(Natural News) Cottonseed oil (CSO) is a commonly used vegetable oil that comes from the seeds of cotton plants. In its refined form, it can be used for cooking, in extending the shelf life of certain foods, and as a natural remedy for skin problems. Recently, American researchers discovered that CSO also has the potential to prevent fatty liver disease. In their study, which appeared in the journal Nutrition Research, they tested CSO to evaluate its effect on enzymes involved in the metabolism of fat in the liver.
The researchers used male mice for the experiment. They hypothesized that increasing polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake would increase peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPAR-delta) expression and activity. CSO happens to be a PUFA-enriched oil, and it contains dihydrosterculic acid (DHSA), a fatty acid unique to it which boasts some health benefits. The researchers also examined the effect of PUFA-enriched oils on muscle PPARdelta expression in mice. (Related: Preventing liver damage with the henna plant.)
For their study, they fed the mice either chow, CSO-enriched diets, saturated fat (SFA)-enriched diets, or linoleic acid-enriched diets for four weeks. Linoleic acid is an unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that is also present in plant oils. It can lower the risk of heart disease if consumed instead of saturated fats. On the other hand, saturated fats, together with trans fats, are known as unhealthy fats and are often solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are present in foods like butter, cheese, palm oil, and red meat.
DHSA in cottonseed oil upregulates PPAR-delta expression in the liver
The researchers observed that mice that were fed a CSO-enriched diet did not differ from mice that were fed chow in terms of food intake, body weight, fasting glucose, glucose tolerance, and energy expenditure. Mice who received a SFA-enriched diet and a linoleic acid-enriched diet, however, had increased fat mass and displayed low glucose tolerance.
With regard to PPAR-delta expression in the muscles, mice who ate a CSO-enriched diet displayed no changes in expression. However, PPAR-delta expression was elevated in their livers together with its transcriptional coactivator Pgc-1. PPAR-delta is a transcription factor involved in the regulation of genes related to fatty acid oxidation (metabolism), cholesterol metabolism, and thermogenesis (heat production).
DHSA in cottonseed oil inhibits denaturase activity in the liver
When researchers performed metabolic analyses, they found that the livers of CSO-fed mice also did not differ from those of the chow-fed mice, but both significantly differed from the livers of SFA-fed mice and linoleic acid-fed mice. Furthermore, the CSO-fed mice exhibited low liver desaturase activity, which, according to the researchers, was due to the presence of DHSA. DHSA helps prevent the accumulation of triglycerides in the body. It also makes the body burn fat that it cannot store properly.
The researchers reported that DHSA alone had the same effect on PPAR-delta expression and stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 activity. Denaturase activity is associated with metabolic risk markers and plays a crucial role in obesity. Loss of stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 function in mice, on the other hand, confers protection against adiposity, according to another study.
These results suggest that CSO’s ability to prevent liver disease may have to do with its unique component, DHSA. The researchers believe that because it contains DHSA, CSO can be used to increase PPAR-delta expression and lower liver stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 activity to prevent liver disease.
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