Bioflavonoid prevents metabolic syndrome and obesity in mice

Reprinted with permission of Life Extension

In an article published online on July 10, 2009 in the journal Diabetes, researchers in Ontario, Canada report that naringenin, a flavonoid present in citrus fruit, prevents weight gain and components of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes, in a rodent model.

For their study, Murray W. Huff of the Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario and his associates used low density lipoprotein receptor null mice that exhibit disordered lipids, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and obesity when fed a high fat “Western” diet. The animals were divided to receive regular chow, a high fat diet, or high fat (42 percent of calories) diets containing 1 or 3 percent naringenin for four weeks, after which plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and insulin levels were measured, and other factors, including glucose and insulin tolerance, were assessed.


At the end of the treatment period, mice that received naringenin had lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than with those that received the high fat diet without naringenin. Insulin resistance was prevented in the 3 percent naringenin-fed mice and glucose metabolism was normalized, compared to mice that received Western diets. “Furthermore, the marked obesity that develops in these mice was completely prevented by naringenin,” added Dr Huff, who is the Director of the Vascular Biology Research Group at Robarts. “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.”

The research team discovered that naringenin genetically reprograms the liver to burn extra fat as opposed to storing it. “We are examining the pharmacological properties of naringenin,” Dr Huff stated. “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.”

“These studies show naringenin, through its insulin-like properties, corrects many of the metabolic disturbances linked to insulin resistance and represents a promising therapeutic approach for metabolic syndrome,” he concluded.


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