties similar to acetyl salicylic acid ( aspirin, to put it simply) and which is capable of alleviating all types of pain, colds and, as we’ve seen before  and as has been published in the magazine Muy Interesante, capable of killing carcinogenic cells.

We can therefore say that this molecule which is only to be found in the best extra virgin olive oils is extremely important for human health.  It’s capable of combating a never-ending list of illnesses related not only to cancer but also those related to the heart or neurodegenerative ones (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, arteriosclerosis…)

And by now you must be asking yourself: what quantity of extra virgin olive oil containing oleocanthal do I have to take to be able to enjoy all of its benefits?

Scientists say that if you take 40 ml of oil rich in oleocanthal, you are taking the equivalent of 250 gr of ibuprofen.

 The  oleocanthal society

That this component is so important is also proved by the fact that a society has been created with the aim of promoting  and sharing the studies about this molecule.  If you want to know more about this society, we invite you to click on this link.

A kit has also been invented to measure the quantity of oleocanthal which the best extra virgen olive oils contain. In this link, you can see more information and there’s a video included.

That’s all we wanted to tell you about oleocanthal.  We hope that you’ve found it as interesting as we have.  A component which takes the place of medicines such as the popular ibuprofen and aspirin.  To alleviate all types of pain and colds.  But it has also been shown to be a great ally in the fight against all types of cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

Did you know that oleocanthal existed?  What do you think about all of the great effects it can have on  your health?

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