Immune system and olive leaves

Olive Leaves and the Immune System

Nowadays, prevention is of fundamental importance.

For all those people who care about their health and wonder whether there is an effective product to prevent Covid-19, the answer is in the article by the authoritative doctor Massimo Spattini.

Below is the full text of his post.

Olive leaf extract and the immune system

We often hear about extra virgin olive oil for its powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic and cardiovascular protective properties, just to mention a few.

Less well known, however, are the beneficial effects of olive leaves used in the form of extracts or infusions and whose use for therapeutic purposes goes back to ancient times.

The phytochemical properties of olive leaves, which the plant needs to protect itself against pests and diseases, are related to several secondary metabolites, such as flavonoids and oleosides. Of the latter, oleuropein is the most numerous, while some of the main flavonoids found in olive leaves are rutin, luteolin and apigenin. Other bioactive molecules found in olive leaves include tyrosol, elenolic acid and hydroxytyrosol. These compounds give olive leaf extract several benefits for the immune system including antiviral and antibacterial properties.

In addition to its powerful anti-inflammatory activity, there are considerable literature studies supporting the ability of olive leaves to support and strengthen the immune system against some viral infections.

In a 2018 study in vitro, oleuropein extracted from olive leaves modified the immune response by increasing the production of Interferon-γ with increased CD8+ and Natural Killer cells. Oleuropein has also been observed to maintain the balance between regulatory T cells and Th17 cells.

Some research shows the effectiveness of olive leaf against respiratory viruses. A randomised study conducted by the University of Auckland in New Zealand suggests that olive leaf may help treat viral respiratory infections, including coronaviruses. A 2001 study by the University of Hong Kong identified 6 antiviral compounds extracted from olive leaves that were effective against parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Olive leaf is also effective against bacterial pathogens and we know that most bacterial pneumonias are gram-positive. According to a joint study by Arab American University and the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, oleuropein had the greatest effect against gram-positive pathogens, while gram-negative bacteria appeared to be more resistant.

Regarding antiviral properties, a study was published in the Journal of Biochemical and Biphysical Research in which researchers at the New York University identified the anti-HIV activity of olive leaf extract in regulating the gene expression of virus-infected host cells.

The results showed that treatment with oleuropein contained in olive leaves reverted several mechanisms associated with HIV-1 infection.

Another joint study from NYU and Harvard Medical School concluded that oleuropein from olive leaves is “a unique class of HIV-1 inhibitors” and is “effective against viral fusion and integration”.

The precise mechanism of the antiviral activity of olive leaf extract could be attributed to its ability to block viral particles from entering cells.

Furthermore, olive leaf extract has been shown to be a viral inhibitor in the early stages of replication. From the latest research on Covid-19, it appears that the virus attacks the host cell’s ACE2 receptor, the same receptor that is also activated in HIV infections. This is one of the reasons why patients infected with this new strain of coronavirus are being prescribed HIV drugs. This question definitely needs further investigation, but could olive leaf extract contribute to the treatment of this new virus?

Scientific researches for further investigation

This contribution by doctor Massimo Spattini is also confirmed by the following scientific researches that he mentions.

Anti-HIV activity of olive leaf extract (OLE) and modulation of the host cell gene expression by HIV-1 infection and OLE treatment – PubMed

Olive leaf extracts act as modulators of the human immune response – PubMed

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