Tangerine flavonoid could curb heart disease, diabetes, obesity

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Tangerine extract
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Researchers have isolated a compound in tangerines that protects mice from obesity.
Metabolic syndrome that includes obesity, high cholesterol levels and insulin resistance that leads to type 2 diabetes and heart disease might be treatable with the substance. In their study, researchers from University of Western Ontario fed mice a high fat Western diet. When they added the tangerine extract Nobletin, they found the mice didn't gain weight and their cholesterol levels stayed normal.

Tangerine extract could fight obesity related diseases

The researchers compared two groups of mice bred to develop metabolic syndrome that increases the risk of disease. Both groups were fed a high fat, high sugar diet. The mice given the tangerine extract Nobletin had no elevation in cholesterol, glucose, triglycerides or insulin. The compound protected the mice from becoming obese

The researchers say the finding opens the doors to more research to explore using Nobletin extracted from the fruit as a treatment for obesity and metabolic related disorders that put people at high risk for heart disease and diabetes. The study is published in the journal Diabetes.

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According to Murray Huff, a vascular biology scientist at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, "The Nobiletin-treated mice were basically protected from obesity." He says the mice were also protected from build up of arterial plaque or atherosclerosis that leads to heart attack, stroke and other vascular diseases.

Two years ago the research team discovered the anti-obesity effect of grapefruit from the compound Naringenin. Huff says Nobletin in tangerines offers ten time the protection as Naringenin in addition to stopping atherosclerosis. A focus of the Huff's research is how naturally occurring molecules can be used medicinally.

The tangerine extract Nobletin protected mice from the effects of metabolic syndrome that has become prevalent in the United States. The finding suggests the flavonoid from tangerines could help protect humans from obesity, diabetes and heart disease, pending further studies.

Diabetes: doi: 10.2337/db10-0589
"Nobiletin Attenuates VLDL Overproduction, Dyslipidemia, and Atherosclerosis in Mice With Diet-Induced Insulin Resistance"
Erin E. Mulvihill, Julia M. Assini, Justin K. Lee, Emma M. Allister, Brian G. Sutherland, Julie B. Koppes, Cynthia G. Sawyez, Jane Y. Edwards, Dawn E. Telford, Alexandre Charbonneau, Philippe St-Pierre, André Marette4 and Murray W. Huff

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