It will come as a surprise to no one familiar with natural health that olive leaf extract has been proven to have medicinal value. After all, olive oil itself has been used since Biblical times for its healing properties and has played a part in medicinal traditions around the world. Modern research has confirmed ancient wisdom, citing many instances of olive oil being effective even against serious conditions like cardiovascular disease. Now research is being done on the active components in olive leaves themselves and the preliminary findings are positive. Olive leaf extract appears to have bioactive compounds which could eventually be developed into natural and effective treatments for diabetics.
The New Study
The latest study on olive leaf extract is coming out of the University of Auckland, where researchers there have discovered that this extract can indeed have a positive impact on the day-to-day management of diabetes. Specifically, it found that regular supplementation with this can not only increase pancreatic beta cell production of insulin but also lower insulin resistance in the cells to make that insulin more efficient at regulating blood sugar levels.
The Study’s Set-Up
The study, which followed 46 overweight men, divided them into a control group, which received a placebo and an intervention group which received supplementation with olive leave extract which was known to contain two of the important bioactive compounds, oleuropein and hydroxtyrosol. After the end of phase one of the study, after a six week interval, the groups were switched and the original placebo groups received the treatment instead.
It was found that, for both groups, olive leaf extract was able to raise the production of insulin from the beta cells in the pancreas by 28% while at the same time decreasing the insulin resistance of the cells by about 15%; both of these factors together equaled better day–to-day blood sugar control. These markers were measured using glucose tolerance tests and glucose/insulin curve measurements to determine pancreatic beta cell activity and researchers concluded that olive leaf extract had a significant impact on both.
Interestingly, the researchers also noted that while most conventional drugs simply increased insulin production, the fact that olive leaf extract can do this as well as decreasing insulin resistance gives it the potential to be a more effective diabetic treatment than what is currently on the market. No adverse side effects or other issues were noted with use of the supplement either.
In short, it appears that one of the answers to the worldwide epidemic of diabetes may lie in the humble olive leaf. Hopefully, research along these lines will continue and a new and more natural treatment will be the result of other, similar studies.
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