Tiktok can be an excellent place for information and hacks that make your life easier. However, the problem with it, and all other social media sites, is that misinformation can spread so quickly. This is especially a problem regarding nutrition information and gut health, as these are very trendy topics. Follow along with this TikTok series diving into whether or not these hacks are Fact or Fad?
Disclaimer: I will not be posting these TikTok accounts from which I have gotten this information because I don’t believe we should attack these individuals. This article is to help you realize that not everything you see online is accurate and to do more research yourself or work closely with a registered dietitian who can help you discern what is evidence-based or not.
The TikTok: One creator mentions how taking shots of olive oil has helped their gut health. Another creator says how it helps reduce bloating.
The Science: Research has shown that olive oil is excellent for overall health. The Mediterranean diet has consistently ranked among the top diets for many different chronic illnesses (heart disease, diabetes, etc.). One of the main components of this diet is olive oil. Comparatively, a Western/Americanized diet is high in pro-inflammatory foods, which have been associated with gut dysbiosis, increased gut permeability, systemic inflammation, and a variety of chronic diseases. Research involving supplementing just olive oil is minimal but promising in showing that olive oil can have prebiotic effects, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium; and an antibacterial, suppressing the growth of pathogenic bacteria. However, much of the research involves small intervention groups, so we cannot draw significant conclusions.
One study shows that drinking olive oil can be as helpful as mineral oil for relieving constipation. However, the study used 4 mL of olive oil, only 0.8 of a teaspoon, which is very different than a shot of olive oil.
What To Do: The preliminary research shows that olive oil can be good for gut health, but there is no need to take shots of olive oil daily. Feel free to incorporate it into your diet and add more high-fiber foods for optimal gut health.