Amazonian fruit prevents obesity in overfed mice

August 30, 2018, Laval University

An extract of camu camu—a fruit native to the Amazon—prevents obesity in mice fed a diet rich in sugar and fat, say researchers at Université Laval and the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Research Centre. The discovery, which was recently published in the scientific journal Gut, suggests that camu camu phytochemicals could play a leading role in the fight against obesity and metabolic disease.

The chemical composition of camu camu is unique in that it contains 20 to 30 times more vitamin C than kiwis and 5 times more polyphenols than blackberries. "We demonstrated the beneficial health effects of polyphenol-rich berries in previous studies," explains André Marette, a professor at Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine and principal investigator for the study. "That's what gave us the idea to test the effects of camu camu on obesity and metabolic disease."

The researchers fed two groups of a diet rich in sugar and fat for eight weeks. Half the mice were given camu camu extract each day. At the end of the experiment, weight gain in camu camu-treated mice was 50% lower than that observed in control mice and was similar to the weight gain of mice consuming a low-sugar, low-fat diet. The researchers believe the anti-obesity of camu camu could be explained by an increase in resting metabolism in the mice that received the extract.

The researchers also found that camu camu improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and reduced the concentration of blood endotoxins and metabolic inflammation. "All these changes were accompanied by a reshaping of the intestinal microbiota, including a blooming of A. muciniphila and a significant reduction in Lactobacillus bacteria," explains Dr. Marette. Transplantation of intestinal microbiota from the camu camu group to germ-free mice lacking an intestinal microbiota temporarily reproduced similar metabolic effects. "Camu camu thus exerts its positive metabolic effects at least in part through the modulation of the gut microbiota," concludes the researcher.

André Marette now wants to examine whether camu camu produces the same metabolic effects in humans. The toxicity of the fruit extract should not pose a problem since it is already commercialized to combat fatigue and stress and stimulate the immune system.

In addition to André Marette, the study's co-authors are Fernando Anhê, Renato Nachbar, Thibault Varin, Jocelyn Trottier, Stéphanie Dudonné, Mélanie Le Barz, Perrine Feutry, Geneviève Pilon, Olivier Barbier, Yves Desjardins, and Denis Roy.

Explore further: Changes in gut microbiota after unhealthy diet may protect from metabolic disease

More information: Fernando F Anhê et al, Treatment with camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) prevents obesity by altering the gut microbiota and increasing energy expenditure in diet-induced obese mice, Gut (2018). DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2017-315565

Related Stories

Changes in gut microbiota after unhealthy diet may protect from metabolic disease

March 17, 2017
An unhealthy diet changes the composition of the gut flora and it is generally assumed that this maladaptation called "dysbiosis" triggers disease. A study by Matteo Serino and his colleagues at the Université Paul Sabatier ...

Natural sugar defends against metabolic syndrome, in mice

August 23, 2018
New research, in mice, indicates that a natural sugar called trehalose blocks glucose from the liver and activates a gene that boosts insulin sensitivity, reducing the chance of developing diabetes. Activating the gene also ...

Diet lacking soluble fiber promotes weight gain, mouse study suggests

November 2, 2015
Eating too much high-fat, high-calorie food is considered the primary cause of obesity and obesity-related disease, including diabetes. While the excess calories consumed are a direct cause of the fat accumulation, scientists ...

Gut microbe battles obesity

May 14, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Akkermansia muciniphila is one of the many microbes that live in our intestines. This bacterium, which feeds on the intestine's mucus lining, comprises between 3 and 5 percent of the gut microbes of healthy ...

Recommended for you

Separated entry and exit doors for calcium keep energy production smooth in the powerhouses of heart cells

September 18, 2018
Stress demands the heart to work harder and faster. To keep pace, the muscle must make its fuel at an accelerated rate. Bursts of calcium entering mitochondria—the cell's powerhouses—normally help control energy output, ...

A new defender for your sense of smell

September 18, 2018
New research from the Monell Center increases understanding of a mysterious sensory cell located in the olfactory epithelium, the patch of nasal tissue that contains odor-detecting olfactory receptor cells. The findings suggest ...

First gut bacteria may have lasting effect on ability to fight chronic diseases

September 18, 2018
New research showing that the first bacteria introduced into the gut have a lasting impact may one day allow science to adjust microbiomes—the one-of-a-kind microbial communities that live in our gastrointestinal tracts—to ...

Small molecule plays big role in weaker bones as we age

September 18, 2018
With age, expression of a small molecule that can silence others goes way up while a key signaling molecule that helps stem cells make healthy bone goes down, scientists report.

Sperm quality study updates advice for couples trying to conceive

September 17, 2018
Could doctors at fertility clinics be giving men bad advice? Dr. Da Li and Dr. XiuXia Wang, who are clinician-researchers at the Center for Reproductive Medicine of Shengjing Hospital in Shenyang in northeast China, think ...

Antioxidant found to be effective in treating mice with osteoarthritis

September 14, 2018
A team of researchers in Belgium and the Netherlands has found that feeding a common antioxidant to test mice was effective in treating osteoarthritis. In their paper published in Science Translational Medicine, the group ...

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.