Researchers at the Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology (IBCN) CNR of Rome, have developed a method to better understand the protective role played by polyphenols, compounds of natural origin of which olive oil is very rich. The results of this study, reported in the 'Nutrition' journal, had appreciation in the scientific community.
Other studies have already shown that the presence of polyphenols in the diet protect us against cancer and cardiometabolic and against neurodegenerative diseases, "says researcher Mark Fiore (IBCN-CNR), one of the authors of the research. "The purpose of our experiment - continuous Fiore - was to demonstrate whether the administration of polyphenols extracted from the olive tree (Oleaeuropaea L.) could have any effect on the levels of Nerve growth factor (NGF) and Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), two categories of polypeptides belonging to the family of growth factors that are able to stimulate the growth of neurons, proliferation and differentiation in the mammalian brain".
Researchers have found an increase of NGF and BDNF "in crucial brain areas of the limbic system and olfactory bulb, which play a crucial role in learning and memory processes in the migration and proliferation of endogenous progenitor cells in the brain", says the researcher. Polyphenols are the molecules present in a variety 'of the extremely large plants, vegetables and products derived from them, such as the vine, wine, tea', blueberries, cocoa and chocolate.
The beneficial effect of polyphenols in the oil, in particular, has long been recognized by the European Food Safety Authority and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which recommend a daily intake of two tablespoons of olive oil per day to help prevent onset of cardiovascular disease, inflammation and counteract oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
"For this reason, and was suggested a possible protective role of polyphenols against certain diseases known to be characterized by an excessive production of free radicals such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases," says Fiore. "From the results obtained, also suggest that the polyphenols of extra virgin olive oil can enhance neurogenesis in the brain, protecting against age-related neurodegeneration and carrying out an anti-aging".