Olive Oil Nutraceuticals in the Prevention and Management of Diabetes: From Molecules to Lifestyle.

Ahmad Alkhatib, Catherine Tsang, Jaakko Tuomilehto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Lifestyle is the primary prevention of diabetes, especially type-2 diabetes (T2D). Nutritional intake of olive oil (OO), the key Mediterranean diet component has been associated with the prevention and management of many chronic diseases including T2D. Several OO bioactive compounds such as monounsaturated fatty acids, and key biophenols including hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, have been associated with preventing inflammation and cytokine-induced oxidative damage, glucose lowering, reducing carbohydrate absorption, and increasing insulin sensitivity and related gene expression. However, research into the interaction of OO nutraceuticals with lifestyle components, especially physical activity, is lacking. Promising postprandial effects have been reported when OO or other similar monounsaturated fatty acids were the main dietary fat compared with other diets. Animal studies have shown a potential anabolic effect of oleuropein. Such effects could be further potentiated via exercise, especially strength training, which is an essential exercise prescription for individuals with T2D. There is also an evidence from in vitro, animal, and limited human studies for a dual preventative role of OO biophenols in diabetes and cancer, especially that they share similar risk factors. Putative antioxidative and anti-inflammatory mechanisms and associated gene expressions resulting from OO biophenols have produced paradoxical results, making suggested inferences from dual prevention T2D and cancer outcomes difficult. Well-designed human interventions and clinical trials are needed to decipher such a potential dual anticancer and antidiabetic effects of OO nutraceuticals. Exercise combined with OO consumption, individually or as part of a healthy diet is likely to induce reciprocal action for T2D prevention outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
Early online date12 Jul 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jul 2018


  • olive nutraceuticals
  • functional foods
  • exercise
  • nutrition
  • type-2 diabetes


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