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Research linking extra virgin olive oil to mental youth is Italian

Study by a CNR researcher conducted in 2021 to understand the connection

Together with the elixir of long life it is the dream of every generation: to keep our mind young, active, receptive for as long as possible, as we advance over the years. Today, that the bar of the third age is raised and moves further and further forward, improving the quality of life of elderly people, helping to make them "over" only by age, is a very important goal. The study carried out by Giorgio D'Andrea, researcher at the Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology of the National Research Council (Cnr) of Rome "adopted" by Monini through the Umberto Veronesi Foundation, which in 2021 will seek to understand if and how the consumption of extra virgin olive oil can help slow down cognitive aging.

The research, which in addition to the CNR laboratory led by Felice Tirone and Laura Micheli, where dr. D'Andrea, also researchers from the University of Tuscia and Lumsa in Rome, is very strategic in an aging country, with a constantly declining birth rate and a life expectancy that fortunately is lengthening, but necessarily requires new ones. tools to positively affect the "mental youth" of the elderly.

But why focus on extra virgin olive oil? Italian researchers have actually focused on hydroxytyrosol trying to understand how it works on neuronal stem cells. It is a phenol with strong antioxidant properties present in extra virgin olive oil together with other polyphenolic substances such as oleocanthal and other positive elements for health such as oleic acid, essential polyunsaturated fats, vitamin A and vitamin E. The high content of polyphenols is one of the criteria that defines the high quality of an oil. The Italian study is currently the only one in the world to focus on the effect of hydroxytyrosol on neuronal stem cells in the brain.

"The ancient Greeks", recalls D'Andrea, "were well aware of the many beneficial properties of olive oil. Today our task is to demonstrate these hypotheses, studying the mechanisms involved, in order to confirm with greater certainty that not only the diet Mediterranean, as a whole, is protective against diseases linked to aging, but in particular extra virgin olive oil by itself can carry out an active preventive and 'nutraceutical' action". There are numerous studies that have demonstrated the beneficial effects of olive oil on the cardiovascular system and on the intestinal system, while there are still many unknowns regarding the central nervous system.

Unlike what was once believed, it has been established for several years that new neurons can be produced in the brain even in adulthood starting from particular cells, called stem cells. “We have already shown that the ingestion of hydroxytyrosol stimulates the production of new neurons from stem cells. Now the goal is to understand how these new neurons behave, if they actually increase the learning and memory capacities”, explains D'Andrea.

The research has just now entered the most "operational" phase with the start of the tests and the first indications are expected by the summer. The project, as well as the funding of Dr. D'Andrea's research through the collaboration with the Umberto Veronesi foundation, is part of the overall design of "A Hand for the Future", the ten-year sustainability plan through which Monini made the formal commitment to “build a fairer future for the new generations. “The plan”, explains Maria Flora Monini, the third generation at the helm of the company together with her brother Zefferino , “expresses a different way of doing business, the only one really possible today to create development. We can no longer limit ourselves to producing, we must broaden our gaze and commitment to the environment and the society in which we operate, and scientific research is one of the most important elements in building a truly sustainable future".

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