Disease Fighting Tangerines

Nobiletin may prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Tangerines are not just deliciously sweet fruits, they are also good for you. New research shows that tangerines can help protect against obesity and other health problems.

Researchers at the University of Ontario set out to study the effects of nobiletin, a substance found in tangerines.

They found that nobiletin prevents obesity, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis - a disease that leads to heart attacks and stroke.

"Tangerines protects against obesity and type 2 diabetes."

According to Murray Huff, a vascular biology scientist at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, this study opens doors for future studies to see if nobiletin is an effective treatment for metabolic syndrome - the group of conditions that increase risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

For their study, Huff and Ph.D. student Erin Mulvihill looked at the effects of nobiletin on two groups of mice. The first group was fed a diet high in fats and simple sugars. The second group ate the same diet but with the addition of nobiletin.

Mice in the first group became obese and developed all the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including high cholesterol and triglycerides, high levels of blood sugar and insulin, and a fatty liver. These symptoms increased their risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The second group, on the other hand, showed good results. These mice did not show any signs of metabolic syndrome. They gained weight normally, and became more sensitive to insulin - which lowers blood sugar and decreases the risk of diabetes. Nobiletin also prevented fat buildup in the liver.

Huff's past research uncovered a substance in grapefruit - called naringenin - that similarly protected against obesity and metabolic syndrome.

However, he says, this new study shows that nobiletin is not only 10 times stronger than naringenin, but it also protects against astherosclerosis - a disease when plaque collects along the walls of arteries, putting people at risk of heart attack and stroke.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 7, 2011
Last Updated:
April 8, 2011