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Olive Oil & Brain Cancer


Much has been written about the benefits of olive oil, which forms a part and parcel of Mediterranean diet. A new study by scientists from the University of Edinburgh suggests that a compound found in olive oil may help prevent cancer from developing in the brain.

The primary ingredient in olive oil is oleic acid. When the scientists tested the effect of oleic acid on human cell extracts and in living cells in the lab, they found that a cell molecule, known as miR-7, which is active in the brain, was stimulated by oleic acid.

miR-7 is known to play a tumor suppressor role - i.e., it prevents cancer-causing proteins from forming.

However, the scientists feel that it is too early to say that dietary consumption of olive oil may help prevent brain cancer. But that said, the findings hint at possible therapies based on the olive oil to prevent brain cancer from occurring.

The lead author of the study, Gracjan Michlewski of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, said: "While we cannot yet say that olive oil in the diet helps prevent brain cancer, our findings do suggest that oleic acid can support the production of tumour-suppressing molecules in cells grown in the lab. Further studies could help determine the role that olive oil might have in brain health."

The study was published in the Journal of Molecular Biology.

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