A tropical plant native to China could be key to beating the obesity epidemic, suggests a new study.
Scientists say the “remarkable” results show that extracts from the species “significantly suppressed” increases in body weight and fat tissue.
They believe their findings indicate the potential of Mallotus furetianus, also known as MFE, as a new food ingredient with anti-obesity properties.
The tropical plant is native to Hainan Island, China.
The multi-national research team had previously conducted a study on the effects of the extract of MFE on the prevention of fatty liver.
But the anti-obesity effects of MFE and its mechanisms had not been explained until now.
Obesity is a major risk factor for several lifestyle diseases, including diabetes and hight blood pressure.
The Health Survey for England 2021 estimates that more than one in four adults (25.9 percent) are clinically obese while a further 37.9per cent are overweight.
The research team set out to verify the anti-obesity effects of MFE extract using obesity model mice.
The findings, published in the journal Food Science and Nutrition, showed that treatment with MFE significantly suppressed the increase in body weight and adipose tissue weight, and also showed morphological changes in the liver and adipose tissue of the mice.
Study leader Professor Akiko Kojima says further investigation into the mechanism revealed that fat synthesis was inhibited by suppressing the expression of several transcription factors involved in “adipocyte differentiation.”
Kojima, of Osaka Metropolitan University in Japan, said: “Our research group is searching for food ingredients with anti-obesity effects, based on the idea that if we can find and incorporate them into our daily diets, we can contribute to people’s health and longevity.”
She added: “These results not only suggest a link between Mallotus furetianus extract and anti-obesity effects but also indicate its potential as a new food ingredient with anti-obesity properties.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker