(NaturalNews) Flavonoids are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and certain beverages (including tea, coffee, fruit juices and wine) that have aroused scientific interest in recent years because they seem to benefit the human body in a host of ways -- from fighting viruses to preventing inflammation and infections. Research has found certain flavonoids have anti-tumor and anti-stroke properties, too. Now weight control can be added to the list of remarkable ways flavonoids can help promote good health naturally. A new study just published in the journal Diabetes concludes a citrus fruit flavonoid can cause the liver to burn fat and control weight.
A team of scientists headed by Murray Huff of the Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario, investigated a citrus fruit flavonoid called naringenin. They fed one group of mice a typical Western style high-fat diet in order to induce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome, a frequent precursor to diabetes, is defined by a cluster of physical signs such as abdominal fat, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels and insulin resistance. Then another matched group of mice ate the same diet with the addition of naringenin.
The results? Naringenin brought down the high triglyceride and cholesterol levels to normal and prevented the development of insulin resistance. In fact, the flavonoid totally normalized glucose metabolism. "These studies show naringenin, through its insulin-like properties, corrects many of the metabolic disturbances linked to insulin resistance and represents a promising therapeutic approach for metabolic syndrome," Huff said in a statement to the media.
But the natural, grapefruit-derived compound was found to do even more. It brought the fat mice down to a healthy, slim weight by genetically reprogramming their livers to burn up excess fat. The result was a lack of stored fat. The mice were cured of obesity.
"What was unique about the study was that the effects were independent of caloric intake, meaning the mice ate exactly the same amount of food and the same amount of fat. There was no suppression of appetite or decreased food intake, which are often the basis of strategies to reduce weight gain and its metabolic consequences," stated Huff, Director of the Vascular Biology Research Group at Robarts and Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Does naringenin have the same impact on people? The research team wants to explore that possibility by conducting clinical trials with humans to see if the natural compound can treat obesity and other metabolic problems. The researchers are also planning additional animal studies to see if the flavonoid can prevent heart disease.
Author's note: NaturalNews is opposed to the use of animals in medical experiments that expose them to harm. We present these findings in protest of the way in which they were acquired.
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.