Olive Crazy: All About Olives and Olive Oil
Apr 162012
 

Tomatoes and Olive Oil May Reduce Impotence” trumpeted an article in the Olive Oil Times. The title was an eye-catcher – begging to be read. So I did.

When I was done I checked the source link at the bottom of the page. The link took me to a website for a product called Aceiterol. What’s this, I thought. I know Aceiterol was mentioned in the article, but I was actually expecting to find a link to the touted research – nope.

The Aceiterol page was graced with pictures of little blister packs of organic extra virgin olive oil and tomato extract. The packs reminded me of the little containers of jellies, jams, marmalades, and fruit butters found at breakfast places around the country. I imagined spreading Aceiterol on toast. It might taste okay, I conjectured.

I was intrigued by the particularly ugly website hawking strange little tubs of what looked like runny ketchup. I continued to look for the impotence relief research. I clicked around from page to page waiting for the translator to complete its task before I could read the contents. My Spanish is limited to written instructions not to spit on the bus floor and to fasten my seat belt while in flight and people yelling “venga” (pronounced benga) at me. The last bit of Spanish is from the playgrounds of Saint Juliana’s elementary school in West Palm Beach, Florida. Many of my friends were Cuban refugees and “benga” was a common command as we ran in herds around the playground.

I found information about inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular disease, the Mediterranean Diet, and lots of other health claims. That’s a lot of claiming for a condiment, I thought.

Finally I hit upon the page with the news articles. There was a picture of a young, very young, couple looking lovingly into each other’s eyes. Just above their heads was this: “A Spanish study reveals that this powerful antioxidant blend of olive oil improves erectile dysfunction in men. Previous studies demonstrated the benefits of these substances against prostate cancer.” I had arrived.

I eagerly looked for the research and this is what I found.

  • Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant.
  • It gives better blood circulation.
  • You can buy it in a pharmacy.
  • It’s not Viagra but it kind of does the same thing.
  • Aceiterol received an award in the condiment category at the 2012 INFARMA Fair.

None of those statements, singly or collectively, make much sense. It appeared to me that in addition to using suspicious science there was some additional truth-stretching going on.

There was absolutely no link to a research study, just a mention that there was a privately-financed research study resulting in erections. Aren’t there some European Union restrictions now with regard to health claims? My research says – yes. The only olive oil health claims that are permitted by EU member countries are those related to human blood cholesterol concentrations.

Here is all that I could glean about the actual study. Some men in Spain with mild erectile dysfunction who were over 50 years of age ingested Aceiterol for three months. At the end of three months they had mild improvement and success was declared.

I have some ideas about how the study was conducted, but I am trying to keep it clean.

May the sun shine through your branches (stiff or not).

www.olivecrazy.com

  2 Responses to “Olive Crazy Gets Sleuthy and Discovers Some Suspicious Science”

Comments (2)
  1. A little more digging finds the Institute:
    http://www.institutourologico.es/

    … with popular-audience health books but no apparent peer-reviewed research CV; and, a record of this “institute” issuing press releases declaring other dietary supplements effective for sexual and urological problems — again without any apparent scientific publication:
    http://www.articlesbase.com/nutrition-articles/the-mollar-elche-variety-of-pomegranate-has-10-times-more-antioxidant-capacity-in-its-skin-than-in-its-edible-interior-2719372.html

    I can also find no record of any corresponding research in the National Library of Medicine’s database of peer-reviewed scientific articles:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%28roja%5Bau%5D%20OR%20de%20la%20roja%5Bau%5D%29%20AND%20%28cranber*%20OR%20pomegranate%20OR%20lycopene%29

    It would be interesting to know why such remarkable results would not be submitted to proper scientific journals to match the press releases. This lack of peer review will inevitably lead to suspicion that the “Institute” is a “results mill.”

    http://www.uscranberries.com/pdf/CMCReport2010_May.pdf

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