Called Oleaselect, the patented ingredient is extracted from the pulp of an Italian variety of olive, selected for its high content of polyphenols.
The company is not alone on the market with an olive extract, with several new products being introduced in recent months to capitalise on increasing awareness of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
Studies have associated the traditional diet of people living in this region with a significantly longer life expectancy and lower risk of death from heart disease than northern populations.
Olives, a key component of the Mediterranean diet, are increasingly being promoted by the food industry, with extracts being promoted for their concentrated antioxidant content.
However commercial director of Indena, Massimo Lattuada, told NutraIngredients.com that Oleaselect contains at least 1.5 per cent hydroxytyrosol and 5 per cent verbascoside, two polyphenols thought to be responsible for many of the biochemical and biological effects of the extract.
"The fact that we guarantee such high levels of hydroxytyrosol and verbascoside marks us out from most other producers," he said.
The company, heavily focused on pharmaceutical grade botanicals, has carried out in vitro tests on the the extract's antioxidant activity and is currently running a human clinical trial, measuring the parameters of antioxidant activity in blood plasma. Results are expected early next year.
"There are a lot of antioxidants on the market but they have different target organs," explained Lattuada. "This targets the cardiovascular system as it is a good anti-inflammatory agent. It also makes a nice marketing story with its role in the Mediterranean diet."
Numerous studies have shown that phenols in olives are potent inhibitors of LDL oxidation, which is linked to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, contributing to the development of severe coronary heart disease.
Oleaselect has already been formulated in supplements on the US market. The first olive product offered by Indena, it could also have potential on the food market.