Consumption of olives (Olea europaea L.) is associated with a low incidence of inflammation-related diseases. Olive fruit is rich in bioactive pentacyclic triterpenoids, mainly maslinic acid. This study, a randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial, examined the effects of an orally administered maslinic acid supplement, olive fruit extract, on 20 middle-aged and elderly volunteers with mild knee joint pain. Each subject (58 ± 7 years) received either olive fruit extract, containing 50 mg maslinic acid (n = 12), or placebo (n = 8) daily for 12 weeks and evaluated for pain and physical functions as primary outcome measures. Secondary outcome measures included body composition and inflammatory biomarkers in serum. Although both groups exhibited improved pain visual analogue scale score and quality of life after supplementation, symptoms were better in the maslinic acid group than in the placebo group. After 12 weeks, maslinic acid group exhibited significant decrease in body weight and body mass index suggesting that maslinic acid affected the weight of volunteers with mild knee joint pain. Therefore, olive products containing maslinic acid may be useful as a new preventive and therapeutic food ingredient for arthritic diseases. Since this clinical study is a preliminary study, it was not registered in a publicly accessible database.
Keywords: anti-inflammation; knee joint pain; maslinic acid; olive fruit extract; weight loss.