Olive leaf extract more powerful than oil in diabetes control, reveals new study

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.

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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.


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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


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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.




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Why Vitamin C supplements help lower blood pressure

Baltimore:  Vitamin C has been revealed as the latest dietary nutrient that can help lower blood pressure in ageing adults, according to scientists.
In a review published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore report a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in associated with vitamin C supplementation.
For their analysis, scientific researcher Edgar R. Miller III and his colleagues selected 29 randomized clinical trials conducted between 1996 and 2011 that involved the oral administration of vitamin C for at least two weeks.
Average pretreatment systolic blood pressure ranged from 117 to 175 mmHg, and diastolic from 73 to 97 mmHg. The dose of vitamin C used in the studies varied from 60 to 4000 milligrams per day, with a median dose of 500 milligrams daily.
In a pooled analysis of the trials’ participants, vitamin C supplementation was associated with a 3.84 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 1.48 mmHg reduction in diastolic pressure. 
When trials involving patients with hypertension were analyzed, reductions averaged 4.85 mmHg and 1.67 mmHg. Mechanisms posited for vitamin C in reducing blood pressure include an increase in a cofactor for endothelial nitric oxide synthase (which increases the production of nitric oxide), and improvement of endothelial function of brachial and coronary arteries.
Announcing their results the authors commented: “This meta-analysis is the first quantitative review of randomized trials evaluating the effect of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure.
“In short-term trials, vitamin C supplementation reduced systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Long-term trials on the effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure and clinical events are needed.”
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The real detox

Yogatastic Don’t spend loads of money on detox packs or string yourself out on a disgusting syrup, juice and pepper concoction – commit to something which actually works…

Every year we say we will stop eating when we feel full, or have one or two fewer glasses of wine but it never works.Well now the forced excess is all over and it’s time for punishing ourselves with the latest detox and weight loss fad. Or is it?

Losing that bloated sinking feeling and getting yourself back on track for 2011 could be much simpler than you realise.

We know the celebrities all endorse various detox/weight loss plans and we understand why. They are under a great amount of pressure to look good and above all, be the slimmest they can be, which prompts drastic measures in even the least neurotic and anxious of people. For those of us living our mundane (cough) everyday lives, such drastic action is not required: a few little tweaks can make all the difference.

Here are six quick tips to banish that ‘jabba the hutt’ feeling:

1. Make sure you get enough sleep. When you are tired your body wants the high energy, quick fix food which is very bad news for your blood sugar level and waistline. Tired people are also less likely to have the energy to exercise. Tired people always look older: perhaps the most effective inducement to get enough shut-eye. Need any more reasons?!

2. As above, high energy/sugar food is very bad news for you (unless you are a super-duper fit athlete who burns a gazillion calories a day). Eating high sugar foods sends you up into the stratosphere for about 20 minutes until you crash back down to earth and into the biscuit cupboard. We don’t need to give it up completely, just reduce portion size and be careful not to eat your treat after dinner as those calories will be going nowhere fast.

3. Raise your heart rate for at least 15 minutes a day. We all have some lonely exercise equipment or one of the many computer console exercise programs to hand for a quick endorphin boost, so requires no extra spenditure.  It gives you a little extra energy to go about your business and you don’t have to trek to the gym to spend time with other sweaty people. Yuck.

4. Alcohol. We’re sorry to have to say this but if you want to feel better within a week, any delicious alcohol-based beverage is out. Alcohol is full of sugar. Wine is quite probably the healthiest of all the marketed beverages but still, as above, we know it is hard to restrict ourselves to just the one glass. So we advocate cutting it out for just a little while. Your liver will give thanks and you will very soon notice you are much less sluggish with better skin.

5. Fruit and veg. You may have heard the news, you may not have done, but here it is; we do not have to eat 5 portions of fruit or veg a day. Of course it is advisable to eat as much as you can without stressing or obsessing if for no other reason that by eating something green, you are not eating a big cake or pork pie. Fruit is nice as well. You may have forgotten how nice it is with all those sugar laden treats out there but if you manage to cut back your sugar intake you will rediscover just how naturally beautiful many fruits are. Try to eat the actual fruits instead of getting juice – the fibre helps slow the flow of sugar into your bloodstream.

6. Supplements. The most important are fish oil/omega 3 capsules which come with a side helping of Vitamin D – perfect for sharpening the old brain functions and making us feel less depressed about being mid-winter. There is no Vitamin D RDA and although we probably get enough help from the sun during summer, we need to supplement like crazy in winter. If you are over 50 you should be taking a Vitamin D supplement all year round. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to all the old life threatening bad pennies of heart disease, diabetes and cancer and more research needs to be done to see exactly what deficient people are missing out on. As far as other vitamins are concerned: if you can manage a small daily dose of vitamin C, this will also help to reduce your chances of getting a bad cold.

See, not a massive change, but will help you start to feel loads better and you might be inspired to effect a bigger change in your lifestyle. It doesn’t take much to get your body back on track – our organs, especially our main detox organ – the marvellous liver – are very resilient and do their very best job with just a little help from us.


How to lose a cold in five days…

multivitaminsIt’s that time again. Here I am, slumped on the sofa, surrounded by tissues and reeking of Lemsip (or a competing supermarket own brand). It’s at dark times like this I wonder, what could I have done to prevent this sad state of affairs?

Apparently the average adult catches 2-3 colds per year, so there are plenty of products out there claiming to prevent or hurry the demise of the inconsiderate little virus.

There are also the traditional cures, including those your mum probably told you about – starving a fever and feeding a cold – whatever that means! Do any of them actually work?

Orange juice/Vitamin C

This is often promoted as a way to keep your immune system healthy but there is no evidence to suggest that it is any more beneficial than other fruit and veggies. Drinking the juice once you have a cold does make you feel better though – sugar rush! If you are taking a vitamin C supplement before and during your cold, you may shorten the duration of your cold.


The manufacturer of the supplement claims that it is the world’s best known herb for supporting the body’s defence system. However, a review of research in 2006 by the Cochrane Collaboration (a network of scientists who evaluate medical research) found that taking Echinacea was no more effective than a placebo at preventing colds. There is one species of Echinacea, Purpurea, which was found to have some effect in shortening the duration of colds, although the evidence was not entirely conclusive.

“The more recent, better-designed studies tend to find that Echinacea doesn’t work,” notes researcher–and Cochrane reviewer–Bruce Barrett of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. “Or it’s possible that Echinacea has only a very small positive effect that some studies will pick up on and others won’t, depending on how they’re designed.”

Multi-vitamin/probiotic supplements

One study (accepted to be the only reasonably conclusive one) followed 225 men and women who took a probiotic multivitamin over two successive cold seasons. The result was that the participants taking the supplement got as many colds as those taking the placebo. However, those taking the supplement found that their colds were shorter by up to two days. They also suffered less from coughing and other symptoms.

Chicken soup

Makes your stomach feel lovely and warm and cheers you up a little, which may hasten the end of your cold!

Vicks First Defence

Apparently it traps the little blighter virus particles at the back of your nose and can be used to stop a cold becoming full-blown (excuse the pun!) In a trial most users noticed that their colds were reduced by one day in comparison with people using other cold relief products.

So, if you use one or more of these products you may reduce your suffering by one or two days but as you probably already guessed, once the virus sets up camp in your nose, there is not much you can do but wait it out. Sorry.

Some lovely little facts about colds….

The virus causing the common cold can only affect you if it gets directly into your nose. So unless you have let someone sneeze directly into your face on the bus or train, you have probably infected yourself with your own hands. If you are concerned about catching a cold this way, carry an antibacterial gel with you and make sure you use it before touching your face.

The virus starts to get busy once it hits the back of your nose, with symptoms appearing within 12 hours. You will find the peak at 1 1/2 to 3 days, and symptoms are generally gone within a week.

Viruses can survive on cold hard surfaces for up to 24 hours so don’t assume you’re safe if you haven’t been near someone who has a cold.

What’s the best way to treat a cold?

1. Begin treatment at the earliest sign of a cold.

2. Take a sustained-release, first-generation antihistamine (the kind that can make you drowsy) like diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Newer, non-sedating antihistamines like Ioratadine (Claritin) don’t appear to be as effective.

3. At the same time, take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), like aspirin or ibruprofen.

4. Continue taking the antihistamine and NSAID every 12 hours until the cold symptoms clear (3 to 7 days).

5. If your stuffy nose or cough doesn’t seem to be getting better, add an oral decongestant like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and a cough suppressant like dextromethorphan, or DM (Robitussin Cough DM).

6. If you feel worse or no better after 7 to 10 days, see your doctor. You may have developed a bacterial infection.

Source: adapted from www.commoncold.org.



Vitamin C protects skin from cancer


London: A joint study by scientists in the UK & Portugal has discovered a new role played by Vitamin C in protecting the skin from cancer and sun damage.

Researchers at the University of Leicester and Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal studied new protective properties of vitamin C in cells from the human skin, which could lead to better skin regeneration.

The work, by Tiago Duarte, Marcus S. Cooke and G. Don Jones, found that a form of Vitamin C helped to promote wound healing and also helped protect the DNA damage of skin cells. Their findings have been published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

This report is the latest in a long line of publications from these researchers, at the University of Leicester, concerning vitamin C. Previously, the group has published evidence that DNA repair is upregulated in people consuming vitamin C supplements. The researchers have now provided some mechanistic evidence for this, in cell culture, using techniques such as Affymetrix microarray, for looking at gene expression, and the ¬ĎComet¬í assay to study DNA damage and repair.

Tiago Duarte, formerly of the University of Leicester, and now at the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal, said: ¬ďThe exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation increases in summer, often resulting in a higher incidence of skin lesions. Ultraviolet radiation is also a genotoxic agent responsible for skin cancer, through the formation of free radicals and DNA damage.

¬ďOur study analysed the effect of sustained exposure to a vitamin C derivative, ascorbic acid 2-phosphate (AA2P), in human dermal fibroblasts. We investigated which genes are activated by vitamin C in these cells, which are responsible for skin regeneration.

¬ďThe results demonstrated that vitamin C may improve wound healing by stimulating quiescent fibroblasts to divide and by promoting their migration into the wounded area. Vitamin C could also protect the skin by increasing the capacity of fibroblasts to repair potentially mutagenic DNA lesions.¬Ē

Even though vitamin C was discovered over 70 years ago as the agent that prevents scurvy, its properties are still under much debate in the scientific community. In fact, the annual meeting of the International Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine, which will be held this year in San Francisco (USA), will feature a session dedicated to vitamin C, entitled ¬ďNew discoveries for an old vitamin”.

Dr Marcus S. Cooke from the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine and Department of Genetics, at the University of Leicester, added: ¬ďThe study indicates a mechanism by which vitamin C could contribute to the maintenance of a healthy skin by promoting wound healing and by protecting cellular DNA against damage caused by oxidation¬Ē. ¬ďThese findings are particular importance to our photobiology interests, and we will certainly be looking into this further¬Ē.

These results will be of great relevance to the cosmetics industry. Free radicals are associated with premature skin aging, and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are known to counter these highly damaging compounds. This new evidence suggest that, in addition to ¬Ďmopping up¬í free radicals, vitamin C can help remove the DNA damage they form, if they get past the cell¬ís defences.

The study has the potential to lead to advances in the prevention and treatment of skin lesions specifically, as well as contributing to the fight against cancer.