Olive oil and lemon juice: myths, benefits and downsides

Olive oil and lemon juice are common ingredients in many kitchens, especially in the Mediterranean and Levant regions.

Some people claim that a combination of olive oil and lemon juice can treat a range of conditions, such as gallstones, joint pain, and premature aging.

Additionally, studies have investigated the potential health benefits of nutrients found in olive oil and lemon juice separately.

In this article, we will discuss whether there is research to support the supposed benefits of a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. We will also review the potential benefits and downsides of each of these ingredients individually.

Olive oil is extracted by squeezing the oil from ripe olive fruits using various methods, including pressing and centrifugation. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is of the highest quality (1And 2).

Pure olive oil is made up of about 73% of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) that’s good for the heart. It is also a great source of vitamins E and K (3).

Another attractive quality of olive oil is the abundant presence of natural compounds called polyphenols. These are powerful antioxidants that scavenge harmful compounds called free radicals in your body, protecting you from oxidative stress (4).


Olive oil is made by extracting the oil from the ripe olive fruit. The oil contains many nutrients, including MUFAs, polyphenols, and vitamins E and K.

The sour liquid that is squeezed from lemons is known as lemon juice. Lemon is a citrus fruit that originates from the Mediterranean and is part of the roots family of plants (5).

Lemon juice is a rich source of antioxidants, especially vitamin C.5And 6).


Sour juice squeezed from lemons is called lemon juice. Rich in flavonoids and antioxidants like Vitamin C.

Some claim that taking olive oil and lemon juice together leads to positive health outcomes. People claim it is used for cleansing and detoxing, for treating and preventing gallstones, and to promote weight loss.

Let’s examine each of these claims separately.

Claims of cleansing and detox

With a quick search online, you’ll find many concoctions that are said to cleanse and detoxify using lemon juice, olive oil, or a combination of the two.

Cleanse and Detox It is supposed to flush out waste and toxins that have built up in your body over time (7).

However, there don’t seem to be many studies on whether lemon juice and olive oil can help with cleansing or detoxification.

A 2018 review of 27 high-quality studies looked at the health effects of olive oil consumption compared to other vegetable oils.

Researchers found that when subjects ate olive oil during the study period, they had lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in their blood compared to people who ate other vegetable oils (8).

No studies in our high-quality research have shown that consumption of olive oil alleviates digestive problems.

However, the antioxidants and polyphenols found in olive oil and lemon juice can be called “cleansing” in that they neutralize or “cleanse” harmful free radicals, which otherwise cause cell damage and may contribute to disease and disease (9And 10And 11And 12).

The human body has different biological ways to remove toxins and maintain optimal performance (7).

To help your body function at its best, I recommend eating a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean sources of protein (13And 14).

Weight loss claims

Research has shown that certain components in lemon juice and olive oil — the vitamin C in lemon juice and the monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil — play a role in weight management.

Lemon juice is high in vitamin C. A 3-ounce (100-gram) serving contains 38.7 mg, which is 43% of the RDA for men and 52% of the RDA for women (15).

In the human body, vitamin C is an important component needed to make carnitine.

L-Carnitine is a compound that transports fat molecules into cells, where they are broken down and used as an energy source. Therefore, insufficient intake of vitamin C may lead to low lipids (16).

In an older study from 2006, healthy adults with a slight decrease in vitamin C burned 25% less fat when walking on a treadmill for 60 minutes compared to people with adequate levels of vitamin C (17).

In another study, obese rats were given ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and a high-fat diet for 15 weeks. The mice gained less body fat and had other signs of better health compared to mice that were fed a high-fat diet but not given vitamin C (18).

There seem to be no studies that note the effect of taking a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice on weight. However, individual ingredients may still be effective when combined.

It is also important to note that more recent studies in humans are needed.

Claims for kidney stones and gallstones

Your eating habits can play an important role in the formation of kidney stones and gallstones. A low intake of vitamin C and a high intake of saturated fats are known to contribute to these conditions (19And 20).

Gallstones are solid deposits of digestive fluid and cholesterol that develop in the gallbladder. Depending on the size and location of the gallstones, you may or may not have any symptoms.

Some sources have suggested that some people use a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil to promote the movement of gallstones as a folk remedy. However, there is no research to support this claim.

There are many healthy eating guidelines to help prevent gallstones from forming, including recommending the consumption of healthy fats such as olive oil.

Some evidence suggests that eating healthy fats, such as olive oil, may help prevent gallstones from forming by regularly contracting and emptying the gallbladder (21, 22).

Vitamin C deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of gallstones. Vitamin C may prevent cholesterol crystallization by converting it into bile acids, thus preventing the formation of gallstones (23).

A large but older study from 2000 found that for every 27 micromol/L increase in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in the blood, there was a 13% reduction in gallstone formation in women aged 20 to 74 years (24).

In general, research is limited and outdated, so more research is needed.


The vitamin C in lemon juice and the monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil may protect against gallstones. However, research monitoring its effectiveness in weight loss, cleansing, and detoxing is limited. There are no studies examining the combined effects of these foods.

Several nutrients found in olive oil and lemon juice may have positive effects on your health. Each ingredient has its own powerful health benefits.

But when combined, can olive oil and lemon juice be considered a super duo with greater effects than when taken alone? In short, no.

People have claimed that this combination can improve digestion, purify the body, reduce joint pain, prevent premature aging, and treat gallstones. However, no studies have shown that their effects are enhanced when combined together.


Some sources have promoted a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil to improve digestion, purify the body, reduce joint pain, and prevent premature aging. However, there is no research to support these claims.

No studies or case reports have found that combining olive oil and lemon juice has adverse effects. However, it is not good to expect the mixture to cure disease, as some anecdotal sources claim it does (25And 26And 27).

There are no specific negatives known to the olive oil and lemon juice mixture, but each of these ingredients comes with some minor downsides that you should be aware of.

As with many foods, for a small percentage of people, lemon or olive oil may cause an allergic reaction (28, 29).

Acidic foods like lemon juice may also harm your tooth enamel if you consume them frequently (30).

Also, remember that olive oil is calorie dense. One tablespoon (13.5 grams) of olive oil provides 119 calories. So if you are trying to limit your calorie intake for weight loss or other reasons, consume olive oil in moderation (31).

If you have a health condition and are wondering what treatments might work for you, talk to a health care professional.


There are no major known risks associated with using olive oil and lemon juice and some minor negatives to each individually. It is a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before self-treating any health condition.

If you are interested in mixing lemon juice and olive oil in your diet, go for it!

There is no research showing that lemon juice and olive oil are harmful when mixed. Moreover, it is a common flavor, and people often use it together in recipes, especially in Mediterranean cuisine.

In addition to providing some of the potential health benefits mentioned above, lemon juice and olive oil make a great salad dressing or a base for Mediterranean chicken and potato bread (my personal favorite), among many other delicious recipes.

If you experience an allergic reaction or other health effects after taking it, be sure to stop taking it and consult your healthcare professional.


In addition to the individual health benefits, olive oil and lemon juice taste great when mixed to make a salad dressing or used together in other dishes.

Anecdotal sources have suggested that olive oil and lemon juice are a powerful duo when combined. Some people claim that this combination can improve digestion, purify the body, reduce joint pain, prevent premature aging, and treat gallstones.

However, there is no research to support these claims. The health qualities of olive oil and lemon juice do not appear to improve when the two ingredients are mixed.

On the other hand, some of the individual components of olive oil and lemon juice may have other health benefits backed by research.

They also make a delicious combination that you can use in cooking.


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