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Eating Oranges For Weight Loss: Does It Work?

Medical Daily logo Medical Daily 2020-03-11 Seema Prasad
two oranges sitting on top of a wooden table © Pixel2013 / Pixabay

A recent study by University of Western Ontario emphasized on an important benefit reaped from eating oranges: weight loss. The researchers were able to conclude, after experimenting on rats, that a certain molecule compound called nobiletin, specifically found in sweet oranges and tangerines, was able to bring down obesity significantly. 

The study published in the Journal of Lipid Research found that a comparison between two types of rats was able to demonstrate how exactly this happened. Strangely enough, the scientists could not figure out the pathway of this underlying mechanism. But they were delighted to find a potential therapy for obesity. 

The first group of rats given high-fat and high-cholesterol diets were also given nobiletin, while the other group was only fed the high-fat diet. The former bunch of rats had changed and become leaner, and the levels of insulin resistance had dropped. The second bunch of rats who were not given nobiletin did not improve their health. 

"We went on to show that we can also intervene with nobiletin. We've shown that in mice that already have all the negative symptoms of obesity, we can use nobelitin to reverse those symptoms, and even start to regress plaque build-up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis." Murray Huff, professor at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, said, as quoted in the news release.

Huff and his colleagues speculated that AMP Kinase, a pathway within the body that enables the body to burn fat and stop the production of more fat, is positively affected by the consumption of nobiletin.  To ensure this was the case, researchers genetically modified the mice and removed AMP Kinase. However, the effect of nobiletin still remained, thus broadening the mystery of how this happens, with or without activating AMP Kinase. 

"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. What it still leaves us with is the question -- how is nobiletin doing this?" Huff said. The researchers plan to conduct human trials in order to determine how nobiletin works. 

"Obesity and its resulting metabolic syndromes are a huge burden to our health care system, and we have very few interventions that have been shown to work effectively. We need to continue this emphasis on the discovery of new therapeutics," he added. 


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