Study finds citrus-derived flavonoid prevents obesity

July 13, 2009 by Kathy Wallis

(PhysOrg.com) -- A flavonoid derived from citrus fruit has shown tremendous promise for preventing weight gain and other signs of metabolic syndrome which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The study, led by Murray Huff of the Robarts Research Institute at The University of Western Ontario looked at a flavonoid (plant-based bioactive molecule) called naringenin. The findings are published online in the journal Diabetes.

In the study one group of mice was fed a high-fat (western) diet to induce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. A second group was fed the exact same diet and treated with naringenin. Naringenin corrected the elevations in and cholesterol, prevented the development of insulin resistance and completely normalized . The researchers found it worked by genetically reprogramming the liver to burn up excess fat, rather than store it.

"Furthermore, the marked obesity that develops in these mice was completely prevented by naringenin," says Huff, Director of the Vascular Biology Research Group at Robarts and Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. "What was unique about the study was that the effects were independent of caloric intake, meaning the mice ate exactly the same amount of food and the same amount of fat. There was no suppression of appetite or decreased food intake, which are often the basis of strategies to reduce weight gain and its metabolic consequences."

While grapefruit has long been linked to weight loss diets, the concentrations of the citrus-derived flavonoid being studied are at higher levels than you could get from dietary components. "We are examining the pharmacological properties of naringenin," explains Huff. "The next step is to find out if naringenin prevents heart disease in animal models and to explore the feasibility of clinical trials to determine its safety and efficacy in humans."

This study investigated naringenin's preventative properties, but Huff is also investigating whether it can treat obesity and other existing metabolic problems. "These studies show naringenin, through its insulin-like properties, corrects many of the metabolic disturbances linked to and represents a promising therapeutic approach for ."

Source: University of Western Ontario

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Artificial beta cells

December 8, 2016

Researchers led by ETH Professor Martin Fussenegger at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel have produced artificial beta cells using a straightforward engineering approach.

Key regulator of bone development identified

December 8, 2016

Loss of a key protein leads to defects in skeletal development including reduced bone density and a shortening of the fingers and toes—a condition known as brachydactyly. The discovery was made by researchers at Penn State ...

Researchers question lifelong immunity to toxoplasmosis

December 8, 2016

Medical students are taught that once infected with Toxoplasma gondii—the "cat parasite"—then you're protected from reinfection for the rest of your life. This dogma should be questioned, argue researchers in an Opinion ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.