Bioactive compounds in citrus and olives may boost heart health, finds study

Could a person’s intake of specific bioactive plant components reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease?

A group of Spanish researchers led by Maravillas Sánchez Macarro of the Health Sciences Department at the Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM) decided to find out, testing the effects of a combination of citrus flavones and flavanones and olive-leaf polyphenols on healthy individuals.

Subjects took a daily supplement containing extracts of citrus fruit and olive leaf or a placebo for eight weeks; before and after the trial, they were monitored for various markers of cardiovascular health including flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD), blood pressure (BP), lipid profile, thrombotic status, oxidative stress biomarkers, inflammation-related biomarkers, anthropometric variables, quality of life and physical activity.

In the ‘active product’ group, statistically significant within-group and between-group differences were found at eight weeks (as compared with baseline) in FMD, systolic and diastolic BP, total cholesterol, LDL-C, LDL-oxidase, oxidised/reduced glutathione ratio, protein carbonyl and IL-6. .

The researchers concluded: ‘All these findings, taken together, support a beneficial effect of supplementation with a mixture of grapefruit, bitter orange fruits, and olive leaf extracts on underlying mechanisms that may interact each other to decrease the cardiovascular risk in healthy people.

Growers of olives and citrus fruits might want to consider converting their produce into high-value nutriceuticals. For health-conscious consumers, it’s yet another reason to consider adopting a fruit-and-veg-rich Mediterranean diet.

Read the NutraIngredients USA article about this research.

Read the original paper.

‘Remarkable findings’ reported in RCT on citrus and olive polyphenols for heart health
I NutraIngredients USA; ‘Effect of a Combination of Citrus Flavones and Flavanones and Olive Polyphenols for the Reduction of Cardiovascular Disease Risk: An Exploratory Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study in Healthy Subjects’ I Nutrients special issue:
Diet, Nutrition and Chronic Degenerative Diseases (May, 2020)