Healthier Talk readers are no strangers to oleic acid. We’ve talked about the monounsaturated fatty acid quite a few times over the years.
In fact, just last month we explained how this inflammation fighter, found in avocados and olive oil, could lower your risk for heart disease and cancer.1,2,3,4
Now researchers from the University of Edinburgh have confirmed we were on the right track.
More research needs to be done. But according to the scientists they can already confirm that oleic acid rich olive oil helps our bodies make more of a tumor-suppressing molecule.
I’ll have more on that new research in just a moment. But first let’s quickly review what we already knew about this remarkable fatty acid.
Fatty acid fights heart disease AND cancer
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. It is found naturally in a variety of animal and vegetable fats and oils. Experts say the monounsaturated fatty acid lowers cholesterol. Plus, it may raise good HDL cholesterol at the same time.5,6,7,8
Also research has found that the extract could help lower blood pressure, too.9
In a study published in the journal Annals of Oncology oleic acid was found to suppress HER2, a growth-promoting protein found on the outside of all breast cells.4
Tumors with higher levels of HER2 , called HER2-positive breast cancers, tend to grow and spread faster than other breast cancers.
Which brings us to that new research on the nutrient’s role in preventing brain cancer.
Oleic acid suppresses tumor promoting protein
According to the study, published in the Journal of Molecular Biology, oleic acid could help suppress cancer-causing genes.10
We all have a molecule in our brains called miR-7. Experts say this molecule naturally fights against tumors forming.
Researchers wanted to see what effect, if any, oleic acid would have on miR-7. So they introduced the oleic acid to both human cell extracts as well as living cells in the lab.
According to the scientists the fatty acid suppressed the tumor promoting protein known as MS12. This in turn allowed the cells to continue pumping out the tumor suppressing miR-7.
In other words, eating more oleic acid rich foods may be able to help us put up a fight against brain cancer.
You can raise the amount of oleic acid in your diet by eating more avocado, avocado oil and olive oil. Up to 75 percent of the monounsaturated fatty acids in avocado oil, and up to 83 percent in olive oil, are oleic acid.
Other omega-9 rich foods include…
- Macadamia nuts
- Almond butter
- Sesame oil
Just make sure you’re also getting plenty of EPA and DHA fatty acids from fatty fish—such as mackerel or salmon—or fish oil too, to keep things balanced.
Making some small changes in your diet today could pay off big by helping to protect your brain against cancer for years to come.
1. Dietary Factors That Promote or Retard Inflammation,” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, May 2006, Volume 26, Issue 5
2. “Dietary intake of fatty acids and serum C-reactive protein in Japanese,” J Epidemiol. 2007 May;17(3):86-92
3. “Mediterranean dietary traditions for the molecular treatment of human cancer: anti-oncogenic actions of the main olive oil’s monounsaturated fatty acid oleic acid (18:1n-9),” Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2006 Dec;7(6):495-502
4. “Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fatty acid of olive oil, suppresses Her-2/neu (erbB-2) expression and synergistically enhances the growth inhibitory effects of trastuzumab (Herceptin) in breast cancer cells with Her-2/neu oncogene amplification,” Ann Oncol. 2005 Mar;16(3):359-71
5. “Effects of avocado as a source of monounsaturated fatty acids on plasma lipid levels,” Arch Med Res. 1992 Winter;23(4):163-7
6. “Effects of a vegetarian diet vs. a vegetarian diet enriched with avocado in hypercholesterolemic patients,” Arch Med Res. 1997 Winter;28(4):537-41
7. “Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia,” Arch Med Res. 1996 Winter;27(4):519-23
8. “Substitution of high monounsaturated fatty acid avocado for mixed dietary fats during an energy-restricted diet: effects on weight loss, serum lipids, fibrinogen, and vascular function,” Nutrition. 2005 Jan;21(1):67-75
9. “Oleic acid content is responsible for the reduction in blood pressure induced by olive oil”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105 (37): 13811–6
10. “Oleic Acid Induces MiR-7 Processing through Remodeling of Pri-MiR-7/Protein Complex,” Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 429, Issue 11, 2 June 2017, Pages 1638–1649
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