Winter is coming! How can we support the immune system?

Support the immune system in winter with our olive leaf extracts.  

It’s that time of year again, when we think we should be getting ready for dinner (or bed) because it is already dark outside, but it’s only 4 pm. Yes, “winter is coming”! But, with this change in season, what is also coming is cold and flu season! So, how can we prevent coming down with a cold or managing an infection, and what role can food supplements play in supporting our immune system?


Cold, flu and olive


Of course, first and foremost, to remain healthy, we should concentrate on eating a balanced and varied diet and living a healthy lifestyle, not just in fall and winter but all year round. Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and getting plenty of exercise and fresh air are important ways to support our immune system and overall well-being. However, sometimes it is impossible to get all the vitamins and minerals we need through our diet alone, and it is here that food supplements can help us close nutritional gaps.


It is generally well known that essential vitamins such as C, D3, B9, and B12 and minerals including iron, zinc and selenium help support a healthy immune system. But did you know that certain plant extracts can also help us manage infections and our immune health? Olive leaf extracts have been related to varied positive health effects and can contribute to our body’s ability to fend off certain microbes. Two award-winning products that provide multiple health benefits of olive leaf extracts are Isenolic® and Olivactive®.


Isenolic® is a premium olive leaf ingredient, standardized to ≥4% elenolic acid (ELA), one of the olive’s most important secondary metabolites. It is the main active compound responsible for the olive leaf’s longevity and has been shown to inhibit neuraminidase activity1. Neuraminidase inhibitors decrease the release of the virus from infected cells and help to limit the spread of the virus through the body. In fact, they are recommended by the WHO for viral infection management2. In addition, ELA has been demonstrated in several studies to have strong antioxidant activity, promote immunity, and potentially help relieve cold-like symptoms. Iseneolic® may be the answer for the ever-growing number of people looking to traditional roots as a natural, effective, and safe option to support their immune systems during cold and flu season3.



Olivactive® is an olive leaf extract, standardized to ≥20% oleuropein and to ≥2% bioflavonoids by HPLC. Oleuropein is a key biomolecule from Olea europaea L. and has been shown in multiple studies to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties4-5. Combined with bioflavonoids, potent antioxidants with antibacterial properties, the result is an innovative, multitarget, natural approach to immune support. Firstly, macrophage and granulocyte stimulation initiate a proinflammatory pathway to help combat pathogens. Next, oleuropein breaks down hydroxytyrosol during digestion, which may promote bacteria cell wall breaking and cellular membrane damage. Finally, Olivactive® is known to attenuate the overall inflammatory state, reducing inflammation in several cell types6. Furthermore, as a result of modulating several enzymes, Olivactive® may also positively affect glycemia regulation7. Therefore, Olivactive® may be a good candidate for maintaining glucose levels within the normal range, potentially reducing their risk of complications. Further in vivo studies are being conducted to confirm the preliminary results in vitro.


The use of olive leaves for medicinal purposes dates back to ancient Egypt, used to combat fever and treat colds. However, the traditional use of plants and anecdotal reports of their benefits differ from the evidence-based science that discerning consumers expect. The olive leaf used in both Isenolic® and Olivactive® is locally sourced in Spain. Their bioactive compounds are extracted in a patented and environmentally sound method that preserves the high quality of the extract. Furthermore, measures put in place by Pharmactive Biotech Products S.L.U ensure this valuable traditional root is unadulterated.



  1. EMA Herbal Monograph on Oleo europaea
  2. World Health Organization. Weekly epidemiological record. 2018:93, 429-444.
  3. Mintel Market Research, 2020.
  4. Visioli F., et al. Life Sci. 62 (1998) 541-546
  5. Omar S.H. Sci Pharm. 78 (2010)133-154
  6. Ahamad J., et al. Pharm. Pharmacol. 51 (1999) 971-974.
  7. Basile A., et al. Phytochem. 52 (1999) 1479-1482.

Dr. Natalie Vladi, MRPharmS.

Scientific Advisor Pharmactive Biotech Products, S.L.
Managing Director Fountain House GmbH, home to the premium food supplements brand Foondiert®


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Pharmactive Biotech Products, S.L. is a privately-owned Spanish company that develops, and manufactures differentiated natural ingredients supported by scientific evidence. Pharmactive makes these innovative ingredients available to other companies in the Nutraceutical, Pharmaceutical and Veterinary Industries for marketing/distribution.

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