New fast and low cost test is now available to Olive growers, exporters, importers, wholesalers, retailers and the general public to measure the oleocanthal and oleacein levels in extra virgin olive oil. This is a powerful new tool for the evaluation of ΕVΟΟ quality.
Why test your EVOO?
In my life, EVOO has always been a medicine. In order to find the best olive oil I looked for the one that contained the most health promoting compounds. Every olive grower has the opinion that his or her EVOO is the truly the best. I also suspected the organoleptic analysis may not be the best way to discover the best olive oil. The simple truth is that Olive oil is not wine; it is never sipped in a glass like wine. So why attempt to try to figure out if the EVOO is good quality based on taste? It may be useful as a guide to differentiate the smooth tasting from the bitter or pungent type of EVOOs. The problem is that taste does not always correlate well with the scientific based analysis. Many EVOOs win international taste awards and acclaim while having very low levels of health promoting compounds. They rate the EVOO based on language used in wine tasting; well rounded, notes of cucumber, and pears… but again consumers do not drink EVOO like wine. The excessive emphasis on taste has grown only because the science still needed to catch up. The testing methods up until now have been very unreliable in their ability to isolate and measure accurately the individual polyphenols in a quick and affordable manner.
Up until now we did not have the tools to measure the health promoting ingredients found in EVOO. We had to depend on the tasting panels to tell us which is the best. Now we can choose with confidence.
A new NMR (Nuclear magnetic resonance) method has been developed by Dr. Magiatis and his team of researchers at the Pharmacognosy and Natural products chemistry department at the University of Athens, following a 5 year study to measure Oleocanthal and Oleacein levels in EVOO. It has set a new standard for EVOO. This is a very crucial development for consumers and producers of extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil health benefits have been known for thousands of years.
Dioscoredes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedanius_Dioscorides wrote the best olive oil can be derived from un-ripened olives. Dr. Magiatis and his team began to examine the differences in composition and the levels of health promoting compounds found in EVOOs derived from un-ripened olives as compared to the ones made from ripened olives. He focused his research on oleocanthal and oleacein found in extra virgin olive oil made from unripened olives. Up until now these 2 compounds were difficult to measure.
UPDATE: Since the publication of this article additional testing has shown the most consistently high levels of Oleocanthal have been discovered in samples originating from Throuba olives pressed in select mils on the island of Thasos.
New EU labelling rules for EVOOs to include “good for the heart” when the levels of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives are elevated and sufficient quantities can be reasonably consumed.
Protection of LDL particles from oxidative damage
The claimed effects are “reduces oxidative stress”, “antioxidant properties”, “lipid metabolism”, “antioxidant activity, they protect body cells and LDL from oxidative damages”, and “antioxidant properties”.
“The European Food Safety Authority approved the claim that consumption of olive oil polyphenols protects LDL particles from oxidative damage, it said this hinged on the daily consumption of “5mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives (e.g. oleuropein complex and tyrosol) in olive oil”. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/2033.htm
Dr. Prokopios Magiatis, assistant professor of pharmacognosy and natural products chemistry at the University of Athens,… said the new method made it possible to measure all the compounds mentioned by EFSA in one experiment. “And we can provide the necessary data for the health claims.” The latter could help producers of Greek olive oils with high quantities of hydroxytyrosol compounds gain better prices.” http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-basics/new-tool-evaluates-olive-oil-healthfulness/30480
In order to make sure you consume 5 mg per day of these two potent polyphenols oleocanthal and oleacein you would need to consume about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil that contains at least a total of 250 mg per kilo of oleocanthal and oleacein.
2 tablespoons (15 ml) 15ml X 2 = 30ml – of olive oil with a minimum of 250 mg of oleocanthal and oleacein per kg; a combined 8 mg of these two potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant compounds.
There are about 66 tablespoons in a litre of olive oil. Consuming about a litre of good quality EVOO per month would maximize the positive health impact.
In Greece average consumption of olive oil is 50-70 ml (50-70 gr) per day, or about 2 litres per month.
This new accurate measurement of these two health promoting compounds present in extra virgin olive oil is an important evolution to our ability to regulate health claims. This fast and inexpensive test will help alleviate the concerns regarding the quality of olive oil for consumers and merchants alike.
Recently I conducted a side by side measurement of Oleocanthal and Oleacein using the traditional HPLC method and the new NMR method of measurement. The results were shocking. To read more: http://bestoliveoil.ca/nmr-vs-hplc/
The small independent olive growers in Greece and around the world will be the main beneficiaries of this inexpensive new measurement method of active phenolic compounds found in EVOO. The independent olive growers now have a powerful new tool to prove the superiority of their product. Consumers are becoming more discerning, demanding more substance and less style when choosing their EVOO. This test gives them a definitive way to judge the actual benefit when confronted with an ever increasing array of EVOOs to choose from.
Tom Mueller author of “Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil” has written extensively on low EVOO qualities found in supermarkets and specialty stores. http://www.truthinoliveoil.com/2013/01/not-all-glitters-gold
For more info or additional updates as they happen and receive them via email: fetachi(at)gmail(dot)com