Research shows that estrogen receptor β has a protective effect on colon cancer and may inhibit proliferation of colon cancer cells. Estrogen receptor β is the main estrogen receptor expressed at a high level by normal human colon mucosa. In a cancerous colon, however, expression of estrogen receptor β decreases and is associated with progression of colorectal cancer.
Interest in phenols present in extra virgin olive oil as possible anti-carcinogenic agents for colon cancer stems from the fact that most phenols have a chemical structure similar to 17 β-estradiol (main form of estrogen in humans) and may be protective against colon cancer by acting as selective estrogen receptor modulators.
In a recent study carried out in the University of Florence and published in the Journal Nutrition and Cancer, researchers evaluated the effects of phenolic extracts from two different Italian varieties of extra virgin olive oil on human colon cancer cell lines in vitro. They reported that the total polyphenol content of the EVOOs, supplied by companies from Tuscany and Liguria, was 12.69 and 8.43 milligrams per milliliter, respectively. Hydroxytyrosol, secoiridoids and lignans were the main phenolic extracts identified in these EVOOs.
The phenol extracts were tested on human colon cancer cell lines that were designed to overexpress estrogen receptor β. The authors reported that the EVOO extracts interacted with signals dependent on estrogen for growth of colorectal cancerous cells, thus providing an anti-proliferative effect on them. EVOO extracts also down regulated the expression of several genes, including BAG-1 that resulted in inhibition of cellular growth.
The researchers plan on conducting more studies to investigate the role of EVOO extracts in stopping colorectal cancer growth through the estrogen receptor β metabolic pathway.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
These latest findings add to the health benefits of consuming a Mediterranean diet, which provides many cancer-protective components because it is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, seafood, whole grains, and wine.
Sources: Olive Oil Times
While diet and nutrition are often discussed in relation to prevention of chronic disease, occasionally certain foods are seen as a treatment as well. A new study by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine are finding that a certain fat found in olive oil may be beneficial in individuals with heart failure.
Heart failure is a condition that develops over time where the heart becomes weaker and cannot pump enough blood, or with enough force, to the rest of the body. Treatment usually means controlling and stopping the condition from getting worse.
According to this study, a weakened heart is unable to store and process fats to use for fuel, leaving it with less energy. This may result in production of toxic intermediary byproducts that further contribute to heart disease. E. Douglas Lewandowski, director of the UIC Center for Cardiovascular Research, and his team wanted to examine how healthy and diseased hearts reacted to oleate (a fat in olive oil ) and palmitate (a fat found in palm oil used in many processed foods as well as cheeses and meats). The researchers looked at how the hearts of rats were beating when they were given the two different types of fat and found that with oleate there was an immediate improvement in how the hearts contracted and pumped blood, as opposed to palmitate where fat metabolism was imbalanced, cells struggled to access fuel and there was also a rise in toxic fatty by products.
In addition, it was observed that oleate also increased the activation of several genes for enzymes that metabolize fat. Lewandowski said it was an exciting finding that beneficial gene expression can be restored, with a more balanced fat metabolism and a reduction of toxic fat metabolites, just by supplying hearts with oleate.
It is well established that olive oil has a protective effect. The discovery that it may be able to influence the heart positively, even after the appearance of disease, makes it important not only to prevention but a promising contributor to a treatment regimen too.
Published in Olive Oil Times, on September 30, 2014