The process of autophagy is the breakdown and clearance of intracellular debris and toxins by the body’s cells.
This process happens to the body naturally when we fast. In 2016, Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in “Physiology and Medicine” for his research on autophagy and fasting.
In a new study, extra-virgin olive oil was shown to protect the brain and boost cognitive function through this process of autophagy—the gobbling up of toxins and debris from the brain chemistry.
In the study, one group of mice was given a standard chow diet, and another group was given a chow diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil.
After just three months, the group of mice on the diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil performed better on tests that measured working memory, spatial memory, and learning, compared to the mice who ate a regular diet.
The researchers concluded that mice who were genetically prone to cognitive decline saw significant changes in the brain, such as better nerve conduction, less aggregate accumulation, and positive behavioral changes with extra-virgin olive oil supplementation.
The mechanism involved was the enhancement of autophagy from supplemental extra-virgin olive oil! (Learn more about fasting and calorie restriction to optimize your body’s natural autophagy process, here.)
Is your olive oil legit?
When sourcing olive oil, look for a harvest or press date. It is ideal to ingest the current year’s harvest. If it is a California olive oil, make sure it is certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), and be sure it has a seal that confirms the olive oil is certified “extra virgin” by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC).
If the oil is from Italy, look for a D.O.P. seal (Protected Designation of Origin), which means the olives are from where the label says.
My favorite olive oil company, Fandango, is a small organic olive oil producer out of California that presses their olives right after harvest. Over the years, the folks at Fandango have become good friends of ours, but LifeSpa has no business relationship with them.
I personally use it—and if you try it, you will know what I am talking about when I say it has a “distinctively tangy flavor.” The stuff is 20 bucks a bottle, but if you are as into good fats as I am, you’ll want to be sure you are ingesting something that is guaranteed to be the real thing.
Check out the new research suggesting that high-quality olive oil is okay for cooking—but it must be real, unadulterated extra-virgin olive oil.
King of the Bees:
Author: Dr. John Douillard
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Travis May