Bioavailability of phenolics from an oleuropein-rich olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract and its acute effect on plasma antioxidant status: comparison between pre- and postmenopausal women



Preclinical studies suggest a potential protective effect of oleuropein in osteoporosis, and one of the proposed mechanisms is the modulation of the oxidative stress. Oleuropein bioavailability and its effect on antioxidant status in pre- and postmenopausal women are unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the oral bioavailability of an olive leaf extract rich in oleuropein (40 %) and its effect on antioxidant status in postmenopausal women compared to premenopausal women.


Premenopausal (n = 8) and postmenopausal women (n = 8) received 250 mg of olive leaf extract, blood samples (t = 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16 and 24 h) were taken, and 24-h urine divided into five fractions was collected. Olive-leaf-extract-derived metabolites were analyzed in plasma and urine by HPLC-ESI-QTOF and UPLC-ESI-QqQ, and pharmacokinetics parameters were determined. Ferric reducing antioxidant ability and malondialdehyde levels were measured in plasma.


Plasma levels of hydroxytyrosol glucuronide, hydroxytyrosol sulfate, oleuropein aglycon glucuronide and oleuropein aglycon derivative 1 were higher in postmenopausal women. MDA levels were significantly decreased (32 %) in postmenopausal women and inversely correlated with hydroxytyrosol sulfate levels. Postmenopausal women excreted less sulfated metabolites in urine than premenopausal women.


Our results suggest that postmenopausal women could be a target population for the intake of olive phenolics in order to prevent age-related and oxidative stress-related processes such as osteoporosis.

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This work has been partially supported by the Project CICYT AGL2011-22447 (MINECO, Spain). R.G.V. holds a JAE-DOC contract from CSIC (Spain) co-financed by European Social Fund (ESF). We thank Eliezer Hernández Bernal for technical assistance.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to M. Larrosa.

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García-Villalba, R., Larrosa, M., Possemiers, S. et al. Bioavailability of phenolics from an oleuropein-rich olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract and its acute effect on plasma antioxidant status: comparison between pre- and postmenopausal women. Eur J Nutr 53, 1015–1027 (2014).

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  • Malondialdehyde
  • Oleuropein
  • Hydroxytyrosol glucuronide
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Bioavailability
  • Postmenopausal
  • Antioxidant