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Benefits of flavanol supplementation in reducing obesity-related inflammation


Researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and The Ohio State University evaluated the preventive effects of grape seed and pine bark flavonol supplementation in the context of a high-fat diet. Their findings were published in the journal of Nutrition Research.

  • Weight gain and obesity are linked to increased levels of pro-inflammatory molecules inside the body.
  • According to studies, dietary flavanols can reduce the severity of metabolic conditions caused by a high-fat (HF) diet.
  • The degree of polymerization of flavanols is said to play a role in determining the extent of their protective effects.
  • To evaluate this, the researchers gave mice on a HF diet 35 milligrams per kilogram body weight (mg/kg) grape seed or pine bark daily for 13 weeks. They compared their body weights with those of mice fed a low-fat diet and control mice on a HF diet.
  • All the flavanol-supplemented groups and the HF control gained a significant amount of weight compared to the lean control, with the grape seed group gaining significantly more weight than the HF control. The researchers attributed this to hyperphagia.
  • Despite lack of improvements to weight gain and glycemic control, the researchers observed that all flavanol-treated groups had reduced interleukin-6 levels compared to HF control.
  • The grape seed group, which gained the most weight, also exhibited the lowest levels of interleukin-6.
  • Low-dose flavanol extract supplementation, regardless of mean degrees of polymerization, reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine production despite increased weight gain.

Based on these results, the researchers concluded that the obesity-independent effects of flavanol supplementation can be used as a complementary intervention to ameliorate increased inflammation in obese and diabetic patients. They also believe that flavanol-induced hyperphagia can help attenuate cachexia.

Journal Reference:

Griffin LE, Fausnacht DW, Tuzo JL, Addington AK, Racine KC, Zhang H, Hughes MD, England KM, Bruno RS, Okeefe SF, et al. FLAVANOL SUPPLEMENTATION PROTECTS AGAINST OBESITY-ASSOCIATED INCREASES IN SYSTEMIC INTERLEUKIN-6 LEVELS WITHOUT INHIBITING BODY MASS GAIN IN MICE FED A HIGH-FAT DIET. Nutrition Research. June 2019;66:32–47. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2019.03.011

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