When I wrote to you the other day about supercentenarians and their telomere secret to a long healthy life, I forgot to tell you about my favorite supercentenarian, Jeanne Calment.
She lived to be 122 – the world’s longest lived woman.
She was a real character. When she was “only” 120, Jeanne said to a writer who was doing a feature on her life, “I have only one wrinkle… and I’m sitting on it.”
Jeanne was there when they built the Eiffel tower. And she met Vincent Van Gough when she was 14. Even at her death she had no signs of dementia, and rode a bike past the age of 100.
When researchers looked into what she might have been doing or eating that made her live so long, they found something they thought was unusual: Olive oil.
Jeanne said she used to spread it all over all her food all the time. She even used as a way to keep healthy skin.
As it turns out, there’s a reason olive oil worked so well for Jeanne Calment.
Olive oil has a powerhouse anti-aging ingredient called tyrosol. Almost no one has ever heard of it, but tyrosol is one of the strongest antioxidants we have. It can get rid of inflammatory free radicals ten times better than green tea, and twice as well as CoQ10.1
But tyrosol’s main anti-aging effect is that it turns on a group of longevity genes called “forkhead box” genes, or FOXOs.
How do they work?
FOXO genes are part of the equation your body uses to tell your cells to begin telomere repair.2
Think of FOXO genes as a kind of gauge. They determine if you have enough antioxidants for repairs to begin.
When there’s too much oxidation, too many free radical attacks, your body can’t keep up with telomere repair. But, when you lower oxidative stress your body can get ahead of the game. This is why antioxidants are so important. They protect your cells while your body makes repairs.
After FOXOs give the green light for telomere repair, they also have another role. They shut down aging of certain cells when under oxidative attack. Tyrosol then directly increases amounts of the body’s “master antioxidant,” superoxide dismutase (SOD).3
To get the antioxidant and anti-aging benefits of tyrosol, you can do three things:
1. Drink some white wine
White wines, including champagne, are full of tyrosol, and have more antioxidant power than red wines.4
The Heart Foundation and Research Center in New Jersey tested white wines for their antioxidant power. They found white wine drinkers had the amount of harmful free radicals reduced by 34%!
Why does tyrosol from white wine work so well? It’s the size that matters. Physicists at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia examined the size of the various antioxidant molecules in wine and showed that those in white wine are smaller.
They’re more effective because they can be absorbed by your body more easily.5
2. Add some olive oil in your meals.
You already know that olive oil helps raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL. But did you know that it’s not the omega-3s in olive oil but the tyrosol that’s doing the job?
Tyrosol combines with the other polyphenols in olive oil to stop the chain of free radical attacks that can damage your DNA and lead to heart disease and cancer.6
A study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the tyrosol you get from olive oil is also very absorbable, just like with white wine.7
Even better, a study in the journal FEBS Letters found that there’s no “dose” limit. That means that if you have a little more olive oil, you’ll also absorb more tyrosol.8
3. Take tyrosol as a supplement.
You can find tyrosol (and it’s nearly identical cousin hydroxytyrosol) included in some green tea and olive oil extract supplements. Rhodiola extracts also have a bit of tyrosol in them.
But to get the full anti-aging benefits, you’ll want to take it on its own.
It’s available as a tincture, or in a pill. Many people prefer tinctures because you can easily digest them and you can add them to regular drinks. Try to find a tincture that is at least 10% tyrosol (1 part extract to 9 parts suspension fluid).
If you want to take a capsule, make sure it has an enteric coating if possible. This will keep the tyrosol from getting broken down too soon by your stomach. I recommend 300mg each day, but you can take as much as 1200mg.
To Your Good Health, Al Sears, MD
1. “List of Antioxidants.” Antioxidant Chart; www.antioxidantchart.com. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
2. Giulianio, V. “Nuclear Aging: The View from the Telomere end of the Chromosome – Part 3 – Telomere Molecular Biology and GUT implications – The two faces of P53.” Aging Sciences. anti-agingfirewalls.com. April 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 3. Kops GJ, Dansen TB, Polderman PE, Saarloos I, Wirtz KW, Coffer PJ, Huang TT, Bos JL, Medema RH, Burgering BM. “Forkhead transcription factor FOXO3a protects quiescent cells from oxidative stress.” Nature. 2002;419(6904):316-21. 4. Vauzour, David, et al, “Champagne Wine Polyphenols Protect Primary Cortical Neurons against Peroxynitrite-Induced Injury,” J. Agric. Food Chem. 2007;55(8)2854–2860. 5. G.J. Troupa, Melissa Latterb, I Cheahb, D.R.Huttona, J.F.Boasa, S.J.Longfordb. “An EPR and antioxidant study of some brandies.” Alcohol In Moderation Digest. Nov. 2005; page 9. 6. Caterina Manna, et. al. “The Protective Effect of the Olive Oil Polyphenol (3,4-Dihydroxyphenyl)- ethanol Counteracts Reactive Oxygen Metabolite–Induced Cytotoxicity in Caco-2 Cells.” J. Nutr. 1997 vol. 127 no. 2 286-292. 7. E Miró-Casas, M-I Covas, M Fitó, M Farré-Albadalejo, J Marrugat and R de la Torre. “Tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol are absorbed from moderate and sustained doses of virgin olive oil in humans.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003;57, 186–190 8. Francesco Visiolia, Claudio Gallia, Francis Bornetb, Alissa Matteic, Rossana Patellia, Giovanni Gallia and Donatella Carusoa. “Olive oil phenolics are dose-dependently absorbed in humans.” FEBS Letters, 2000;Volume 468, Issues 2-3, 25, Pages 159-160.