(Natural News) Having small amounts of fat in the liver is normal. However, too much of it can lead to fatty liver disease, damaging the liver and stopping it from working normally as it should. Because the liver plays an important role in many bodily functions, keeping it healthy is essential. A study published in the journal Nutrition Research suggested that five-flavor fruit (Schisandra chinensis) — also referred to as magnolia berry — can be used to prevent fatty liver.
Carried out by researchers from Korea Food Research Institute and the University of Science & Technology in South Korea, the study looked at the effects of five-flavor fruit extract on fatty liver both in animal and lab tests. The research team hypothesized that fatty liver could be reduced by the hypolipidemic activity of five-flavor fruit extract through the inhibition of histone acetyltransferase (HAT).
To test this hypothesis, the team treated HepG2 cells — human liver cancer cell lines — with five-flavor fruit extract. The results revealed that the treatment with five-flavor fruit extract reduced oleic acid-induced lipid accumulation. In addition, it also attenuated HAT activity.
The team also conducted in vivo tests, in which they fed obese mice either with a low-fat diet or Western diet, known to be high in fat. Then, they supplemented the obese mice with five-flavor fruit extract. The researchers found that supplementing with the extract reduced the body and liver weights of mice. The five-flavor fruit extract treatment also reduced liver fat accumulation and lipogenic gene expression and inhibited HAT activity.
Based on these findings, the research team concluded that five-flavor fruit extract may be used to prevent fatty liver disease.
Today, fatty liver disease affects almost one-third of adults in the U.S. and is one of the leading contributors to liver failure. (Related: Negative effects of acetaminophen may be reduced with magnolia berry.)
In addition to taking five-flavor fruit extract, you can also lower your risk of fatty liver disease by:
- Adhering to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber plants like legumes and whole grains, and little to no added sugar, salt, trans fat, refined carbohydrates, or saturated fat
- Engaging in physical activity
- Limiting your alcohol intake or abstaining from it
- Maintaining a healthy weight
More about five-flavor fruit
The five-flavor plant is a vine that bears purple-red berries. These berries have five tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, and sour – hence the name “five-flavor” fruit. This fruit-bearing vine is used for many health benefits. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to enhance heart, lung, and kidney health. Scientific evidence also shows that it can be used for the following health conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease: In a study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, researchers found that schisandrin B, an active compound of five-flavor fruit, positively affected Alzheimer’s disease. They found that schisandrin B blocked the formation of excess amyloid beta peptides which are responsible for forming amyloid plaque – a substance found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Aside from Alzheimer’s, schisandrin B may also be effective against Parkinson’s disease, according to another study. This is because of the fruit’s anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects on microglial cells in the brain.
- Menopause: One study in Climacteric assessed the effects of five-flavor fruit extract on 36 women with menopausal symptoms for a year and found that it reduced menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, sweating, and heart palpitations.
- Stress and depression: Research also revealed that five-flavor fruit provides mental health benefits. In animal studies, researchers found that the plant’s extract exhibited an antidepressant effect on mice. Other studies also found that it may have adaptogenic properties, which help the body resist the effects of anxiety and stress, as well as boost the body’s immunity.
Five-flavor fruit is available in dried form or as juice. It is also sold as a supplement in various forms: dried powder, pills, extracts, and elixirs.