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Oliphenol LLC brings the Health Benefits of Olive Polyphenols to the World
Dr. Roberto Crea
CEO and CSO
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published – March 15, 2021
CEOCFO: Dr. Crea, what is the concept behind Oliphenol™, LLC?
Dr. Crea: The basic concept is to take key scientific discoveries in the field of olive polyphenols to commercialization. Polyphenols is a natural class of active compounds present in the fruit of olives. Our mission is basically to bring the health benefits of olive polyphenols, worldwide, to both consumers and other companies for valuable applications.
CEOCFO: What is in olives that make them so useful?
Dr. Crea: Historically, the olive has always been considered to be a unique fruit in nature for its recognized health and wellness properties. The story of the olive as medicinal fruit goes back, I would say, eight thousand years ago. Olives have always been a symbol of wellness, health and peace; and recently we discovered the reason. In the last, I would say, forty or fifty years, there has been a number of studies worldwide, starting with the well-
We know today is that olives, besides containing olive oil, unique among vegetable oils with its high content of oleic acid, are rich in polyphenols, a class of natural compounds that provides the majority of the health benefits that we experience from consuming olives and olive oil in the Mediterranean diet.
About twenty years ago we and other scientists around the world started isolating these polyphenols in large amount and we found that they provide all kinds of health benefits, like cardiovascular, anti-
CEOCFO: Where does Hidrox® come into play? What have you created?
Dr. Crea: When we started in 1999 as a small company, a garage operation in Northern California, we discovered that the olive industry in general, when they process olives to make olive oil, they only care about the oil and everything else is considered agricultural waste. We decided to look into the by-
We were the first company to develop Hidrox®, which is a natural, solvent free formulation of olive polyphenols, found not in the olive oil but in the wastewater, in the “juice” of the olives as we call it now. The missing link that we discovered in 2000 was the ground basis to develop a unique process to harvest the natural polyphenols and create an industrial formulation we called “Hidrox.”
We do not particularly look at the olive oil as a source of these polyphenols, because most of the polyphenols are mainly soluble in water, but we harvest them from the juice of the fruit.
We then developed Hidrox®, which is a proprietary formulation, totally natural from 100% organic olives that contains very high concentration of polyphenols. From the contents of one Hidrox tablet or one capsule, today you can get the same amount of polyphenols that you would get from a liter of the best olive oil. Thus, you can get the benefits of olives from their juice in a capsule, in a tablet or in a liquid form, without the fats and calories of the oil. Once we had Hidrox available in large amount, we spent many years focused upon the science of these olive polyphenols to understand the full range of health benefits that you can expect by including olive polyphenols into your diet.
CEOCFO: How do you get the waste water from the olives?
Dr. Crea: That is a great question, Lynn! We work with an olive oil processing company, a company that normally harvests the olives to produce olive oil. They press the olives, crush them with mechanical means, extract the olive oil and that is their primary business. We work with them and take everything else that they do not use. Everything else, an agricultural waste, does not work for them, but is a valuable raw material for us.
Every year when it is time for harvesting the olives and starting the olive oil campaign, we go to this plant or many other similar olive oil factories, and get the byproduct, called “olive pomace” which we then process independently. With our proprietary process, which we called “Integrale” we essentially squeeze the juice from the pomace, which is the biomass that is left after they extract the oil. Once we separate the juice out of the biomass, we start processing this juice in a very natural form, without any use of solvents, and produce an organic polyphenol formulation which is extremely rich is polyphenols.
CEOCFO: Is the medical community and the health community onboard with what you are doing? Do they understand the process and do they recognize the effectiveness?
Dr. Crea: The answer is yes! We have seen an incredible increase in interest by the dietary supplement industry and skincare first, but now we work also with the medical community and clinical research investigators. When we first started, more than twenty years ago, there were a few publications in medical journals. Today, you can find more than a thousand scientific reports in the medical literature. The number of these publications and the number of clinical investigations, all over the world, has increased exponentially. Why? Because of the olive polyphenols perform. They deliver benefits in a number of health conditions and they do it in a very consistent and safe way, so that people do not have to worry about side effects or any other safety concerns.
Safety is of the outmost importance to us! From the very beginning, we invested in safety studies as recommended by the US health authorities because we want to introduce a new ingredient in the food and beverage industry with all of the criteria used for medical products. We produced what is called a GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) certification for our product.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has also formally recognized that the olive polyphenols work as a strong antioxidant in the blood stream and if taken by mouth, on a daily basis, olive polyphenols can prevent the development of some very serious diseases, like atherosclerosis and stroke.
CEOCFO: Where does COVID come into play for Oliphenol?
Dr. Crea: I have spent more than forty-
CEOCFO: How is business with your regular products today? Are people gravitating more to one or another of the products you offer?
Dr. Crea: Right now, just to give you an idea of our organization, we have distributors for North America, we have distributors in Japan, we have offices and pretty soon distributors in China and we have an office in Sweden for the European market. Therefore, in the last two years, we have really built the structure, the marketing organization to be very effective in promoting and selling our products. To take a snapshot today, I would say that the product is doing very well, but it is still early to answer your questions because the effort to take the product globally has just started back about five months ago.
CEOCFO: It is very exciting times for Oliphenol!
Dr. Crea: It is very exciting because we are working with several research institutions for two important areas of medical applications! One is the field of neurodegenerative diseases; Parkinson’s, maybe Alzheimer’s, and many other neurological diseases where the olive polyphenols seem to be effective. This is a very fascinating story. The hydroxytyrosol we harvest from olives is very similar to the most important molecule in our brain, that we call dopamine. As you know, dopamine is one essential for the healthy functioning of our central nervous system. Lack or depletion of dopamine leads to severe diseases like Parkinson’s and many others. We have already seen some anedoctal potential use for diseases like Parkinson’s and similar diseases, so we are now working with some very prestigious laboratories in the USA and Europe to run some pre-
The other area of applications is the one that we just published about, the COVID-
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“To bring the health benefits of olive polyphenols, worldwide, to both consumers and other companies for valuable applications.”
Dr. Roberto Crea
“The hydroxytyrosol we harvest from olives is very similar to the most important molecule in our brain, that we call dopamine.”
Dr. Roberto Crea