Researchers from Scotland’s University of Edinburgh have discovered a compound in olive oil that may prevent cancer from developing in the brain, STV News reported on 2 June.

The news service quoted the research team as saying that it was too soon to make claims of whether or not olive oil consumption could help prevent brain cancer, but their findings indicated that therapies based on oleic acid found in the oil could prevent cancer from occurring.

“While we cannot yet say that olive oil in the diet helps prevent brain cancer, our findings do suggest that oleic acid can support the production of tumour-suppressing molecules in cells grown in the lab,” Gracjan Michlewski, the study’s lead author, told STV News.

He added that further studies could help more clearly determine olive oil’s role in brain health.

Having analysed the effects of oleic acid on miR-7 cell molecules that are active in the brain and known for suppressing the formation of tumours, the research team found that the acid prevented the MSI2 cell protein from stopping the production of miR-7.

This activity, according to the scientists, could mean oleic acid supports the production of miR-7 and thus indirectly help prevent tumours from forming.

The findings were made by performing tests on human cell extracts and living cells in a laboratory.