Nature-identical antioxidant significantly lowers LDL cholesterol

At the recent SupplySide West, WACKER presented new results on the effect of its nature-identical hydroxytyrosol, HTEssence, on heart health

Hydroxytyrosol is a bioactive compound found in olives. This polyphenol is considered to be one of the most powerful antioxidants available and offers numerous beneficial health effects.

Hydroxytyrosol has been studied extensively in recent years and, in addition to benefiting cardiovascular health, it has been linked to many other positive effects on the immune system, bones and colon.

Scientific studies reveal that it even passes the blood-brain barrier in relatively large amounts, thus accessing the cells in the central nervous system.

A recent clinical study has now shown that WACKER’s nature-identical hydroxytyrosol — HTEssence — has a positive effect on blood cholesterol. Reducing LDL has been found to support heart health.

HTEssence’s oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) is about 45,000 µmolTE/g, which makes it more than 30 times more powerful than vitamin C (Figure 1). Even after spray drying (20% hydroxytyrosol powder on maltodextrin), HTEssence is 6.5 times more powerful than vitamin C.

The human trial demonstrated that HTEssence is able to significantly reduce LDL (low density lipoprotein). In turn, this lowers the risk of coronary heart diseases.

Because of the global trend towards a healthy lifestyle and disease prevention, hydroxytyrosol is experiencing rapid growth in market demand, especially for dietary supplements.

The randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study involved 30 healthy volunteers who consumed 30 mg of hydroxytyrosol per day for a total of 4 weeks with 2-week washout periods between treatments. The hydroxytyrosol was supplemented either as HTEssence or as an olive extract and compared with a placebo.


Results showed a significant reduction of LDL cholesterol in the blood plasma by 9.4 mg/dL (-8%) with HTEssence (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Results of a recent clinical human study show a significant reduction of LDL cholesterol with WACKER’s nature-identical hydroxytyrosol HTEssence compared with an olive extract and a placebo

High LDL levels are a key contributor to the occurrence of coronary heart diseases and arteriosclerosis. The US NCEP (National Cholesterol Education Program, which is managed by the US National Institute of Health) estimates that each 1% reduction in LDL cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease by 1–2% (Figure 3). Accordingly, an LDL cholesterol reduction of 8% may reduce the risk for heart diseases by 10% or more.


Figure 3: High LDL (low density lipoprotein) levels are a significant contributor to the occurrence of coronary heart diseases and atherosclerosis

Owing to its diverse modes of action, hydroxytyrosol is a popular ingredient in dietary supplements. One drawback, until recently, was the way it was produced. In nature, hydroxytyrosol is found in olives and olive leaves and its extraction is complex and cost-intensive.

But, with WACKER’s patented process, it is possible to synthesise a nature-identical substance of much greater purity, free from unwanted by-products and with a defined amount of active ingredient.

As hydroxytyrosol is an amphiphilic substance, it is easily soluble in oil- and water-based formulations as well as in dry applications.

It is stable upon heating and at low pH; and, available as a pure white, odourless, water-soluble powder and liquid, the product is suitable for use in functional foods and dietary supplements, such as tablets, capsules, energy bars and functional beverages. Furthermore, HTEssence offers an excellent price/performance ratio and is easy to process in dietary supplements and functional beverages.

In conclusion

Hydroxytyrosol, a secondary plant metabolite, is considered a highly effective antioxidant.

Reportedly, it strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation and improves bone and joint health.

Above all, it is said to have a positive effect on blood lipid management, an effect that — according to NCEP — can support a healthy heart.