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Friday, 23 December 2011

Virgin olive oil may help mitigate pancreatitis


Compounds found in virgin olive oil and fish may help alleviate symptoms of acute pancreatitis, a new study has revealed.

The researchers at the University of Granada Physiology Department evaluated the role of Mediterranean diet ingredients in the prevention and mitigation of cell damage.

Oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol, present in a particularly high concentration in virgin olive oil and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish affect the cellular mechanisms involved in the development of acute pancreatitis, a disease of oxidative-inflammatory etiology.

Therefore, oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol can be considered potential functional ingredients, as they may prevent or mitigate this disease.

These scientists developed an in vitro experimental model that allowed them to evaluate how changes in the membrane fatty acid composition in vivo –caused by a change in the type of fat ingested– affect the ability of cells to respond to induced oxidative-inflammatory damage with cerulein (acute pancreatitis).

This is the first study to examine how fatty acids and antioxidants affect the cellular mechanisms that respond to local inflammation in the pancreas.

The University of Granada scientists evaluated the role of antioxidants from a preventive approach, that is, by using an experimental model in mice in which cell damage is induced after pretreatment with these nutritional components.

“There is increasing evidence that there are oxidative-inflammatory processes involved in the origin of chronic diseases and that diet plays an important role in such processes,” the author of this study, Maria Belen Lopez Millan said.

“The antioxidant (phenolic compounds) and antiinflammatory (omega-3 fatty acids) effects of diet components (nutrients and bioactive compounds) prevent/mitigate the pathological incidence of oxidative-inflammatory processes,” she added.

The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.

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