What Really Happens When You Start Taking Olive Leaf Extract

You may have walked by olive leaf extract at your local health food store or perhaps seen it praised on social media. But aside from the tidbits you have heard about it, this powerhouse supplement can offer more benefits than you think. Olive leaf extract is obtained from the olive leaves of the olive tree, and contains a distinctively powerful polyphenol called oleuropein, which studies suggest can provide anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.

A staple in the Mediterranean diet, research suggests the olive leaf is a prominent reason for lower instances of illness and cancer-related deaths in certain populations (via WebMD). According to the Mayo Clinic, those on the Mediterranean diet are said to have a reduced risk of heart disease, and the excess intake of olives may be why, as studies show olive leaf extract as a preventive of the buildup of bad cholesterol. Further research shows that olive leaf extract can lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and certain inflammatory markers, which are contributing factors for heart health.

Olive leaf offers impressive health benefits

Aside from its heart health benefits, according to a 2018 review of research, olive leaf extract may benefit your brain as well by reducing symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease and improving cognitive impairment. The antioxidant effects from the oleuropein might also assist in preventing the loss of dopamine neurons, which is associated with Parkinson's Disease. (via Healthline).

People living with genital herpes might also benefit from supplementing with olive leaf, as research shows its antiviral and antimicrobial factors lessen the virus' ability to spread to surrounding cells. Studies suggest that the antiviral properties of olive leaf can prevent bacteria and viruses (such as the flu) from replicating themselves, possibly lessening their severity and shortening the duration of the illness.

As if these benefits aren't exciting enough, olive leaf may also assist with weight loss, by helping to regulate the expression of genes which affect weight gain and even aiding in reducing food intake. 

As appealing as olive leaf extract is, it can interfere with some medications. It's a wise choice to speak with your doctor before adding this supplement to your arsenal.