Researchers in Korea said their findings — published in the Journal of Medicinal Food — supported previous reports regarding the anti-obesity effects of yerba mate, and suggested that it may be a useful natural candidate for weight management, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and hepatic steatosis.
The researchers compared measurements of weight gain / loss, energy expenditure, gene expression in fat tissue, lipid levels in the blood, liver and faeces, and blood insulin levels in mice with diet-induced obesity.
The control group was fed a high-fat diet (HFD), while the second group was given a HFD plus yerba mate.
"Dietary yerba mate increased energy expenditure and thermogenic gene mRNA expression in white adipose tissue (WAT) and decreased fatty acid synthase (FAS) mRNA expression in WAT, which may be linked to observed decreases in body weight, WAT weight, epididymal adipocyte size, and plasma leptin level," wrote the researchers.
"Yerba mate also decreased levels of plasma lipids (free fatty acids, triglycerides, and total cholesterol) and liver aminotransferase enzymes, as well as the accumulation of hepatic lipid droplets and lipid content."
Moreover, yerba mate decreased plasma insulin levels and improved glucose tolerance.
These findings suggest that long-term supplementation of dietary yerba mate may be beneficial for improving diet-induced adiposity, insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia, and hepatic steatosis, they wrote.
However, further studies are needed to determine the maximum tolerated dose of oral yerba mate powder. In this study, the mice were supplemented with 400mg/kg of body weight.
"Obesity and diabetes have become problems that can't be managed by pharmaceuticals alone. This study suggests a safe alternative to managing weight and reducing blood lipids and glucose," said Journal of Medicinal Food editor-in-chief Sampath Parthasarathy.
Source: Journal of Medicinal Food
"Long-Term Dietary Supplementation with Yerba Mate Ameliorates Diet-Induced Obesity and Metabolic Disorders in Mice by Regulating Energy Expenditure and Lipid Metabolism"
Authors: Choi Myung-Sook, et al.