Scientists say this popular breakfast drink could reverse obesity

Vitamin C likely enjoys the most robust relationship with immunization.

There is a multitude of ways to absorb the nutrient, though a new study published in the Journal of Lipid Research highlights orange juice as a particularly impactful source.

Thanks to a unique molecule called nobiletin, just two glasses of OJ a day can dramatically reverse negative obesity-induced outcomes and even decrease an individual’s risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). 

“Obesity, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance, the increasingly common metabolic syndrome, are risk factors for CVD and type 2 diabetes that warrants novel therapeutic interventions,” the authors write in the new paper.  In mice fed a high-fat diet, nobiletin robustly prevented obesity, hepatic steatosis, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance, and it improved energy expenditure. These studies further underscore the therapeutic potential of nobiletin and begin to clarify possible mechanisms.”

Although the molecule was initially presumed to be affecting pathways that influence energy conversion, further analysis determined this not to be the case. This followup did, however, yield evidence suggesting nobiletin would not interfere with clinical treatment for metabolic disorders.

Citrus and metabolic dysregulation

The researchers began with a crop of mouse models. Half of the rodents were given a high-cholesterol, calorically dense diet alongside a daily nobiletin supplement regimen while the other half of the study pool were put on high-fat diets without any further augmentation. 

Mice routinely given nobiletin retained their slim figures despite their high-calorie intake. Conversely, mice in the control group not only gained weight quicker than the mice belonging to the experiment group they also developed an excess of blood fats and evidenced increased insulin resistance.  These are both reliable bio-predictors of CVD and diabetes in humans. 

“We went on to show that we can also intervene with nobiletin. We‘ve shown that in mice that already have all the negative symptoms of obesity, we can use nobelitin to reverse those symptoms, and even start to regress plaque build-up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis,” explained Murray Huff, a professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, in a press release“This result told us that nobiletin is not acting on AMP Kinase, and is bypassing this major regulator of how fat is used in the body,” Huff comments. “What it still leaves us with is the question – how is nobiletin doing this?

The researchers are unsure of how long the mechanisms activated by the sweet citrus flavonoid will remain unknown, but the effect was successfully replicated over multiple trials. 

The authors are fairly confident that their finds will be translatable to some degree in human subjects but further testing needs to be done.

As it stands, tangerines and oranges contain the highest concentrations of nobiletin, and both have been shown to reduce cancer risk, boost heart health, and prevent the development of degenerative maladies brought on by advanced age. 

“Obesity and its resulting metabolic syndromes are a huge burden to our health care system, and we have very few interventions that have been shown to work effectively,” Huff concludes. “We need to continue this emphasis on the discovery of new therapeutics.”