Olive Polyphenols: Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties. Antioxidants (Basel).
Oxidative stress and inflammation triggered by increased oxidative stress are the cause of many chronic diseases. The lack of anti-inflammatory drugs without side-effects has stimulated the search for new active substances. Plant-derived compounds provide new potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant molecules. Natural products are structurally optimized by evolution to serve particular biological functions, including the regulation of endogenous defense mechanisms and interaction with other organisms. This property explains their relevance for infectious diseases and cancer. Recently, among the various natural substances, polyphenols from extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), an important element of the Mediterranean diet, have aroused growing interest. Extensive studies have shown the potent therapeutic effects of these bioactive molecules against a series of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. This review begins from the chemical structure, abundance and bioavailability of the main EVOO polyphenols to highlight the effects and the possible molecular mechanism(s) of action of these compounds against inflammation and oxidation, in vitro and in vivo. In addition, the mechanisms of inhibition of molecular signaling pathways activated by oxidative stress by EVOO polyphenols are discussed, together with their possible roles in inflammation-mediated chronic disorders, also taking into account meta-analysis of population studies and clinical trials.