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Can olive oil reduce risk of brain cancer?

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The results from a study, published recently in Journal of Molecular Biology, suggest that a compound found in olive oil may aid in the prevention of brain cancer.

The research, carried out at the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, UK), demonstrates that oleic acid – the primary constituent in olive oil – can halt cancer-causing gene function within cells. The substance, a fatty acid, stimulates the assembly of a cellular product that acts to prevent the formation of the cancer-causing proteins.

However, the team led by Gracjan Michlewsk (University of Edinburgh), says it is too early to conclude whether consumption of olive oil in the diet may lower the risk of brain cancer.

Researchers analyzed the effect of oleic acid on miR-7, a molecule known to suppress tumor formation and be active in the brain, on human cell extracts and living cells; they discovered that oleic acid inhibits MSI2, a cell protein, from preventing the production of miR-7. Ergo, the olive oil component supports miR-7 production, thus aid in preventing tumor formation.

Michlewski concluded: “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.”

Sources: Kumar S, Ruiz Velasco AD, Michlewski G. Oleic acid induces MiR-7 processing through remodeling of Pri-MiR-7/protein complex. J. Mol. Biol. 429(11), 1638–1649 (2017); www.ed.ac.uk/news/2017/olive-oil-nutrient-may-help-prevent-brain-cancer

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