Purpose: Dietary polyphenols have been demonstrated to favourably modify a number of cardiovascular risk markers such as blood pressure (BP), endothelial function and plasma lipids. We conducted a randomised, double-blind, controlled, crossover trial to investigate the effects of a phenolic-rich olive leaf extract (OLE) on BP and a number of associated vascular and metabolic measures.
Methods: A total of 60 pre-hypertensive [systolic blood pressure (SBP): 121-140 mmHg; diastolic blood pressure (DBP): 81-90 mmHg] males [mean age 45 (±SD 12.7 years, BMI 26.7 (±3.21) kg/m2] consumed either OLE (136 mg oleuropein; 6 mg hydroxytyrosol) or a polyphenol-free control daily for 6 weeks before switching to the alternate arm after a 4-week washout.
Results: Daytime [-3.95 (±SD 11.48) mmHg, p = 0.027] and 24-h SBP [-3.33 (±SD 10.81) mmHg, p = 0.045] and daytime and 24-h DBP [-3.00 (±SD 8.54) mmHg, p = 0.025; -2.42 (±SD 7.61) mmHg, p = 0.039] were all significantly lower following OLE intake, relative to the control. Reductions in plasma total cholesterol [-0.32 (±SD 0.70) mmol/L, p = 0.002], LDL cholesterol [-0.19 (±SD 0.56) mmol/L, p = 0.017] and triglycerides [-0.18 (±SD 0.48), p = 0.008] were also induced by OLE compared to control, whilst a reduction in interleukin-8 [-0.63 (±SD 1.13) pg/ml; p = 0.026] was also detected. Other markers of inflammation, vascular function and glucose metabolism were not affected.
Conclusion: Our data support previous research, suggesting that OLE intake engenders hypotensive and lipid-lowering effects in vivo.
Keywords: Blood pressure; Cardiovascular disease; Oleuropein; Olive leaf; Plasma lipids; Polyphenols.