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Harnessing Nature’s Power: Innovations in Immune Boosting with Olive Leaf Extracts

AUTHOR: Carlos Rodriguez, Pharmactive Communication Manager

The 2020 pandemic has stimulated a great deal of research and the search for innovative solutions in the field of immunity boosting. Pharmactive offers the market two products with bioactive compounds from natural sources: Olivactive® and Isenolic®. They harness the potential of oleuropein and elenolic acid from olive leaves to provide immunomodulatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits.

Immunity has gained unprecedented relevance, especially after the pandemic of 2020. In this context, research and innovation have led to the development of cutting-edge solutions aimed at enhancing our immune system to protect our body from viruses and bacteria. These scientific advances have shed light on the importance of bioactive compounds present in natural ingredients, making immunostimulant botanicals from ancient or traditional medicine attractive to consumers because of their nature, efficacy and safety, which are perceived as natural, effective and safe.

This is the case of the olive tree, which has been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean basin for centuries. Among the by-products of the olive industry, olive leaves are considered an important source of bioactive compounds. In fact, they have been used as a folk medicine for many centuries to combat fever, and relieve symptoms of colds, flu and pharyngitis1.

Today, there is great scientific and industrial interest in olive leaves for their health benefits related to the presence of an enormous diversity of phenolic compounds. Modern science has thus been able to enhance the incredible properties of this botanical, with Pharmactive taking a step forward with two of its products: Olivactive® and Isenolic®.

Olivactive® is a high-quality olive leaf extract standardised to 20% oleuropein and ≥ 2% bioflavonoids by HPLC. Oleuropein is one of the most important characteristic biomolecules of Olea europaea L. and has demonstrated immunomodulatory2, anti-inflammatory3, and antimicrobial4 activities in various studies. Bioflavonoids are potent antioxidants that have been linked to antibacterial properties, while also helping to balance elevated blood glucose levels, which is associated with an increased risk of infection5. In addition, these bioflavonoids confer greater stability to the extract due to their antioxidant properties, protecting other bioactive molecules from degradation.

Renowned for its richness in polyphenols, Olivactive® presents a unique synergy of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. In this way, oleuropein and polyphenols work together to boost the immune system, strengthening its ability to respond and ultimately improving our resistance to disease.

Olivactive® and its bioactive compounds appear to have four main mechanisms of action:

  • Immunomodulation: The oleuropein present in Olivactive® regulates the immune response of macrophages and granulocytes by controlling the release of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species which exert an antimicrobial effect, and the expression of inflammatory mediators which promote an adaptive immune response.
  • Antimicrobial activity: Oleuropein has demonstrated strong antimicrobial activity against bacteria, mycoplasmas and viruses. Oleuropein is broken down into hydroxytyrosol, which promotes the breakdown of bacterial cell walls and damages cell membranes. It also appears to be particularly useful in antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Olivactive®, thanks to bioflavonoids and oleuropein, attenuates the general inflammatory state, reducing inflammation in various cell types such as muscle and lung cells.
  • Blood glucose balance by inhibiting two enzymes (α-amylase and α-glucosidase) involved in glucose absorption in the gastrointestinal tract.

In parallel, Isenolic® has shown exceptional potential for boosting immunity. Isenolic®, a premium olive leaf extract, is standardised to 4% elenolic acid (ELA) by HPLC. Elenolic acid is one of the most important secondary metabolites of the olive tree and is primarily responsible for the antimicrobial activity of olive leaves.

Numerous studies have shown that elenolic acid may exhibit antimicrobial properties against viruses (influenza A, B and parainfluenza) and bacteria6-8, thus promoting immunity and helping to alleviate cold symptoms.

Furthermore, in a world where oxidative stress and inflammation have become underlying concerns, Isenolic®’s unique composition enables it to combat oxidative damage, one of the main drivers of ageing and various health conditions. By neutralising harmful free radicals and strengthening the body’s antioxidant mechanisms, Isenolic® helps preserve cellular integrity and promote overall vitality.

Importantly, the impact of Isenolic® goes beyond its antioxidant capacity. Studies suggest that hydroxytyrosol possesses anti-inflammatory properties, capable of modulating inflammatory responses in the body.

Pharmactive’s commitment to scientific rigour and product excellence is evident in the formulation of Isenolic®. Rigorous research and the use of state-ofthe-art extraction techniques ensure that each dose of Isenolic® encapsulates the full potential of hydroxytyrosol. As a result, users can experience the concentrated benefits of this natural compound, improving their well-being and strengthening their immune system in the face of daily challenges.

To this end, Isenolic® offers a multi-targeted mechanism of action:

1- Blocking the entry of viruses into cells.

2- Stopping the replication of viruses in the cell.

3- Preventing the release of viruses by inhibiting neuraminidase.

4- Promoting virus destruction by stimulating virus phagocytosis.

A study conducted in 20209 found that the concentration of Isenolic® needed to halve the neuraminidase activity of the virus (called IC50) was only 171.5 μg/mL in a cell line particularly vulnerable to influenza (MDCK-SIAT1), showing the significant inhibitory effect on neuraminidase activity. Other studies10-11 found that Isenolic® treatment inhibited 65% of influenza A virus activity after infection.

In these same studies, it was observed that Isenolic® treatment preserved 73% of viable cells following influenza A infection. This has been attributed to the probable protective effect of Isenolic® against the cytopathic effect (structural changes) caused by influenza.

Drawing on the ancient knowledge of the olive tree in the Mediterranean, Pharmactive uses trusted local sources to ensure the high quality and purity of the final extract. Olive leaves have a very distinctive flavonoid profile, which is used as an identity marker to avoid adulteration. The extraction process is fully controlled, and the extracts are entirely manufactured in Spain.

In short, the presence of these products on the market represents not only a breakthrough in science, but also a testament to Pharmactive’s commitment to excellence. The company not only formulates products based on sound scientific evidence, but also adheres to rigorous quality and sustainability standards. This holistic approach is reflected in the purity and potency of each of its products, creating a positive impact on the health and well-being of consumers.

Having allies such as Pharmactive’s Olivactive® and Isenolic® is an important step towards strengthening our immune defence and the constant pursuit of a healthy and fulfilling life.



1 Tardío, J., Pardo de Santayana, M., Morales, R., Molina, M. y Aceituno, (2018). Inventario español de los conocimientos tradicionales relativos a la biodiversidad agrícola. Volumen I. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca Y Alimentación. Madrid. 191 – 193.

2 Qabaha K., et al. J. Med. Food 21 (2017) 302-305;

3 Bisignano G., et al., J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 51 (1999) 971-974;

4 Ahamad J., et al. Phytotherapy Research. (2019) 1–17;

5 Cushine T. P. T. and Lamb A. J. Int. J. Antimicrob. Agents 38 (2011) 99-107

6 Khan Y., et al. Phytochem. 1 (2007) 114-118;

7 Omar S. H. Sci Pharm. 78 (2010) 133-154;

8 EMA Herbal Monograph on Olea europaea L.

9 Salamanca A., et al. BMC Complement Altern Med. (2020). Approved.

10 Del Castillo M. D., et al. Nutr. Clin. Diet. Hosp. 38 (2018)

11 Salamanca A., et al. Póster presentado en Vitafoods Europe 2018, Ginebra.

Pharmaceutical Biotech Products is a privately owned Spanish company that develops and produces various natural ingredients for the food, pharmaceutical and veterinary industries.

The effectiveness of the ingredients is supported by scientific evidence.


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