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Compound in Olive Oil May Help Inhibit Brain Cancer


Scientists at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have found another health benefit of olive oil — its main ingredient, oleic acid, may be protective against brain cancer.

The oil’s nutrients, antioxidants and fatty acids that provide a broad range of wellness advantages truly make it a wonder food.

The study discovered that oleic acid stops a cell protein called Musashi2 from reducing the production of microRNA-7 (miR-7). As miR-7 is a substance in brain tissue involved in hindering brain cancer formation, the oleic acid action might decrease the likelihood of a malignancy.

“While we cannot yet say that olive oil in the diet helps prevent brain cancer, our findings do suggest that oleic acid can support the production of tumour-suppressing molecules in cells grown in the lab,” said lead author Dr. Gracjan Michlewski in a statement. “Further studies could help determine the role that olive oil might have in brain health.”

The study was published in the Journal of Molecular Biology.

According to the American Brain Tumor Association, 80,000 people in the U.S. will receive a brain tumor diagnosis this year. Of these, 26,000 will be cancerous. The disease will prove fatal in 17,000 individuals.

Olive Oil and Glioblastomas

Earlier research also supports the value of olive oil in fighting brain cancer. It indicates miR-7 suppresses the growth of glioblastomas, which are the fastest-spreading and most fatal type of brain tumor. In addition, it shows that oleuropein, a phenolic compound in olive oil, hinders glioblastoma cell migration.

Olive Oil and Brain Health

Aside from olive oil’s beneficial effects for brain cancer, research suggests it helps preserve cognition. A 2015 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine examined the brain function of older people who ate the Mediterranean diet augmented with either four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or a substantial serving of nuts per day. It also assessed the brain function of those who ate a lower-fat diet. The results showed the cognition of individuals on the low-fat diet declined, while the cognition of those on the olive oil- and nut-rich Mediterranean diet remained stable throughout the study and in the four years that followed.

A new 2017 study published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology builds on the evidence associating extra virgin olive oil with protection of cognitive function. The findings indicated it preserves memory and learning ability, as well as decreases the formation of neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid-beta plaques in the brain, both of which are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

All of these promising studies suggest a connection between extra virgin olive oil and brain health. Add the oil liberally to your salads, along with vegetable, chicken and fish dishes. This isn’t one of those health admonitions that are difficult to follow, as olive oil enhances the flavor of any food.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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