Background: The Mediterranean diet includes olive oil as its primary source of fat. This
diet is frequently associated to longevity and a lower incidence of chronic diseases due to its biological
activities and health effects. Apart from oleic acid, olive oil contains many bioactive components
including polyphenols that have been reported to exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
Polyphenols may almost in part be responsible for the protective effects against cardiovascular diseases
associated with olive oil.
Objective: To review and discuss the available literature on hydroxytyrosol effects as a cardioprotective
agent. Moreover, we also discuss the chemistry, nutritional aspects and bioavailability of hydroxytyrosol.
Results: Hydroxytyrosol is one of the major phenolic compounds in olive oil and has demonstrated strong
radical-scavenging properties. Several studies have been performed in order to look further into the effects
of the polyphenol hydroxytyrosol in relation to cardiovascular events and illnesses in animal trials and in vitro.
However, no clinical trials have focused on the specific action of hydroxytyrosol and cardiovascular
diseases, although some are being undertaken to look at olive oil or olive leaf extract properties.
Conclusion: Hydroxytyrosol from olive oil exerts antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet aggregation
and ati-atherogenic activities in in vitro and animal models. However, its possible therapeutic
use in humans requires additional clinical trials.