What is High Phenolic Olive Oil?

What is High Phenolic Olive Oil?

High phenolic olive oil is essentially a new category of olive oil identified for specific health benefits in 2012 by the EU Health Claim Labelling Regulation 432-2012 stating:

Olive oil polyphenols contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress. The claim may be used only for olive oil, containing at least 5 mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives (e.g. oleuropein complex and tyrosol) per 20 g of olive oil. In order to bear the claim information shall be given to the consumer that the beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 20 g of olive oil.

That same year, Drs. Prokopios Magiatis and Eleni Melliou, University of Athens Department of Pharmacognosy and Natural Products Chemistry, were curious about the references in the ancient material medica of Dioscorides and Hippocrates referring to the “medicinal” properties of early harvest olive oil made from green unripe olives. They discovered the method to accurately measure individual phenolic compounds using sophisticated NMR analysis (nuclear magnetic resonance).

Since then research has escalated in neurodegenerative, autoimmune and cardiovascular disease as well as many cancers. The most researched of these phenolic compounds are oleocanthal and oleacein, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties respectively.

It is oleocanthal and oleacein, which give the pungent character of high phenolic olive oil – peppery on the throat, sometimes eliciting a cough response and bitterness on the tongue. Research includes Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, Type II diabetes and many cancers, including breast and prostate cancer and leukemia.

Healthy Olive Oil? Bitter is Better

Human trials in Alzheimer’s and Leukemia have shown remarkable response by just adding high phenolic olive oil to the daily diet with no other dietary changes.

The EU health claim suggests olive oils with polyphenols of 250mg/kg or more can use the health claim. However, the text of the claim suggests that the effect is dose dependent. The olive oils that are now being produced are many more times that concentration.

Of course this varies as to variety, harvest time, soil, weather and how the olive oil is produced, stored and transported. Aristoleo Ltd. was incorporated in 2015 for the testing, research and consultation to producers and information to health conscious buyers.

As a key partner in the EU funded 3-year, 5-country ARISTOIL Interreg MED Program for the study of high phenolic olive oil, we are in contact with over 3000 producers who want to optimise their high phenolic olive oil.

See our Buyers Guide to High Phenolic Olive Oil

To your health!



If you are under doctor's care or on medication always advise your health practitioner that you are adding high phenolic olive oil to your diet.

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