Freshly squeezed orange juice. TNS
Researchers have found that drinking two-and-a-half glasses of orange juice a day could reverse obesity and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
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According to the findings, published in the Journal of Lipid Research, the researchers are studying a molecule found in sweet oranges and tangerines called nobiletin, which they have shown to drastically reduce obesity and reverse its negative side-effects.
"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," said study researcher Murray Huff from Western University in Canada.
The research team demonstrated that mice fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet that were 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.
However, they still haven't been able to pinpoint exactly how nobiletin works.
According to the study, 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.
However, when the researchers studied nobiletin's effects on mice that had been genetically modified to remove AMP Kinase, the effects were the same.
"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.
According to the researchers, 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 current therapeutics for diabetes like metformin, for example, work through this pathway, the researchers said.
The next step is to move these studies into humans to determine if nobiletin has the same positive metabolic effects in human trials.
"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," Huff concluded.
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