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Molecule in oranges and tangerines reverses obesity

Oranges and tangerines contain a molecule that combats obesity. The compound also reduces levels of insulin resistance – one of the first stages of type 2 diabetes – and fats in the blood that can cause heart disease.

The ‘miracle molecule’ is nobiletin – but even after studying it for over a decade, researchers from the University of Western Ontario admit they still don’t know how it works.

They’ve tested it on laboratory mice that had been fed a diet rich in cholesterol and fat – and discovered it reversed the mice’s obesity. The animals became noticeably thinner, and they were also less insulin resistant and had lower levels of blood fats that can lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. But it’s a mystery how nobiletin is doing it. The researchers had assumed it was interacting with the way the body handles fat, but it was effective even in mice that had been genetically modified and so were not using those traditional metabolic pathways.


Reference: J Lipid Rs, 2020; 61:387-402

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