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Extra virgin olive oil and the immune system

Extra virgin olive oil has also been shown to play an important role in the immune system.

Olivenöl und das Immunsystem


The immune system defends the body against invading foreign substances (toxins, microorganisms, parasites, tumor processes, etc.) by coordinating specific and non-specific mechanisms.

The non-specific or innate defenses are the front line defense against microorganisms. They are made up of skin, mucous membranes, the complement system (the complement, a group of about 20 proteins made in the liver, helps destroy microorganisms), hormonal factors, etc. and their action is not affected by previous contact with the foreign substance.

After exposure to the substance, specific mechanisms appear that require the involvement of B lymphocytes (humoral system) and T lymphocytes (cellular system).

Innate immunity reacts similarly to most microbes, with the specific immune response varying depending on the type of microorganism in order to eliminate it as effectively as possible.


It has been documented that the intake of extra virgin olive oil strengthens the immune system against external attacks by microorganisms, bacteria or viruses.

It has long been known that mineral and vitamin deficiencies can have a negative effect on the immune system.

Recent research has shown that the fatty acids in the composition of extra virgin olive oil are good allies in reducing important immunological parameters such as the proliferation of lymphocytes induced by specific mitogens of both B and T cells.

These fatty acids have been reported to play important roles in various immune functions. They are involved in regulating inflammatory processes and may be effective in treating some autoimmune diseases and in regulating the immune system in general.


Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory immune disease of unknown cause affecting the joints. Genes, infectious factors, hormones, and diet have been suggested as possible partners in their onset. Although some studies have suggested that extra virgin olive oil may help relieve its symptoms, they have not provided any confirmation of such a protective effect.

Now, the results of a recently published study suggest that regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

According to the study authors, people on a diet high in olive oil had a lower risk of developing this condition. The study found that people who consumed less extra virgin olive oil had a 2.5 times greater risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis than those who consumed it more.

Although the mechanism involved has not yet been elucidated, antioxidants are suspected of having a beneficial effect.

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