Do you know which antioxidant is the most powerful? Vitamin C? Beta-carotene? Green tea? No, the world's most powerful antioxidant is something you've probably never heard of; it's a little polyphenol called hydroxytyrosol.
Hydroxytyrosol is the superstar of antioxidants - the most powerful discovered to date! It has an ORAC value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity - its ability to absorb cell-damaging free radicals) of 68,576 - which is considered to be 15 times higher than green tea and 3 times higher than CoQ10.
It is not well-known yet because its discovery, and extensive studies of its properties, are so recent. Yet hydroxytyrosol is already being recognized by scientists for its powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant and cardioprotective properties.
What's So Special About Hydroxytyrosol?
Hydroxytyrosol is primarily found in the olive – its fruit, leaves and pulp. It was first discovered and extracted from the wastewater that resulted when green olives were rinsed in the process of making olive oil.
For decades olive oil has been known for its many healthy properties. It has long been noted that Mediterranean countries have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer than other Western countries. And since the most characteristic element of the Mediterranean diet is olive oil, researchers began studying it, looking for the compound that was responsible for the anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering effects.
Traditionally, the benefits of olive oil have been ascribed to its oleic acid content. However, other foods like pork and chicken are also rich in oleic acid but do not provide the same cardiovascular protection as olive oil. So scientists began to search for other properties of olive oil that might be responsible for its health-promoting effects.
That's when they found hydroxytyrosol - the polyphenol thought to be responsible for olive oil's anti-inflammatory effects. Its ability to absorb free radicals and protect cells and mitochondria from damage is quite impressive.
Hydroxytyrosol boasts the highest level of free radical absorption activity ever reported for a natural antioxidant.
Hydroxytyrosol has some other very special characteristics that contribute to its effectiveness. It is:
• Rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and tissues, where it can perform its free radical scavenging duties.
• The only phenol that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which allows it to also absorb free radicals throughout the central nervous system.
• A metabolite of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which means it may play a role in neuroprotection.
• Both fat and water soluble, giving it the highest bioavailability of any antioxidant.
The Science Behind Hydroxytyrosol
In numerous human, animal and in vitro studies, hydroxytyrosol has been shown to:
• Reduce markers/indicators of inflammation including IL-10, PEG-1, C-reactive protein, COX-2, TNF-a, iNOS and others.
• Support healthy mitochondrial function and significantly increase ATP energy production.
• Improve the quality of life for osteoporosis patients.
• Promote significant and rapid reductions in LDL or 'bad' cholesterol.
• Boost eye health and reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
• Have a therapeutic effect on the cardiovascular system.
Additional research shows that hydroxytyrosol holds great promise for a wide variety of potential health benefits.
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