Olive oil has long been known for its heart healthy properties, as well as its ability to destroy cancer cells. But the reason behind its ability to quickly kill those cells has been unknown, until now.
A study published in Molecular & Cellular Oncology discovered that the key to understanding the toxic effect of olive oil’s oleocanthal compound on cancerous cells lies in its reaction with the lysosomes of the cell, where the cells store waste: the oleocantha ruptures the cancer cell lysosomes, causing cell death within 30 minutes to an hour while leaving un-cancerous cells unharmed. This suggests that the lysosomal membranes of cancerous cells are weaker than those of uncancerous cells. Because of oleocantha’s targeted damage to cancer cells, it may prove an ideal option for therapeutic cancer treatment.
The study’s focus on the effect of oleocantha on cancerous and un-cancerous cells leads to larger implications about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in EVOO. Study co-author Paul Breslin stated, “The Mediterranean diet is known to be associated with a reduced risk of many different kinds of cancer. Whereas the entire diet likely has many benefits, this study points directly to the olive oil phenolic, oleocanthal, as playing an especially important role in these observations. As more people turn to the Mediterranean diet as a healthy life option, oleocanthal is growing in its significance as a key active component of this diet.”
Information gathered from Science Daily.