Olivita is the result of nine clinical studies since 1986 involving more than 1,200 people carried out by professors Bjarne Østerud and Edel O. Elvevoll at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
Bjarne Østerud found the original inspiration for Olivita from self-interest. Genetic dispositions of early heart disease in his family necessitated finding a dietary supplement that could prevent a premature death.
At that time, it was known that myocardial infarction cannot be explained by high cholesterol alone.
It was also known, through a Danish study from the 1970s, that Eskimo Greenlanders had astonishing little cardiovascular diseases as well as other inflammatory Western diseases. There was reason to believe that this had something to do with their diet of almost exclusively marine content, i.e. seals, whales and fish, which contain a lot of omega-3 acids, particularly the blubber of seals and whales. These are eaten in their natural form (no processing), and antioxidants are not removed or refined away as in traditional omega-3 products.
The diet of Inuit had a parallel to the Mediterranean diet as there are also lower rates of the Western-style diseases in the Mediterranean. An important source of fat in this diet is olive oil, which is rich in natural antioxidants.
Using this knowledge as a background, it was necessary to seek solutions with broader impact.
A chance meeting in the mid-1980s between Østerud and Edel O. Elvevoll, a Research Director at Fiskeriforskning (the former Norwegian Institute of Fisheries Research), led to the starting point for the solution to this.
The research showed that some families have a type of white blood cells that produce large amounts of a coagulation factor that triggers clotting. These blood cells called monocytes are very active, and they also produce a range of other products that are involved in inflammatory reactions, such as the development of atherosclerosis in the arteries.
It is unfortunate that these monocytes are very active, and the goal was to find something that could reduce the activity of these cells, which is not only beneficial in terms of cardiovascular disease, but also other inflammation-related diseases.
Similarly, it was important to lower the platelets ability to be activated. These small cells are also important in the development of atherosclerosis and not least important in the formation of blood clots that provides stroke or heart attack.
This was the starting point for the research behind Olivita.
1986 – the first studies
Professor Bjarne Østerud started the first studies on humans in 1986. The effect of eight weeks of daily intake of omega-3s in the form of fish oil was tested with beneficial effect. A new similar study of omega-3 capsules showed little beneficial effect on the activity of blood cells. This indicated that concentrated omega-3 did not have the same health effects as marine oils in natural form.
1992 – studies in various oils
In 1992 a clinical study was performed in which 150 persons received either fish oil, refined seal oil, a combination of refined seal oil and fish oil or cold-pressed whale oil. Cold-pressed whale oil proved to be superior in reducing blood coagulation activity, reducing inflammatory markers and increasing the healthy cholesterol (HDL). Refined oil alone or in combination – had hardly any effect compared to the cold-pressed whale oil. Since the cold pressed whale oil contained only half the amount of omega-3 compared to cod liver oil (CLO) and seal oil, this proved that something else than these fatty acids were giving the beneficial effect.
1994 – promising results with olive oil
The same study was repeated with 366 people in 1994. Participants received either cold-pressed or refined marine oils and another group that received olive oil. The favorable effect on crude whale oil almost disappeared after refinement. Both seal oil and whale oil in refined form gave rise to the healthy HDL cholesterol. Results from the group that received olive oil were exciting as this oil alone appeared to reduce the production of inflammatory products. This finding was confirmed in an article about 10 years later in the prestigious journal Nature.
Combination of omega-3 from seal oil and extra virgin olive oil
The observation that large intake of omega-3 fatty acids was counterproductive and led to increased formation of inflammatory products in blood, stemmed from lack of sufficient intake of natural antioxidants. Thus, if the intake omega-3 is not supported with enough antioxidants in the blood, the fatty acids oxidize and produce negative effects. A balanced proportion of omega-3 from purified marine oil and antioxidants from olive oil proved to have a very beneficial effect, and this combination was patented in 2002.
2003 – Clinical study
The first clinical trial (on humans) with the mixture was performed and compared with another group supplemented with CLO and a control group.
This study laid the foundation for Olivita’s specific and accurate composition. It was shown that Olivita had a very beneficial effect on inflammation.
A blood marker of inflammation was reduced on average by 24% in the Olivita group compared to an increase of 12.5% in the cod liver oil group, while another inflammatory product was reduced 14.3% by Olivita and 6.2% by CLO.
The beneficial effect of Olivita was unique and it explains its superior effect compared to other omega-3 products.
The good HDL cholesterol increased by almost 10% in the Olivita group, but no significant rise was seen in the CLO group or control group.
2010 – study in animal model
The 2010 study showed that Olivita provides almost 60% protection against the development of atherosclerosis. In comparison, pure seal oil provides 27% protection and concentrated omega-3 provides 17 % protection.
Summary and description of the health benefits of Olivita
Seal oil is rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids with a very favourable composition. The olive oil is a very good source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components. In addition, the olive oil contains omega-7 and 9 fatty acids, which together with omega-3 is important for the flexibility of the cell membrane.
Consequently, Olivita oil has very good anti-inflammatory effect in addition to the known positive effects of omega-3.
Isolated and concentrated omega-3 is not used in Olivita. Seal oil is refined according to very strict quality requirements to remove contaminants. The natural antioxidants in seal oil disappear with refinement, but this is compensated by adding olive oil.
Clinical studies with Olivita documents anti-inflammatory effects that are far better than that achieved by the intake of clean marine oils.
Proper balance between the two oils are essential for the health effects.
Antioxidants protect against rancidity
Antioxidants from olive oil are fat soluble and therefore are well absorbed. They have a very important role since they protect against rancidity (oxidation) of omega-3 fatty acids, both outside and inside the body, which is a common challenge with omega-3 products. Recent research shows that excessive consumption of pure omega-3 products may be counterproductive and ultimately harmful if they are not protected against rancidity.
It thus achieved a particularly effective protection against atherosclerosis, thrombosis, stroke, psoriasis and arthritis, all of which are associated with the oxidation of omega-3 in the blood vessel wall.
An inflammation is a local reaction to infection or injury, or both. This is a reaction to something that is not normal and that the body wants to normalize. Today, we know that an overwhelmingly large number of diseases are associated with inflammation.
The special composition of marine oil and olive oil makes Olivita very beneficial for both above-mentioned disorders, as well as a variety of autoimmune diseases that are also associated with inflammatory reactions.
The most frequent cause of cardiovascular disorders, such as myocardial infarction, arrhythmia’s and angina, is clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, as the deadly precursor to heart attack is also called. Olivita prevents cardiovascular diseases both by counteracting the formation of and removing calcification of the arteries. The impact of Olivita has a positive effect on platelets that are central to the development of atherosclerosis.
It is also documented that Olivita increases the good HDL cholesterol, which also prevents the development of cardiovascular disease. Evidence indicates that this is more important than focusing solely on a low level of bad (LDL) cholesterol. Studies show that olive oil helps to create a proper balance between the good and the harmful cholesterol.
Increased intake of polyunsaturated fat in the form of omega-3 requires a balanced intake of antioxidants to prevent oxidation of the omega-3 bound to the harmful cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) in blood vessel walls. This may initiate atherosclerosis and other inflammation-related disorders.
The antioxidants in Olivita prevent this oxidation.
Joints and muscles
The seal oil contains significantly more of the DPA fatty acid than in omega-3 products from fish or krill, in addition to the EPA and DHA fatty acids. In general, DPA has been shown to have a particularly strong effect on sore and stiff joints and muscles. In people suffering from arthritis, synovial fluid contains particles that cause inflammation in the joints. Olive oil contains good anti-inflammatory components. Mixing marine oil and olive oil in a certain ratio achieves an enhanced anti-inflammatory effect that is very beneficial for arthritis and other rheumatic disorders such as osteoarthritis (arthrosis) and Bechterew’s disease.
The anti-inflammatory component of olive oil has also proved to be analgesic. This is due to a component called oleocanthal, which has been shown to have an analgesic effect besides reducing the formation of products that evoke pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease condition associated with platelets. Activated platelets disclose micro particles that are found in large amounts in synovial fluid in patients. It is believed that these particles cause the inflammatory reactions in the joints.
Olivita inactivates the platelets which in turn reduces the pain.
Psoriasis, eczema and other skin disorders are caused by the same inflammatory mechanism as rheumatism. Olivita reduces the formation of inflammatory components and, consequently, has beneficial effects on psoriasis and other skin disorders. Several studies support the instrumental role of activated platelets in skin diseases.
Addition of omega-3 may play a significant role in good sporting results. Training is often followed by strain caused by the formation of inflammatory components. For instance, wear and tear in the knee (arthrosis) is very widespread among active and less active people alike.
Olivita reduces the formation of inflammatory components significantly and thus the strain.
About the professors
Bjarne Østerud is a former biochemist who is now a professor emeritus at the Faculty of Health Sciences at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. He has researched mechanisms for blood coagulation at universities in Los Angeles, San Diego and Tromsø for more than 50 years. Østerud’s research has also encompassed infectious diseases, sports medicine and the biological effects of marine products in relation to cardiovascular diseases. In 1997, he received the Distinguished Career Award from the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.
Edel O. Elvevoll is the Dean of the Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. She was professor of food technology from 2001 until her appointment as Dean in 2009. She has studied the biological effects of industrial processing of feed and food. Elvevoll has extensive experience from boards and councils devoted to industrial development, value creation, innovation and technology.
Links to research:
Below are links to the most relevant publications related to development of the product Olivita.
The publication list of:
Bjarne Østerud: Google Schoolar and CRIStin
Edel O. Elvevoll: Google Schoolar and CRIStin