Oleuropein is a chemical compound found in olive leaves. Today, oleuropein is thought to be linked to health benefits like longevity, lower cortisol levels, and more efficient protein utilization. Here’s our guide to oleuropein.
What is Oleuropein?
Oleuropein is a chemical compound extracted from olive leaf. The chemical is associated with a wide range of health benefits, including better protein utilization, longevity, lower cortisol levels, and more.
We typically remove oleuropein from olive oil because of its bitter flavor. Today, the best way to get oleuropein is through an oleuropein supplement – which are often labeled as olive leaf extract supplements.
Other potential sources of oleuropein include olives and olive tree leaves. You might also find oleuropein in certain olive oil varieties.
Benefits of Oleuropein
Oleuropein has not been extensively studied in humans. Nevertheless, it has demonstrated significant pharmacological benefits in certain laboratory tests – including tests on rats.
In one Japanese study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, rats that had a protein-rich diet retained 46% more protein when their diets were supplemented with oleuropein. The rats that took oleuropein also had higher testosterone levels and lower cortisol levels.
Researchers eventually determined that oleuropein worked by boosting the secretion of adrenalin and noradrenalin. Because oleuropein affects the adrenalin and noradrenalin systems, it’s classified as an adrenergic compound.
Oleuropein was also found to work by making brown fat cells burn more fatty acids.
Chemically speaking, oleuropein hydrolyzes after entering the body to form hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol. Hydroxytyrosol is often classified as the most important chemical compound for olive oil’s health benefits.
Following the release of this study, bodybuilding supplement manufacturers began adding oleuropein to their supplements. Preworkout supplements with oleuropein were particularly common. Manufacturers believed that by combining oleuropein with caffeine, you could give yourself “extreme mental focus” and better fat burning.
Another study published in 2010 examined the connection between oleuropein and its neuroprotective properties. Specifically, oleuropein is the main glycoside in olives, and olives are associated with longevity (they’re a key part of heart and brain-healthy diets like the Mediterranean diet).
Researchers from this study concluded that “the beneficial effects of olive oil are attributed to a favorable fatty acid profile and to the presence of some minor components that are also responsible for its unique flavour and taste. The major constituent of the leaves, virgin olive oil and unprocessed olive drupes of O. europaea is oleuropein. There are a number of researches documented on the cardio protective role of oleuropein and their possible therapeutic tools for pharmacological treatment of CHD.
Nevertheless, researchers cautioned that oleuropein requires more research on humans before it can be definitively linked to a reduction in degenerative brain condition symptoms:
“But still very few studies reported that the relation of oleuropein and neuroprotection viz. anti-Parkinsonism’s action and dementia and schizophrenia.”
Ultimately, based on these two major oleuropein studies, the chemical compound has been linked to better protein utilization in rats but has not been definitively linked to neuroprotective benefits. More studies on humans are required before oleuropein can be definitively linked to health benefits in humans.
How to Take Oleuropein
Oleuropein is available from a number of supplement manufacturers.
Amazon, for example, sells a Nature’s Way Olive Leaf 20% Oleuropein supplement for $14.19 for 60 capsules.
Each capsule contains 250mg of olive leaf extract along with 180mg of olive leaf.
Nature’s Way claims that by taking this supplement you can enjoy
“health & longevity through the healing power of nature – that’s what it means to Trust the Leaf.”
If you’re having trouble finding oleuropein supplements online, change your search to “olive leaf extract” supplements. More supplements are labeled olive leaf extract supplements with little mention of oleuropein – even though that’s the active ingredient in all of these supplements.
The Vitamin Shoppe, for example, sells an Olive Leaf Extract 500MG supplement (100 capsules) for $11.99. That supplement uses oleuropein as its active ingredient (500mg of 6% oleuropein 30mg in each capsule).
You’ll notice that these supplements all have something in common: they don’t advertise specific health benefits. They simply mention things like “better longevity” as the benefits of taking the supplement. That’s because oleuropein has not been definitively linked to any health benefits in major human studies so far. That doesn’t mean it can’t benefit your health – it just means we don’t know exactly how it benefits your health.