Olive compound shows promise in treating obesity and diabetes

There is a tendency to associate olives with a snack rich in fat and calories. However, although their calorie content is around 150 calories per 100 grams, overall they can be considered a product with interesting nutritional value. New research suggests it could be a key product for treating obesity.

A new study in mice from the Virginia Tech Institute in the US suggests that elenolic acid, a natural compound found in olives, may lower blood sugar levels and promote weight loss. The research could pave the way for development of safe and affordable natural products to combat obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans.

“Lifestyle Changes and Public Health Measures” have had a limited impact on the rise in obesity prevalence.one of the main risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes,” says research team leader Dongming Liu, professor of human nutrition, nutrition, and exercise science at Virginia Tech.

“Available obesity drugs are ineffective at maintaining weight loss, are expensive, and/or carry potential long-term safety risks. Our goal was to develop multi-target drugs. safer, cheaper and more convenient drugs that can prevent the occurrence of metabolic disorders and type 2 diabetes.

Hana Alkhalidi, a postdoctoral researcher in Liu’s lab at Virginia Tech, will present the findings at Nutrition 2024, the American Society for Nutrition’s flagship annual meeting.

Researchers found that after just one week Obese diabetic mice given oral elenolic acid weighed significantly less and showed better regulation of blood sugar (glucose) levels than before treatment, compared with control obese mice that did not receive elenolic acid. The glucose-lowering effect was comparable to that of the injectable diabetes drug liraglutide and better than that of metformin, one of the most common oral drugs for treating type 2 diabetes.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers began by identifying natural compounds that act on L cells containing two metabolic hormones released during meals. These hormones, called GLP-1 and PYY, They work together to promote a feeling of fullness and prevent overeating.while simultaneously controlling blood sugar levels and metabolism.

The screening process showed that elenolic acid, found in ripe olives and extra virgin olive oil, can trigger the release of these hormones in the intestines. They were able to produce elenolic acid by breaking down its precursor oleuropein.which is cheaper than extracting it directly from olives.

Testing of the compound in obese and diabetic mice showed that mice given oral elenolic acid experienced significant improvements in their metabolic health compared to obese control mice. After four to five weeks of treatment mice showed a 10.7% reduction in obesity.as well as blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity comparable to those of lean, healthy mice.

Elenolic acid also significantly reduced food intake and promoted weight loss, which was associated with improved circulating PYY and GLP-1 levels and suppression of agouti-related peptide in the hypothalamus. Agouti-related peptide is known to increase food intake. and weight gain with overexpression.

“Overall, the study found that elenolic acid from olives has promising effects on hormone release and metabolic health, especially in the setting of obesity and diabetes,” Liu said. “This compound appears to mimic the physiological conditions of feeding by directly stimulating hormone secretion. intestinal metabolic processes, which helps regulate energy balance and metabolic health.

According to the researchers, the concentration of elenolic acid in olive oil or olives is very low, so The benefits observed in this study are unlikely to come from olive products alone.

The research team is currently working to understand how this compound has metabolic effects by analyzing its journey through the body to find out how it is absorbed, distributed, metabolized and eliminated from the body. This will also provide information on its safety for future clinical trials.

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