Mulberry extracts show weight management potential

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

Mulberry extracts show weight management potential
Anthocyanin-rich extracts from mulberry may prevent weight gain associated with a high fat diet, suggests new data from a lab animal study.

Feeding lab mice a high fat diet led to a 45% gain in weight, compared to control animals fed a low fat diet. However, supplementing the high fat diet with mulberry anthocyanins reduced weight gain by 12%, according to findings published in Food Chemistry​.

In addition, a higher dose of mulberry anthocyanins reduced weight gain by 21%, report researchers from Zhejiang University in China.

The study adds to an ever growing body of research supporting the potential health benefits of berries and their extracts, with the majority of the science focusing on the ‘big five’ berries, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

As noted by the Chinese researchers, previous studies have indicated weight management potential for anthocyanins from strawberries (elargonidin-3-glucoside) and blueberries (malvidin-3-glucoside and delphinidin-3-glucoside). The new study focused on mulberry anthocyanins, with the predominant compounds identified as cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside.

“If purified, [mulberry anthocyanins] can be administrated into [a high fat diet], body weight gain could be attenuated, serum cholesterol and leptin levels brought down, and hepatic lipids (total lipid, triacylglycerol and cholesterol) decreased,”​ said the researchers.

In addition, no abnormal clinical signs were recorded during the 12 week study.

Study details

The researchers purified anthocyanins from Chinese mulberry (Morus australis​ Poir) and used to supplement the high fat diet of lab mice at levels of 0, 40, or 200 mg per kg of food for 12 weeks. Another group of mice were fed a low-fat diet to act as controls.

Results showed that both groups supplemented with the mulberry extracts had lower weight gain, reduced insulin resistance, smaller fat cells (adipocytes), as well as other measures.

Interestingly, the researchers note that supplementing the high fat diets with the mulberry anthocyanins did not alter daily food intake.

“These data suggest that a decrease in weight gain induced by mulberry anthocyanins, is irrelevant with decreasing food or calorie intake, and decreasing food efficiency may account for this,” ​they said.

“Based upon the data available, cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside may contribute to suppress body weight gain, but the specific impact of anthocyanin on the development of obesity is still unknown and further investigation is needed.”

Source: Food Chemistry
Volume 141, Issue 1, Pages 482-487, doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.03.046
“Dietary supplementation with purified mulberry (​Morus australis Poir) anthocyanins suppresses body weight gain in high-fat diet fed C57BL/6 mice”
Authors: T. Wu, X. Qi, Y. Liu, J. Guo, R. Zhu, W. Chen, X. Zheng, T. Yu

Related topics: Research

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