Posted on Jul 03, 2020, 5 p.m.
Native to China, white mulberry is well known and long used in traditional medicines as tinctures for toothache, remedies for colds and flus, as a mild laxative, and as a treatment for dizziness, high blood pressure, and diabetes according to historical texts.
In modern society the fruit and leaves of the mulberry tree are used to make supplements that may help to lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The fruits and leaves along with the tree bark together have been studied for potential uses due to their cardiovascular and metabolic health benefits.
A recent study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food identified the root bark of white mulberry as being an excellent source of appetite suppressing flavonoids. The report describes the investigation of the active compounds present in white mulberry root bark extract and the ability to induce weight loss by reduced food intake. Two flavonoids were found to trigger appetite suppression, in particular they functioned as cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonists, and may be a promising natural medicine for obesity.
The prevalence of obesity continues to increase on a global basis. Studies suggest that controlling the appetite of those with obesity is a potential strategy for inducing weight loss and reversing metabolic dysfunction. This study screened over 8,000 plants for CB1 receptor antagonists in an attempt to find an effective appetite suppressor from natural sources.
CB1 is part of the endocannabinoid system that regulates and balances a range of processes such as immune response, cell communication, memory, metabolism, and appetite. This receptor is activated by natural cannabinoids including the brain chemical anandamide, and it helps to turn functions in the brain and body on/off.
Studies indicate that high amounts of endocannabinoids are produced in the brains of obese rodents, similarly in hungry non-obese rodents the levels are elevated and only return to normal when they are satiated; findings suggest that inhibiting the activity of endocannabinoids with the help of CB1 antagonists may result in appetite regulation.
White mulberry was identified as a potential source of CB1 receptor antagonists after a phytochemical analysis revealed kuwanon G and albanin G compounds which were isolated for further analysis that showed these two flavonoids to have 92% and 96% CB1 receptor ligand binding inhibitory activity, respectively.
The appetite suppressing activity was then tested on rats that were given 250mg and 500mg of white mulberry extract per kg of body weight. Obese mice were also given the same doses for seven weeks to evaluate the ability to reduce food intake and induce weight loss. Statistically significant and dose dependent reduction in food intake were observed in the rodents after short and long term supplementation at 250 mg/kg body weight, reducing food intake by 58.6% one hour post food provision and 44.8% two hours post food provision. While at doses of 500 mg/kg body weight food intake was reduced 50.1% one hour post food provision and 44.3% two hours post food provision.
Obese mice were observed to have a 20% reduction in daily caloric intake; those given white mulberry extract experienced 22.5% and 16.5% weight loss at week 7 baseline, respectively. Benefits were observed together with significant reductions in the biochemical markers of obesity and visceral fat deposits.
The researchers concluded that white mulberry extract could be used to control appetite, manage body weight, and reverse metabolic disturbances in those with obesity based on their findings.
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