Researches link olive oil and colon cancer

Researchers at the University of Ulster have found new evidence of the link between virgin olive oil and healthy living.

The team of researchers, - who publish their findings in the October 2005 issue of the International Journal of Cancer - concluded that a mixture of compounds, called phenols, extracted from virgin olive oil could safeguard against colon cancer. Colon cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the Western world – and the second highest cause of cancer death in the US.

Dr Chris IR Gill, key researcher, said the beneficial nature of the Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil is already well documented. The UU research which was carried out using in vitro cell models supports this view and takes it a stage further by identifying mechanisms by which olive oil may provide protection and reduce the risk from cancer.

"Because the colon is one of the major cancer sites thought to be protected by olive oil, the UU research team studied the potential anti-cancer effects of virgin olive chemical compounds in cultured cell lines widely used as models for colorectal cancer," said Dr Gill.

"We found that incubation of one cancer cell line with increasing concentrations of olive oil phenols for 24 hours protected the cells from DNA damage. The effect of olive oil phenols on another cell line after 48 hours of exposure suggested that they ‘may exert an anti-promoter effect in the carcinogenesis pathway’."

Dr Gill added that the addition of olive oil phenols also lead to a significant reduction in the invasiveness of a colon cancer cell line in vitro.


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