Over the years our On the Road adventures have taken us to exotic locales all around the world. Few have proved as intriguing and awe-inspiring as the famed olive-growing region of southern Spain.
With over 300 million olive trees, Spain grows more olives than any other country. It is truly a sight to behold: as far as the eye can see, mile after mile, a sea of rich fruit-bearing trees, many over a hundred years old.
This is where Bonolive, the first clinically evaluated olive-based bone-health supplement, is produced. In the center of the world's largest olive region, near the town of Jaén, one special variety of olive tree yielding the highest levels of bioactive polyphenols is cultivated. And only one exclusive, 2,500-member co-op has been selected to provide the pristine quality leaves (considered to be pharmaceutical-grade) required for Bonolive production.
Bonolive is the result of a unique partnership between its developer, BioActor, its producer, Ferrer HealthTech, and the growers and operators of the co-op. Together they spent over five years developing a controlled supply chain, optimizing collection and quality assurance standards, and perfecting efficiencies to ensure freshness and immediacy of production. The result is the world's premier pharmaceutical-grade olive leaf extract.
Dr. Stephen Langer interviews Rob Minnee and discusses the research done on Bonolive and how it works to support bone health.
Our journey included a trip through what is likely to be the only olive-dedicated museum in the world. Here we examined the different types of olive trees, learned about the history of olive cultivation and olive oil production, and discovered that even ancient peoples recognized the health benefits of olive products.
We were surprised to see this plaque with the title Skeletal Development on the wall at the museum. The text reads, in part, "Other effects of olive oil on health should be highlighted. This is the case favoring the mineralization and skeletal development both during growth, as well as protection against the loss of calcium in old age."
Olives and olive oil are integral to the Mediterranean diet, which has drawn the attention of researchers and developers like the scientists at BioActor for the last decade. Studies show that populations in this part of the world enjoy a quality of life and good health higher than that of most other regions. They have healthier hearts, more stable blood sugar and live longer, more active lives.
After spending a week touring the Spanish Mediterranean, eating the local diet and learning about the cutting-edge nutraceutical development taking place, we came away with no doubt in our minds that there is truly a certain form of magic in this land. This magic—this legacy of health—combined with today's advanced scientific knowledge and methods, is giving birth to some of tomorrow's most exciting and innovative solutions for natural wellness.
Bonolive is at the forefront of this new frontier, demonstrating the combined power of Nature and science. Our thanks to Rob Minnee and Hans Van der Saag of BioActor, Tom D'Hoor of Ferrer HealthTech and Cai Berg of Berg Imports for hosting our visit. Don't miss our exclusive interview with Dr. Sam Possemiers, Ph.D. below and discover how you can support strong, healthy bones naturally with Bonolive.
With over 300 million olive trees, Spain grows more olives than any other country in the world.
A plaque at the olive museum talking about the virtues of olives and olive oil in regard to bone health and skeletal development.
Swanson's Tom Audette and Kurt Cameron (left) join representatives from Ferrer and BioActor at the manufacturing facility in southern Spain.
Lee Swanson, President of Swanson Health Products®
Dr. Sam Possemiers, Ph.D.
Dear Friends and Valued Customers:
Dr. Sam Possemiers, Ph.D., is a bioscience engineer with 10 years of experience investigating health effects of dietary polyphenols. As Research Director for BioActor at the Maastricht Health Campus in the Netherlands, he has been integral to the scientific validation of Bonolive,™ the world's first pharmaceutical-grade olive leaf extract for bone health support.
As always, I wish you the very best of health,
Possemiers: Thank you, Lee, for the opportunity to share Bonolive with your customers. We know it's going to be a valuable addition to any bone health regimen. At BioActor, we focus on emerging scientific research with the goal of identifying untapped opportunities. Too often things that can really help people are overlooked by commercial developers and valuable discoveries remain buried in academia.
About a decade ago we noticed that a growing body of evidence was showing that olive-derived products have great potential for human health and we partnered with major university researchers to develop and license the patented discoveries that led to the development of Bonolive.
Possemiers: Absolutely. The key components of Bonolive are the unique phytonutrient oleuropein and other active polyphenols. These are found in olive fruit, but it turns out they are also found in higher concentrations in the leaves. And because the leaves have been more or less waste material in commercial olive and olive oil production, it simply makes economic and environmental sense to use the leaves for nutraceutical production. Bonolive is an economical, environmentally-friendly natural product.
Possemiers: The key is oleuropein, a powerful phytonutrient unique to the olive tree. Research shows that the mechanism of action by which oleuropein supports bone health fits right in with the lifestyle changes and other recommendations health professionals have been making for years. The goal is to promote bone formation and arrest bone degradation. Oleuropein appears to work at the cellular level to support these goals.
Possemiers: Bonolive can help complete any bone-supporting regimen by addressing an important factor other supplements do not. There are three primary categories of bone health supplements: minerals and proteins, which provide the building blocks for healthy bone; vitamins, which promote the utilization of minerals; and phytoestrogens like lignans and isoflavones, which promote hormonal balance (a factor especially important for women). Bonolive is in a class of its own. It actually works to support healthy bone metabolism and stimulate bone-building cells. None of the other supplements work in this manner.
Possemiers: Like the rest of our body, bone is governed by metabolism, which is the ongoing cyclical process of production, destruction and maintenance of material substances. Most people don't realize it, but our entire skeleton is replaced every seven years as our bones constantly undergo degradation and regeneration.
In our bones, this process is regulated by cells called osteoblasts, which build bones, and osteoclasts, which break them down. As long as the bone-forming activity (absorption) is greater than the bone-breakdown (resorption), we are able to maintain strong, healthy bones. Research shows that Bonolive promotes a healthy balance of osteoblasts to osteoclasts.
Possemiers: Certainly. First, although I mentioned oleuropein earlier, it's important to understand that Bonolive is not a simple oleuropein supplement. Rather, it's a unique polyphenol complex with a patented, standardized composition.
We began years ago with basic cell culture lab studies. The results indicated that Bonolive could potentially stimulate bone-forming cells (osteoblasts), inhibit osteoclasts and promote bone mineralization. The next step was then to confirm these results in an animal model. When those tests proved encouraging as well, we moved on to human trials. Not only did we learn that Bonolive works, we gained valuable insights into how it works.
First, we need to understand the markers used for our analysis. The gold standard in bone research is the DEXA scan, which measures bone density. Also important is osteocalcin, which is a protein that serves as a marker for osteoblast activity or bone formation. And finally, we looked at blood lipid markers, because, believe it or not, blood lipids can directly correlate to bone health.
Possemiers: Most people don't think about it, but there is fat within the bone. When you tell them to consider the marrow bones many of us feed our dogs, for instance, the light goes on. It turns out that as we age, the stem cells that govern osteoblast formation shift, resulting in the production of more fat cells and fewer osteoblasts. We end up with fatty bones, and that is consistent with blood lipid profiles.
Possemiers: What we have found in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies is that Bonolive has significant benefits on the three selected markers.
First, we noted up to 18% increase in osteocalcin levels over 12 months, which indicates an increase in ostoblast activity (see Figure 1). Second, we noted somewhat smaller, yet still significant impact on blood lipid markers. Finally, our DEXA scans showed that those taking Bonolive displayed a lower loss of bone mineral density at the lumbar spine (see Figure 2) and a higher gain of bone mineral density at the femur neck compared to those taking placebo (see Figure 3). These results are consistent with the in vitro molecular effects previously observed, as well as prior research on the effects of olive polyphenols in animal models.
Possemiers: The subjects in our study were given 250 mg of Bonolive once daily along with 1,000 mg of calcium, because most people concerned about bone health are likely to be taking calcium and with this protocol we could control that and make sure everyone had the same intake. We believe Bonolive can be beneficial in and of itself, but we know that it can make a great addition to calcium and is unlikely to interfere with other things, such as vitamin K or vitamin D, that people might be taking. Just one capsule daily is all you need, which makes it easy to add to your current program. Plus, it's affordable.
We believe that adding Bonolive to any existing bone health supplement regimen makes a truly comprehensive dietary approach to bone health management possible for the first time. As I mentioned earlier, the other supplements on the market just can't do what Bonolive does.
Also, it's important to consider how this differs from the popular synthetic options. Bonolive supports healthy bone metabolism safely, naturally and without side-effects. It's a long-term solution, not a short-term intervention. Bonolive helps the body help itself.