ISLAMABAD: A New research shows that a compound found in extra-virgin olive oil can reverse the adverse health effects of a high-fat diet.This is why a team of researchers - led by Dr. Rodrigo Valenzuela from the University of Chile in South America - set out to investigate the effects of a compound found in extra-virgin olive oil on the health

Dr. Valenzuela and colleagues examined the effects of hydroxytyrosol on mice that were fed a diet high in fats.

Specifically, they looked at certain enzymes that play a key role in the synthesis of some polyunsaturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fats are beneficial to one's health because they can lower "bad" cholesterol levels, improve cardiovascular health, brain function, and cell growth.

The so-called bad cholesterol is also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It is referred to as the "bad" cholesterol because it is the kind of fat that can build up inside the arteries, hardening or blocking them over time and contributing to a number of cardiovascular diseases.

By contrast, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is known as the "good" cholesterol because it transports the cholesterol from other parts of the human body back to the liver, where it is processed and eliminated.

The researchers fed four groups of mice, each comprising 12 to 14 rodents, either a high-fat diet (consisting of 60 percent fat) or a control diet (with only 10 percent fat). Additionally, some mice were also administered 5 milligrams of hydroxytyrosol per kilogram of body weight over a period of 12 weeks.

Dr. Valenzuela and team took blood and tissue samples from the mice at the end of the experiment. They analyzed the effects of the diet on the composition of fatty acids, the activity of the enzymes considered, and on oxidative stress.

Importantly, mice that had been on a high-fat diet showed decreased levels of the liver enzymes that help to synthesize the beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids. The reduction in the liver enzymes was connected with an imbalance in the fatty acids found in the liver, brain, and heart.

This suggests that hydroxytyrosol may have reversed the damaging effects of a high-fat diet.

Dr. Valenzuela explained the results by saying that "Our results indicate that hydroxytyrosol may be a key part of the health benefits of extra-virgin olive oil.
We also found that the liver showed signs of increased oxidative stress, which we know has links to fatty liver disease. It is intriguing that adding a relatively low dose of hydroxytyrosol to the diet was able to reverse these effects, reduce the signs of fatty liver disease, and reduce negative effects seen in the other organs."