Researchers at Western University have identified a molecule found in oranges and tangerines that could hold the key to reversing obesity and regressing plaque build-up in arteries.

The molecule, called nobiletin, was given to mice that were fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet. The result was increased leanness and reduced levels of insulin resistance in the nobiletin-treated mice as compared with those that did not receive nobiletin.

Despite the impressive study results, researchers are stumped as to why the nobiletin works. One hypothesis is that the molecule acts on the pathway regulating how the body handles fat. The regulator, called AMP Kinase, prompts the body to burn fats to produce energy and blocks the manufacture of fats. However, the effects of nobiletin were evident even in mice that had been genetically modified to remove AMP Kinase.

Although the mechanism behind nobiletin remains a mystery, the fact that the molecule does not interfere with drugs that affect AMP Kinase is important because medications to treat diabetes, such as metformin, work through the pathway.

Studies in humans will help determine if the effects demonstrated in mice can be translated to human subjects. If so, the discovery could open the door to the development of new therapeutics to reduce obesity and its burden on the health-care system.

More from IFT right arrow

Regulatory hurdles for cell-based meat; Fermented foods lower inflammation

News about food science research, food companies, food regulations, and consumer/marketplace trends

Saluting IFT Division Competition Winners

Hundreds of research papers were submitted to compete in 2021 IFT Division oral competitions. The first-, second-, and third-place winners are as follows.

SnapDNA is the 2021 IFTNEXT Food Disruptor

Rapid pathogen detection developer SnapDNA wins the 2021 IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge.

Lisa Dyson’s Mission to Make Air-Based Meat—and Why It Matters So Much

A question-and-answer interview with Lisa Dyson about Air Protein, climate change, food security and more.

Latest News right arrow

A low-carb diet may lower the risk of blinding eye disease

Following a long-term diet that’s low in carbohydrates and high in fat and protein from vegetables may reduce the risk of the most common subtype of glaucoma, according to a study published in Eye-Nature.

FDA announces qualified health claim for cranberry products and urinary tract infections

The U.S. FDA has announced in a letter of enforcement discretion that it does not intend to object to the use of certain qualified health claims regarding consuming certain cranberry products and a reduced risk of recurrent urinary tract infection in healthy women.

Call to action for stronger, better-funded federal nutrition research

According to a group of research, policy, and government experts, the United States needs to strengthen and increase funding for federal nutrition research and improve cross-governmental coordination in order to accelerate discoveries, grow the economy, and—most importantly—improve public health, food/nutrition security, and population resilience.

U.S. Dietary Guidelines Committee recommends lowering added sugar consumption

The 2020 DGAC revisited the topic of added sugars and concluded that a more appropriate target to help mitigate cardiovascular disease and obesity is to lower the number to 6% of energy from added sugars for the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

USDA releases the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s final report

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has posted the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s final scientific report, an objective review of the latest available science on specific nutrition topics.