Immune System

The Effect of Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract benefits our body’s defenses through two basic biological processes, the reduction of the oxidant stress and the protection of the microflora.

Free Radicals

Different kinds of chemical reactions are constantly taking place in the cells of our organism. The substances (molecules) that participate or are produced by these reactions, are compounds (chains) of atoms of chemical elements that exist in nature (such as carbon, oxygen, hydrogen).

In atoms, electrons tend to be in pairs. There are some special situations in which not all the electrons are paired, some are unpaired, alone, single, or otherwise “free”. Compounds containing atoms with such single electrons are called “free radicals”.

Free radicals are very active, they are mobilized extremely fast and extract electrons from other molecules in order to have in pairs all of their own electrons. Removing electrons from one substance is called “oxidation” and adding electrons to another substance is called “reduction”. The whole phenomenon is called “redox”. The substance that loses electrons is called “oxidized”.

Free radicals can fill the positions of their missing electrons by oxidizing (destroying) other molecules in our body. Taking electrons from molecules has as a result the change of their chemical properties or their complete degradation. If the molecules that are “destroyed” are vital to the functions of our cells, such as proteins and DNA, our body’s cells malfunction and die.

Oxidized molecules are the new free radicals (since they lack electrons), which in turn oxidize (destroy) other molecules, causing multiplicatively similar chain reactions. And that’s essentially the problem with free radicals. The end result can be an irreversible tissue and organ damage and the birth of many diseases.


Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals. They easily provide the electrons that free radicals are frantically looking for. In this way free radicals don’t have the chance to destroy vital molecules for the cells. Upon oxidation, antioxidants are also converted to free radicals, but unlike other oxidized molecules they are not very active and stop or inhibit the oxidation process.

Free radicals are part of the natural function of our body. Glucose is oxidized by the oxygen we inhale, producing carbon dioxide, water and energy. White blood cells release free radicals to destroy hostile bacteria. The liver produces and uses free radicals in the detoxification phases. Our body can balance the action of free radicals by using antioxidants that it produces itself or that we provide it with the food.

Oxidative stress

When there is an excessive accumulation of many free radicals, the body is in unbalance. Disorders, degration, diseases and fast aging make their appearance. The increased oxidative load (excessive number of oxidized molecules in relation to antioxidants), is associated with aging and many diseases that occur with age, such as diabetes and hardening of the arteries. To date, it has been confirmed to favor more than 100 diseases.

There are several factors that favor the overgrowth of free radicals. The main factors are smoking, chemical residues and additives in foods, pollution, alcohol, excess solar radiation. In addition, lack of sleep, bad mood and stress favor not only free radicals but also reduce the production of endogenous antioxidants. Another not so well known reason is the excessive consumption of food. As we eat more, our mitochondria release higher levels of free radicals.

Today, the oxidative load (stress) on our body is much higher than 200 years ago. Avoid at least smoking, non-natural foods, high glycemic index foods or foods high in refined carbohydrates and preservatives.

Lowering Oxidation

A healthy natural diet is an effective way for our body to get the variety of antioxidants it needs in the right proportions. Fruits, vegetables, greek honey, whole grains, legumes, greek yogurt, eggs and nuts, all contain complex antioxidants (and many times unknown) that humans cannot replicate. And that’s the point where the benefits of eating a variety of natural foods lie.

Foods that have more antioxidants than others are often called superfoods. In fact, for each one of us, superfood is the food that give us the ingredients we need and lack.

Olive leaf extract is an important source of antioxidants. Its antioxidant capacity is much higher, for example, than that of vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, raspberries, green tea, grape seeds. Its properties are due to its unique natural composition in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, such as hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleuropein, luteolin, apigenin, cigene caffeic acid), elenolic acid,…

Hydroxytyrosol (olive leaf polyphenol) has one of the highest levels of free radical neutralization ever reported for a natural antioxidant. It is rapidly absorbed into the tissues and is able to act even in the brain and neutralize free radicals throughout the central nervous system.

The high level of antioxidants in olive leaf extract and its ability to regulate or modify one or more immune functions (immunomodulatory effects), help reduce the oxidative stress, heal cell damage and relieve from any pressure the immune system encounters.

Beneficial Microflora

Bacteria are unicellular organisms (rarely multicellular), larger in size than viruses but small enough to be seen with the naked eye. They are found everywhere, on ice, in the desert, near volcanoes, on animals and plants, in our bodies.

In the human body their highest concentration is observed in the intestinal system, while the second highest in the mouth. It is estimated that there are more than 700 different types in the mouth alone and about 10 bacterial cells for each human cell in our body. With such large numbers, it is not surprising that bacteria significantly affect our health.

There are bacteria that work and coexist constructively with our body, benefiting each other, and bacteria that cause us problems and diseases. Harmful bacteria produce powerful chemicals, toxins, that destroy the cells in our tissues. Examples of beneficial bacteria are probiotics that seem to reduce infections, as well as those that cause the fermentation of bread, yogurt, must. Among other things, the good bacteria in our body are important for both the functioning of our digestive and immune systems.

Olive leaf extract strengthens healthy microflora in the intestines and stomach by reducing a bunch of harmful bacteria (such as those associated with stomach ulcers and staph infections) while promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. (1)

In addition, the extract gradually restores the intestinal epithelial barrier, thus further helping the body’s defenses. (1)

In fact, it has an admirable property of targeting harmful bacteria without destroying the colonies of good bacteria. (…)

Olive leaf extract is not panacea for all the hostile bacteria in our body. In addition, it does not treat everything with the same intensity, because the quality characteristics of an extract are not only affected by its production process but also by the geographical and climatic conditions of the olive tree.

Greece is an admirable country in terms of olive growing conditions. The olive tree products of the Greek land are sought after all over the world for their beneficial effects on human health.