Hydroxytyrosol: from laboratory investigations to future clinical trials

Authors

  • Sergio Granados-Principal,

    1. Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology “José Mataix Verdú” and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
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  • José L Quiles,

    1. Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology “José Mataix Verdú” and Department of Physiology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
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  • Cesar L Ramirez-Tortosa,

    1. Department of Anatomopathology, Complejo Hospitalario Ciudad de Jaén, Jaén, Spain
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  • Pedro Sanchez-Rovira,

    1. Department of Oncology, Complejo Hospitalario Ciudad de Jaén, Jaén, Spain
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  • M Carmen Ramirez-Tortosa

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology “José Mataix Verdú” and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
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MCarmen Ramirez-Tortosa, Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de Alimentos “José Mataix Verdú”, Universidad de Granada, Centro de Investigación Biomédica, Parque Tecnológico de Ciencias de la Salud, Avenida del Conocimiento s/n, 18071 Granada, Spain. E-mail: mramirez@ugr.es, Phone: +34-95-824-1000, ext. 20315.

Abstract

Mediterranean countries have lower rates of mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer than Northern European or other Western countries. This has been attributed, at least in part, to the so-called Mediterranean diet, which is composed of specific local foods, including olive oil. Traditionally, many beneficial properties associated with this oil have been ascribed to its high oleic acid content. Today, it is clear that many of the beneficial effects of ingesting virgin olive oil are due to its minor compounds. This review summarizes the existing knowledge concerning the chemistry, pharmacokinetics, and toxicology of hydroxytyrosol, a minor compound of virgin olive oil, as well as this compound's importance for health. The main findings in terms of its beneficial effects in cardiovascular disease and cancer, including its properties against inflammation and platelet aggregation, are emphasized. New evidence and strategies regarding the use of hydroxytyrosol as a natural drug for the prevention and treatment of diseases with high incidences in Western countries are also presented.

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