A new study has proven that an ingredient in extra virgin olive oil can kill cancer cells.
The results of the study, which will be published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Oncology, were made public on January 23, 2015.
The researchers, nutritional scientist Paul Breslin (Rutgers University), biologist David Foster (Hunter College) and chemist Onica LeGendre (Hunter College) discovered in a lab study that the ingredient, called oleocanthal, causes a rupture of a part of the cancerous cell which releases enzymes and causes cell death, without harming healthy cells. In this way, cancer cells are killed by their own enzymes.
“Oleocanthal is a name for a chemical in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) that means ‘Stinging Oil Aldehyde’,” Paul Breslin told Olive Oil Times. “It is made by the olive when it is crushed to make the pulp from which the oil is pressed.”
“There are many compounds in EVOO that have a 6-carbon ring structure on them and collectively they are known as phenolics,” Breslin added. “These compounds are collectively good anti-oxidants preventing oxygen pore-radicals from forming and they also tend to be anti-inflammatory. Oleocanthal has been shown to interfere with processes associated with many types of inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer formation and growth.”