Scientists from Western University recently found a molecule in sweet oranges and tangerines called nobiletin may help reduce obesity and prevent diabetes and heart disease.
They found that mice fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet that was also given nobiletin were noticeably leaner and had reduced levels of insulin resistance and blood fats compared to mice that were fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet alone.
The team also found that in mice that already had all the negative symptoms of obesity, they could use nobelitin to reverse those symptoms, and even start to regress plaque build-up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.
The researchers hypothesized that 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.
But this result told us that nobiletin is not acting on AMP Kinase, and is bypassing this major regulator of how fat is used in the body.
The team says while the mystery remains, this result is still clinically important because it shows that nobiletin won’t interfere with other drugs that act on the AMP Kinase system.
The next step is to move these studies into humans to determine if nobiletin has the same positive metabolic effects in human trials.
The study was published in the Journal of Lipid Research and conducted by Murray Huff et al.
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