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Olive (Olea europaea L.) Leaf Polyphenols Improve Insulin Sensitivity in Middle-Aged Overweight Men: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial

by Martin de Bock, José G. B. Derraik, Christine M. Brennan, Janene B. Biggs, Philip E. Morgan, Steven C. Hodgkinson, Paul L. Hofman, Wayne S. Cutfield

Background

Olive plant leaves (Olea europaea L.) have been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat diabetes, but there are very limited data examining the effects of olive polyphenols on glucose homeostasis in humans.

Objective

To assess the effects of supplementation with olive leaf polyphenols (51.1 mg oleuropein, 9.7 mg hydroxytyrosol per day) on insulin action and cardiovascular risk factors in middle-aged overweight men.

Design

Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial in New Zealand. 46 participants (aged 46.4±5.5 years and BMI 28.0±2.0 kg/m2) were randomized to receive capsules with olive leaf extract (OLE) or placebo for 12 weeks, crossing over to other treatment after a 6-week washout. Primary outcome was insulin sensitivity (Matsuda method). Secondary outcomes included glucose and insulin profiles, cytokines, lipid profile, body composition, 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure, and carotid intima-media thickness.

Results

Treatment evaluations were based on the intention-to-treat principle. All participants took >96% of prescribed capsules. OLE supplementation was associated with a 15% improvement in insulin sensitivity (p = 0.024) compared to placebo. There was also a 28% improvement in pancreatic β-cell responsiveness (p = 0.013). OLE supplementation also led to increased fasting interleukin-6 (p = 0.014), IGFBP-1 (p = 0.024), and IGFBP-2 (p = 0.015) concentrations. There were however, no effects on interleukin-8, TNF-α, ultra-sensitive CRP, lipid profile, ambulatory blood pressure, body composition, carotid intima-media thickness, or liver function.

Conclusions

Supplementation with olive leaf polyphenols for 12 weeks significantly improved insulin sensitivity and pancreatic β-cell secretory capacity in overweight middle-aged men at risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.

Trial Registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry #336317.

Authors:   Martin de Bock et al.
Journal:   PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume:   8
edition:   3
Year:   2013
Pages:   e57622
DOI:   10.1371/journal.pone.0057622
Publication date:   13-Mar-2013
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