The Protective Effects of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Immune-mediated Inflammatory Responses

Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2018;18(1):23-35. doi: 10.2174/1871530317666171114115632.


Background and objective: The increasing interest in the Mediterranean diet (MeDiet) hinges on the relevant role it plays in inflammatory diseases. Several clinical, epidemiological and experimental evidences suggest that consumption of the MeDiet reduces the incidence of certain pathologies related to oxidative stress, chronic inflammation and immune system diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD). These reductions can be partially attributed to extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) consumption which has been described as a key bioactive food because of its high nutritional quality and its particular composition of fatty acids, vitamins and polyphenols. Indeed, the beneficial effects of EVOO have been linked to its fatty acid composition, which is very rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and has moderate saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). The current knowledge available on the beneficial effects of EVOO and its phenolic compounds, specifically its biological properties and antioxidant capacity against immune-mediated inflammatory responses (atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, obesity, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease or neurodegenerative disease, among others) in addition to its potential clinical applications.

Conclusion: The increasing body of studies carried out provides compelling evidence that olive polyphenols are potential candidates to combat chronic inflammatory states.

Keywords: Bioactive compounds; EVOO; inflammatory response; olive oil; phenolic compounds; polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / immunology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Food Quality*
  • Functional Food*
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / diet therapy
  • Immune System Diseases / immunology
  • Immune System Diseases / metabolism
  • Immune System Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Olive Oil / standards
  • Olive Oil / therapeutic use*
  • Oxidative Stress


  • Olive Oil