Dementia Defense: Harnessing the Power of Olive Oil

Dementia, a condition affecting over 55 million people globally, has become a pressing public health concern given our aging population. A groundbreaking new study has uncovered a simple yet potent weapon in the fight against dementia: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). The research suggests that incorporating just half a tablespoon of EVOO into your daily diet could significantly lower the risk of dying from dementia. 

The Global Impact of Dementia
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 55 million people are currently living with dementia worldwide, with an estimated 10 million new cases reported annually [1]. Dementia ranks as the 7th leading cause of death among older adults, highlighting the urgent need for effective prevention and management strategies.

The Olive Oil Connection
A recent study conducted at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health [2] examined health records of more than 90,000 people (60,582 females; 31,801 males) without cardiovascular disease or cancer spanning 28 years (1990 to 2018). Those who added just half a tablespoon (T) of EVOO to their daily diet exhibited a remarkable 28% reduction in the risk of dying from dementia. Even replacing 1 teaspoon (tsp) of margarine/mayonnaise with EVOO was associated with an 8–14% reduced risk.

Olive Oil is a Cornerstone of the Mediterranean Diet
Olive oil has long been recognized as a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, known for its numerous health benefits. The new study found that the protective association of olive oil against dementia held true regardless of diet quality, emphasizing its independent role in brain health.

The Science Behind Olive Oil's Brain Boost
Olive oil's potential to enhance cognitive health is attributed in part to its rich content of Oleic Acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, could promote neurogenesis—the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain. Additionally, the presence of vitamin E and polyphenols with antioxidant activity, including oleocanthal and oleuropein, further contributes to EVOO’s brain-protective effects.

Be Cautious About How Your Olive Oil is Processed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil produced through a cold mechanical press is considered the best for health benefits as it retains the most nutrients and other bioactives (e.g., polyphenols). However, olive oil is one of the most frequently adulterated foods [3] so be cautious about the EVOO you purchase.  You can see more information about olive oil quality on the website of the University of California, Davis Olive Center [4], a Center of Excellence I established in 2008 while serving as Founding Executive Director (2004-2017) of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science [5].

You’re Probably Not Consuming Enough Olive Oil
Studies suggest your daily EVOO intake should range from 1 to 5 tablespoons because there is a clear dose-response association between higher EVOO consumption and lower risk of fatal dementia. Unfortunately, most Americans and Canadians do not consume much olive oil: less than 2 liters/yr..  This is dramatically lower than consumption in Mediterranean areas of the world [6] such as Greece (24 liters of olive oil per/yr.), Spain (15 liters/yr.) and Italy (13 liters/yr.)  

A very simple dietary modification—the addition of EVOO to our daily diet—may significantly reduce the risk of dementia-related mortality.  Embracing the Mediterranean tradition of incorporating EVOO into our meals is a delicious way to nurture our cognitive well-being. 

And if you are not consuming EVOO every day, you can easily get the polyphenols found in EVOO by taking Olivino.  Each Olivino Essential softgel contains 160 mg of Coratina Olive extract, which corresponds to the amount of polyphenols found in 2 tablespoons of EVOO.

[6] Olive Oil Consumption (

Back to blog