How Olive Oil Reduces Inflammation in Arthritis
While tasting extra-virgin olive oils in Sicily, Gary Beauchamp, PhD, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, noticed a ticklish, peppery sensation in the back of his throat. It was nearly identical to the “sting” he’d felt when swallowing a liquid form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, during previous sensory studies. Beauchamp detected a connection between olive oil and inflammation and then deciding to research the effects of olive oil on arthritis.
Further studies revealed that a compound in the oil, called oleocanthal, prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes – the same way NSAIDs work.
“By inhibiting these enzymes, inflammation and the increase in pain sensitivity associated with them is dampened,” says Paul Breslin, PhD, co-author of the study. Researchers found the intensity of the “throaty bite” in an oil is directly related to the amount of oleocanthal it contains. “Stronger-flavored oils have the highest oleocanthal levels,” says Breslin. The olive oil-inflammation study’s researchers say that 50 milliliters (ml), which is about 3 1/2 Tbsp., is equal to a 200-mg tablet of ibuprofen.
The maximize the benefits of oleocanthal on arthritis, at Sunshine Coast Olive Oil Co. we suggest arthritis sufferers take 3 Tablespoons per day of robust (high in Oleocanthal) extra virgin olive oil per day. If you are not used to consuming this much oil, build up slowly over a few weeks so your system can adjust. The oil can be sipped off a spoon, mixed into a salad dressing, or sopped up with bread. The important thing is to get the dosage into your body. Like NSAIDs, it is important for arthritis suffers to maintain the olive oil oleocanthal in the blood stream, so we suggest you consume 1 Tablespoon, 3 times per day AND do this consistently for at least two weeks (four to six for some sufferers) before you evaluate the results. Choose our highest polyphenol robust oil to get the most dosage per Tablespoon.
Concerned about calories? There is evidence that olive oil makes you feel fuller (so you don’t want to eat that piece of chocolate cake after all), and that certain components in olive oil help you burn calories. If you are concerned about calories but would like to consuer more olive oil to benefit your arthritis, try substituting olive oil for other less-healthy fats. Check out our page on cooking with olive oil to see how olive oil can add health to your cooking habits.