Orange juice may help reduce risks of obesity, diabetes

In a new study, researchers found that the equivalent of just two and a half glasses of orange juice a day could reverse obesity and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

They attribute the benefits to nobiletin, a molecule found in sweet oranges and tangerines.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Western Ontario.

Obesity and its resulting metabolic syndromes are a huge burden to the health care system, and scientists have very few interventions that have been shown to work effectively.

In the study, the team showed mice fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet that was also given nobiletin were leaner and had reduced insulin resistance and blood fats compared to mice that were fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet alone.

They also found nobelitin starts to regress plaque build-up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.

The researchers hypothesized the molecule was likely acting on the pathway that regulates how fat is handled in the body.

Called AMP Kinase, this regulator ‘turns on’ the machinery in the body that burns fats to create energy, and it also blocks the manufacture of fats.

The team says while the mystery remains, this recent result is still clinically important because it shows that nobiletin won’t interfere with other drugs that act on the AMP Kinase system.

He says current therapeutics for diabetes like metformin, for example, work through this pathway.

The next step is to move these studies into humans to determine if nobiletin has the same positive metabolic effects in human trials.

One author of the study is Schulich professor Murray Huff.

The study is published in the Journal of Lipid Research.

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