Orange compound may combat obesity and heart disease

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Researchers at Western University have made a promising discovery about a molecule found in sweet oranges and tangerines called nobiletin.

Their study suggests that nobiletin could play a significant role in reducing obesity and preventing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

In their experiments, the scientists fed mice a diet high in fat and cholesterol. Some of these mice also received nobiletin. The results were quite striking.

The mice that were given nobiletin remained noticeably leaner compared to those that did not receive the molecule. Additionally, these mice showed lower levels of insulin resistance and blood fats—two factors commonly associated with obesity.

Furthermore, the research team explored the effects of nobiletin on mice that were already showing all the negative symptoms of obesity. Impressively, they found that nobiletin could not only halt the progression of these symptoms but even reverse some of them.

One of the most significant findings was that nobiletin could reduce the build-up of plaque in the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

The researchers delved into how nobiletin achieves these effects. It appears that the molecule influences the body’s fat metabolism pathways. Specifically, they investigated a key regulator known as AMP Kinase, which controls the burning and production of fat in the body.

Surprisingly, they discovered that nobiletin does not act on AMP Kinase but instead bypasses it. This finding is particularly crucial because it suggests that nobiletin won’t interfere with other medications that target the AMP Kinase pathway, a common concern in drug interactions.

While the exact mechanism by which nobiletin works remains unclear, the implications of these findings are significant. The molecule’s ability to influence fat metabolism without disturbing other pathways could make it an excellent candidate for safe and effective therapeutic use.

Encouraged by these results, the research team is planning the next phase of their investigation. They aim to conduct trials on humans to see if nobiletin has the same beneficial effects in people as it does in mice.

Such studies are essential for moving from laboratory discoveries to actual treatments that can help people suffering from obesity and related diseases.

The study, led by Murray Huff and his colleagues, was published in the Journal of Lipid Research.

It marks an important step forward in understanding how natural compounds in fruits like oranges and tangerines can be harnessed to combat some of today’s most pressing health challenges.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

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