Why the Olive leaf reduces cholesterol better than Olive oil

Does the Olive Leaf reduce LDL cholesterol better than Olive Oil?

- By Dr. Amin Shendy. 

Olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean diet, which is associated with a reduced incidence of heart disease. While the diet’s nutritional benefits come from multiple sources, the generous use of olive oil appears to be a key contributor1. The oil is considered by many to be the healthiest cooking oil. Olive oil has garnered a lot of attention over the past decade as individuals seek natural remedies to treat medical conditions such as high cholesterol. This article will scientifically evaluate how ingredients found in olives benefits heart health and options to incorporate those ingredients into the daily routine.

olives benefits heart health

Does scientific evidence support that olive consumption reduces heart disease?

Two lines of scientific studies support that ingredients in olives are beneficial for heart health. One is studies that show that olive oil reduces both total cholesterol and LDL-Cholesterol2. A second, and the stronger evidence, is that a diet supplemented with olive oil promotes primary prevention of heart disease3. The Mediterranean diet, is one such diet, and it is based on the traditional eating pattern found among populations living in the Mediterranean Basin. The main source of fat in this traditional diet is extra-virgin olive oil. The abundant use of olive oil, through salads, traditionally cooked vegetables, and legumes makes this diet highly nutritious and palatable. Multiple studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is associated with better cardiovascular health outcomes, including clinically meaningful reductions in rates of coronary heart disease and total cardiovascular disease4. Over the past two decades scientists have focused on what endows olives with its beneficial cardiovascular health properties.

What is the component in Olives that supports Cholesterol health?

Recently oleuropein has been identified as the key ingredient in olives that promotes healthy cholesterol levels. Oleuropein is responsible for the characteristic bitter taste and unique aroma of olive fruits. It has powerful antioxidant activity which is an attribute that helps it to protect the blood vessels of the heart from being damaged by low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol deposits5. LDL cholesterol, especially the oxidized form of it, promotes the development of narrowing and hardening of blood vessels (known as atherosclerosis), which increases the risk of having a heart attack6. Thus, Oleuropein in olives confers a heart health benefit by preventing LDL cholesterol build up in the arteries.

olives that promotes healthy cholesterol level

What is the best source of Oleuropein?

While olives have many health benefits, table olives are not the same as ones picked from trees. Table olives are highly processed and treated with lye. This process strips the majority of oleuropein from the olives. Since olives go through additional refinement before making olive oil, that further dilutes the oleuropein content in the olive oil. The olive leaf does not have to be processed in such a manner to be consumed for its benefits. Instead, olive leaf extract is made by crushing and drying the olive leaf. Thus the olive leaf contains much higher concentrations of oleuropein than olive oil7.

How much does Oleuropein found in the olive leaf reduce cholesterol?

While oleuropein in olives reduces cholesterol, the level of reduction is about 5%. For most individuals with elevated cholesterol, this level of reduction is not adequate since their cholesterol levels are on average 20-30% above the normal range3.

How can I use the olive leaf to reduce my cholesterol naturally?

Since oleuropein in olive oil and the olive leaf reduces cholesterol by only 5%, one option patients have is to combine it with other natural ingredients to attain a clinically significant reduction in cholesterol. A recent study evaluated the effectiveness of the combination of oatmeal, red rice yeast extract and olive oil in reducing cholesterol. Oatmeal and red rice yeast extract are also natural ingredients that lower cholesterol. The study showed that the 3 ingredients lowered cholesterol in patients who complied with the protocol8. Based on this clinical study a novel supplement known as Naturachol has been developed. Naturachol contains olive leaf extract, red rice yeast extract and beta glucan (the component in oatmeal that lowers cholesterol). Naturachol offers patients a novel, all natural option to reduce cholesterol. As with any supplement, before taking Naturachol, ask your physician whether it is right for you.

combination of oatmeal, red rice yeast extract and olive oil in reducing cholesterol

Yours in Health,

Dr. Amin Shendy

- By Dr. Amin Shendy.Dr. Amin Shendy is a board certified family physician practicing in the Inland Empire region of Southern California for more than 20 years. He is popular among his colleagues and loved by his patients. He attended medical school in Cairo, Egypt and is thus well versed in the Mediterranean diet. He completed his residency at the renowned University of California Irvine Medical Center and has also completed a fellowship in Tropical Medicine. 



  1. LeWine, H. E. (2021, November 1). Is extra-virgin olive oil extra healthy? https://www.Health.Harvard.Edu. Retrieved April 24, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/is-extra-virgin-olive-oil-extra-healthy.

  2. Smith RD, Kelly CN, Fielding BA, et al. (2003) Long-term monounsaturated fatty acid diets reduce platelet aggregation in healthy young subjects. Br J Nutr 90: 597-606.

  3. Estruch R et al., PREDIMED Study Investigators. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts. N Engl J Med. 2018 Jun 21;378(25):e34. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1800389. Epub 2018 Jun 13. PMID: 29897866.

  4. Martínez-González MA, Gea A, Ruiz-Canela M. The Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Health. Circ Res. 2019 Mar;124(5):779-798. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313348. PMID: 30817261.

  5. Sun, Wenyan et al. “Oleuropein, unexpected benefits!.” Oncotarget vol. 8,11 (2017): 17409. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.15538.

  6. Suciu CF, Prete M, Ruscitti P, Favoino E, Giacomelli R, Perosa F. Oxidized low density lipoproteins: The bridge between atherosclerosis and autoimmunity. Possible implications in accelerated atherosclerosis and for immune intervention in autoimmune rheumatic disorders. Autoimmunity Reviews. 2018;17(4):366-375.

  7. Lindell, Evelyn. “Olive Oil vs. Olive Leaf Extract: Only One Reigns Supreme.” Truehope Common Ground Blog, 7 Apr. 2021, https://blog.truehope.com/olive-oil-vs-olive-leaf-extract-only-one-reigns-supreme/.

  8. Silva AO (2021) The Combination of Red Yeast Rice Extract, Oatmeal and Olive Oil Reduces Serum Cholesterol. Journal of Human Nutrition 4(1):130-135.

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*There is no guarantee of specific results, and the results may vary from person to person. The statements on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Dr. Tarique Perera is not responsible for side-effects of any kind incurred as a result of consuming Naturachol. The average reduction in total cholesterol achieved was 20% in the following clinical study: The Combination of Red Yeast Rice Extract, Oatmeal and Olive Oil Reduces Serum Cholesterol. Journal of Human Nutrition 4(1):130-135 (2021).