Clinical trial shows olive leaf extract improves CVD risk factors

olive leaf extract

Research published this week in the European Journal of Nutrition has found that olive leaf extract can help reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.

The study – part of a collaboration between the University of Reading and Massey University in New Zealand – saw 60 pre-hypertensive participants consume Comvita olive leaf extract or placebo daily for six weeks, and then cross over to the other treatment arm for a further six weeks.

The results of the trial showed that the average 24-hour blood pressure, plasma total and LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides of participants were significantly lower after six weeks of olive leaf extract intake relative to placebo.

The authors concluded that daily consumption of olive leaf extract resulted in favourable improvements in several CVD risk factors.

Even a 2mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure is associated with a 6-7% reduction in CVD risk and a 10-15% reduction in stroke and heart attack. Therefore, the effect of the olive leaf extract on blood pressure may be associated with a 9-14% reduction in cardiovascular risk

“The results are promising and support a natural approach to helping manage cardiovascular risk factors and overall health,” commented Professor Ian Rowland from the University of Reading. “We think this is a significant finding. Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of premature death worldwide, with clear evidence that reducing risk factors like elevated blood pressure and cholesterol can help prevent this disease.”

Researchers have previously shown olive leaf extract has a positive short-term impact on cardiovascular risk factors but this is the first research to show the beneficial effects are retained over a longer timeframe.