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The red pitaya (dragon fruit) found to protect against obesity


Red pitaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus), a variant of dragon fruit, has been found to provide beneficial effects against obesity. The study, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, provided scientific evidence on how red pitaya protects against obesity.

  • Researchers at Universiti Putra Malaysia in Malaysia analyzed the red pitaya-targeted genes in obesity by using high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-induced metabolic syndrome mouse model.
  • The current study stems from an earlier research conducted by the same team, in which they found that red pitaya supplementation improves liver and cardiovascular damage induced by high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet; they also found that red pitaya supplementation increases energy intake without increasing body weight.
  • Thus, the researchers hypothesized that red pitaya may promote anorectic genes or down-regulate orexigenic genes to increase energy expenditure.
  • For the study, a total of four mice groups were examined: corn starch group; cornstarch and red pitaya juice group; high-carbohydrate, high-fat group; high-carbohydrate, high-fat, and red pitaya juice group.
  • The treatment with five percent red pitaya juice went on for eight weeks after the first eight weeks of the diet.
  • Then, the researchers collected and weighed the mice’ retroperitoneal, epididymal, and omental fat pads.
  • They also measured plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin 6 (IL-6) and Tumor necrosis factor alpha.
  • In addition, they conducted gene expression analysis and analyzed a total of 84 genes related to obesity.
  • Results revealed that mice that received red pitaya juice supplementation for eight weeks experienced increases in omental and epididymal fat.
  • Red pitaya juice also reversed the changes in energy balance homeostasis in liver tissues by regulating expression levels of proopiomelanocortin (Pomc) and insulin receptor (an anorectic gene). Pomc is essential for central regulation of energy balance by reducing food intake and increasing energy expenditure.

The findings of the study revealed that genetic mechanisms play a key role in determining body weight by controlling energy balance homeostasis.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

To read more stories on natural remedies for weight management, visit Detox.news today.

Journal Reference:

Ramli NS, Ismail P, Rahmat A. RED PITAYA JUICE SUPPLEMENTATION AMELIORATES ENERGY BALANCE HOMEOSTASIS BY MODULATING OBESITY-RELATED GENES IN HIGH-CARBOHYDRATE, HIGH-FAT DIET-INDUCED METABOLIC SYNDROME RATS. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 26 July 2016; 16(243). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1200-3



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