Trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) pain is debilitating and unpredictable. Alleviation of intensity or frequency to any degree will improve the quality of life of the individuals affected. Current medical treatments for TGN are often not effective. In some cases, the pain is a result of myelin degeneration. If diet can provide the basic building blocks for myelin regrowth, then the investigators may be able to reduce facial pain by supporting the myelin nerve sheath.
Animal studies have shown that a dietary intervention with olive oil favorably impacts myelin but no human study has been conducted to date. The investigators propose undertaking a feasibility study to determine if a comparable intervention may work in a similar way in humans. If olive oil impacts myelin repair, then pain will be decreased by this dietary intervention and quality of life will be improved. However, it is not known if individuals with TNG will be able to consume a diet relatively high in olive oil. Feasibility will include testing the logistics of distributing the olive oil intervention to the study subjects, incorporation of olive oil into the participants’ daily diets, and online/distance monitoring of compliance and reporting of pain intensity, pain frequency, and quality of life. This feasibility study will lay the groundwork for potential future studies examining the efficacy of olive oil on alleviating facial pain caused by TNG and may provide data for a power analysis for a future interventional trial.
Olive Oil Information
Recognized for its’ abundant health benefits, olive oil is being chosen by many consumers as a preferred form of fat in diets and is being recommended by nutritionists and health professionals as one of the best alternative oils to traditional fats and oils. Olive oil has great diversity in how it can be used as an ingredient in recipes and as a food-enhancer.
Olive trees originated in Asia, but are more commonly know as an agricultural product in Mediterranean countries. Olive oil comes from the process of pitting, grinding, and pressing of the olive fruit.
In countries where olive is most highly consumed – Italy, Greece, and Spain, the incidences of cardiovascular disease is low and this is attributed the health benefits olive oil provides. One tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat. However, the fat in olive oil is primarily monounsaturated which, when consumed can help reduce blood cholesterol levels leading to improved cardiovascular function.
Other Health Benefits of Olive Oil:
- Olive oil is beneficial as an antioxidant since it contains high levels of vitamin E.
- When consumed, olive oil promotes digestion, stimulates metabolism, and lubricates mucous membranes (olive oil contains vegetable mucilage that helps protect the gastrointestinal tract).
- Olive oil can aid in relieving constipation. Consuming 1 teaspoon of olive oil with lemon juice (preferably on an empty stomach) can promote proper bowel movements.
- Olive oil for skin therapy. Olive oil can be added to dry skin acting like a moisturizer and can also be applied to nails to increase nail strength and to promote healthy cuticles.
How to Choose Olive Oil:
- Explore how you can replace butter, margarine, and low quality vegetable oils in your cooking especially in preparing salads, sautéed dishes, and sauces.
- Purchase olive oil that is labeled as“extra virgin”, which insures that the oil has been cold pressed. Cold pressed olive oil has been produced with freshly harvested olives and has gone through less processing and has not been degraded with heating or chemicals.
- A good quality olive oil will be golden yellow in color versus lower quality olive oils that are light green in color.
- Note: olive oil will congeal (form as a solid) in the refrigerator, but remains a liquid at room temperature.
When used in moderation, olive oil is a nutritious fat that promotes a great deal of health benefits. Like wines, olive oils will have differences in flavor depending on the region and producer of the oils. Olive oils can also be infused with herbs, garlic, peppers and other flavorful ingredients to add extra excitement to your dishes.