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Oleocanthal, a natural anti-Inflammatory compound in extra virgin olive oil
journal contributionposted on 2010-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sara Cicerale, Russell KeastRussell Keast
Recent research on the olive oil phenolic, oleo canthal has led to speculation that it may confer some of the health benefits associated with a traditional Mediterranean diet. Oleocanthal produces a peppery, stinging sensation at the back of the throat similar to that of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), ibuprofen. This led to the hypothesis that the perceptual similarity between oleocanthal and ibuprofen may indicate similar pharmacological properties. Subsequent studies have proved the hypothesis and oleocanthal was shown not only to inhibit inflammation in the same way as ibuprofen does, but it was found to be substantially more potent than this NSAID. It is important to note that inflammation has been demonstrated to playa significant role in the development of a number of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and certain types of cancers. Therefore, as a result of dietary feeding with olive oil as a part of the traditional Mediterranean diet, a reduction in inflammation produced by oleocanthal is speculated to be the potential mechanism that is partially responsible for the health benefits associated with this dietary pattern. This review summarizes the current knowledge on oleocanthal, in tenns of its physiological and sensory properties, as well as a discussion on the factors that have the ability to affect oleocanthal concentrations in extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs).