Hydroxytyrosol is mainly found in olive oil. It prevents low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, platelet aggregation, and inhibits 5- and 12-lipoxygenases Hydroxytyrosol has also been found to exert an inhibitory effect on peroxynitrite dependent DNA base modification and tyrosine nitration and it counteracts cytotoxicity induced by reactive oxygen species in various human cellular systems. Finally, studies have shown that hydroxytyrosol is dose-dependently absorbed in humans following ingestion, indicating its bioavailability.
Studies showed that, when taken orally, hydroxytyrosol is rapidly absorbed and subsequently passes through the blood brain barrier in relatively large amounts. Hydroxytyrosol accumulates in the cerebrospinal fluid; consequently, it has access to the cells in the central nervous system. Researchers found an increase of the total antioxidant activity of cerebrospinal fluid after oral administration of hyroxytyrosol in rats.
Since hydroxytyrosol is a potent antioxidant and monoamine oxidase (MAO-B) inhibitor and it can freely enter into the cerebrospinal fluid, hydroxytyrosol can be beneficial in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
In Alzheimer's disease, a chemical called beta-amyloid peptide accumulates in brain tissue. This accumulation may lead to oxidative stress, and large amounts of cells die leading to the typical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, but is also a powerful oxidant. Researchers found that hydroxytyrosol protects cells of the central nervous system from dying after exposure to these stressors
(beta-amyloid, glutamate and hydrogen peroxide). In addition, it has been known that zinc, copper and iron ions induce the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, chelators of these ions may solubilize these plaques.Hydroxytyrosol is a chelator of iron, zinc and copper ions, and indeed, it also can solubilize beta-amyloid deposits. Thus, hydroxytyrosol has a dual neuroprotective action. Its neuroprotective effects together with its easy-to-pass the blood brain barrier make its benefits in neuroprotection.
In Parkinson's disease large amounts of dopaminergic neurons die in the substantia nigra. Dopamine replacement therapy, in the form of levodopa supplementation, has been used successfully in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Inhibition of dopamine metabolism is a valuable adjunct to exogenous dopaminergic replacement. Therefore, inhibitors of MAO-B have been used to treat early and advanced Parkinson disease for a number of years. Evidence raises the possibility that MAO-B inhibition may confer a protective effect in Parkinson's disease, delaying the progression of the underlying pathology. Researchers found that hydroxytyrosol is a strong inhibitor of MAO-B. Therefore, this activity of hydroxytyrosol may be of additional use in the treatment of this disease.
Tyrosol is a phenolic compound found in olives. As with hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol is a powerful antioxidant and is rapidly taken up from the intestinal tract. Moreover, it is capable of passing the blood brain barrier in relatively large amounts. Researchers detected tyrosol in cerebrospinal fluid of rats which had received tyrosol orally. Therefore, tyrosol is very useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases where oxidative stress plays an
important role. Since tyrosol increases the total antioxidant levels of the brain, it can be used to treat disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. It can also be used to treat stroke and loss of memory.
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