Mulberry extract shows anti-obesity promise by activating brown fat

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Rutin from mulberry significantly reduced adiposity. ©iStock
Rutin from mulberry significantly reduced adiposity. ©iStock
Research from China suggests that rutin extracted from mulberries acts as an activator of brown adipose tissue (BAT) to facilitate weight loss.

The research, published in The FASEB Journal​, suggests that the natural compound in can increase metabolism, thereby opening up the possibility of it being used to tackle obesity.

"The beneficial effects of rutin on BAT-mediated metabolic improvement have evoked a substantial interest in the potential treatment for obesity and its related diseases, such as diabetes,"​ said Wan-Zhu Jin, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China.

"In line with this idea, discovery of more safe and effective BAT activators is desired to deal with obesity and its related diseases."

To make their discovery, Jin and colleagues used both genetically obese mice and mice with diet-induced obesity as models.

These mice were fed a regular diet, and supplemental rutin (1 mg/ml) was added to their drinking water. Rutin treatment significantly reduced adiposity, increased energy expenditure, and improved glucose homeostasis in both the genetically obese mice and the mice with diet-induced obesity.

The paper states: “In this study, rutin, a natural compound extracted from mulberry and a drug used as a capillary stabilizer clinically for many years without any side effects, regulated whole-body energy metabolism by enhancing BAT activity.

Novel molecule

“Rutin treatment significantly reduced adiposity, increased energy expenditure, and improved glucose homeostasis in both genetically obese and diet-induced obesity mice. Rutin also induced brown-like adipocyte (beige) formation in subcutaneous adipose tissue in both obesity mouse models.

“These findings reveal that rutin is a novel small molecule that activates BAT and may provide a novel therapeutic approach to the treatment of metabolic disorders.”

According to Thoru Pederson, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal, ​unlike hibernating animals, humans have only a small spot of brown fat, and its importance in human metabolism has only recently come into view.

"In this study, the philosophy of ancient Chinese medicine's exploitation of plant materials has conjoined in the modern era with a very able physiology research team to evoke a promising lead,"​ he added.

Source: FASEB


“Rutin ameliorates obesity through brown fat activation.”

Authors: Wanzhu Jin, et al

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