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Can olive oil prevent brain cancer? Key nutrient stops tumour-causing cells from functioning

A key nutrient in olive oil may help to prevent cancer developing in the brain, new research reveals.

The staple Mediterranean ingredient contains a compound called oleic acid that stops cancer-causing genes from functioning in brain cells, the study found.

It is unclear whether increasing our consumption of olive oil may prevent brain cancer, however, the study’s findings could lead to new disease therapies, the researchers said.

Study author Dr Gracjan Michlewski, from the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘While we cannot yet say that olive oil in the diet helps prevent brain cancer, our findings do suggest that oleic acid can support the production of tumour-suppressing molecules in cells grown in the lab.

‘Further studies could help determine the role that olive oil might have in brain health.’

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, analysed the impact of oleic acid on a cell molecule, known as miR-7, that is known to suppress brain tumour formation.

Results revealed that oleic acid prevents a specific protein from inhibiting miR-7’s production.

Oleic acid therefore indirectly boosts miR-7 levels, which helps to prevent brain tumours from forming.

Impact of olive oil in our diet is unclear

Dr Michlewski said: ‘While we cannot yet say that olive oil in the diet helps prevent brain cancer, our findings do suggest that oleic acid can support the production of tumour-suppressing molecules in cells grown in the lab.

‘Further studies could help determine the role that olive oil might have in brain health.’

 

Journal of Molecular Biology