Auckland: A new patient trial has shown that an antioxidant extract made from olive leaves is far more powerful than the oil from the fruit in lowering insulin resistance.
The trial carried out on 47 men at risk of developing type II diabetes and carried out by the Liggin’s Institute at The University of Auckland revealed a significant improvement in the action of insulin and the way it is secreted in overweight men.
Incidence of Type II diabetes is highest in overweight or obese people and occurs as a result of insulin not working effectively in the body. The findings, due to be published in an international journal, could help the UK’s ageing and increasingly overweight population to help prevent onset of the disease.
The clinical trial used Comvita Olive Leaf Extract, a black liquid which is made from the resilient, bitter-tasting leaves of the olive tree. The trial revealed that a 12 week course of the natural supplement improved insulin action to healthier levels1. On average a 28% improvement in insulin secretion and a 15% improvement in insulin action was witnessed in the olive leaf group when compared to placebo1.
The research suggests that a daily tablespoon of olive leaf extract (or two capsules) holds promise for the millions of “Dia-risk” individuals in the UK as part of a preventative strategy against the onset of Type II diabetes. A condition which recent research suggests costs the NHS nearly £10 billion4.
Around 1 in 20 people in the UK5 are Type II diabetics and it is most likely to affect those with a BMI >30, although ethnicity also plays a part – black and Asian groups are more at risk of developing the disease5. It is also estimated that around 2% of people in the UK have type II diabetes, but are undiagnosed6. Further millions of British adults and increasingly teenagers are “dia-risk”, meaning they are likely to develop the condition: such as those with an overweight or obese BMI, older people or those with a genetic predisposition.
Insulin is an essential tool in the body; it allows glucose to pass into the cells of the body to be used as energy. However in Type II diabetes (and to some extent the “dia-risk”) the pancreas cannot produce as much insulin as it needs to or this insulin can no longer be used effectively by the cells (known as insulin resistance). This means the glucose isn’t being used effectively in the body and remains in the blood leading to elevated blood sugar levels.
Diabetes Type II is a serious condition and many UK sufferers rely on prescribed drugs to treat their condition. This is not ideal as many common diabetic medications that are currently prescribed in the UK have been linked to unpleasant side effects such as sickness and diarrhoea7 – and serious health implications such as increased risk of heart failure78.
Dr Ralk Schlothauer, Chief Technical Officer for Comvita said: “We are pleased to report that Olive Leaf was well tolerated by all participants with no major side effects. The study found on average a 15% improvement in insulin action, a very encouraging result.
“While we are very excited by the findings of the clinical trial, we would not advise any Type II diabetics to use olive leaf in place of medications prescribed by their doctor,” Simon Pothecary, UK spokesperson for Comvita whose Olive Leaf Complex is sold in Boots and Holland & Barrett stores across the UK, comments”However the research holds promise for the millions of people who are at risk of developing the disease, perhaps they are overweight or there is a family history of the condition.”
While much research has focused on the health benefits of olive oil, new data regarding olive leaf is emerging. Active compounds found in olive oil called ‘polyphenolics’ have been identified, but the olive leaf contains these in much higher concentrations – around 30-40 times stronger.
Comvita’s Olive Leaf Complex is available as a liquid (£22.99 for 500ml) and a one-a-day capsule (90 for £25.99) from larger Boots, Holland & Barrett and all good pharmacies and health food stores. For further information call 0800 652 3468 or visit www.comvita.co.uk
1 Dr Bock & Professor Cutfield, Olive Leaf extract improves insulin sensitivity, Liggins Institute, University of Auckland (2013)
2 Ou et al, Hormones and Metabolic research (2006)
3 Miyazaki et al, Diabetes care (2002)
4 York Health Economic Consortium study, Diabetic Medicine (2012)
5 Diabetes UK, Diabetes in the UK: Key statistics on diabetes (2010)
6 Dr Neel Basudev, Pre-diabetes PCT presentation (2008) http://www.healthcheck.nhs.uk/Library/NeelBasudevPrediabetes241110.pdf
7 NHS Clinical Knowledge Summaries http://www.cks.nhs.uk/diabetes_type_2/management/quick_answers/scenario_managing_glucose_control/view_full_scenario
8 Eurich et al, Benefits and harms of antidiabetic agents in patients with diabetes and heart failure: systematic review, British Medical Journal (2007) http://www.bmj.com/content/335/7618/497.full
About Comvita Olive Leaf Complex
The Comvita olive tree grove is situated in Queensland, Australia. The selected trees are naturally farmed utilising deep spring water for irrigation and organic worm fertilisers. The extraction facility is located at the orchard ensuring fresh, live leaves are processed within minutes of being picked. This means Comvita Olive Leaf Complex has guaranteed polyphenolic levels – and in particular high Oleuropein levels. Other Olive Leaf products are made from dried, stored leaves – which lose much of their therapeutic properties. Comvita Olive Leaf Complex also carries the ‘Synergy 12’ label to signify the 12 key naturally occurring polyphenolic antioxidants it contains.