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Brassica campestris extract protects against overweight

An alcohol extract of the roots of Brassica campestris Chinese cabbage prevents mice from becoming fat if you put them on a fattening diet. Researchers at the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology think this is because the extract upregulates the beta-3-adrenoreceptor in the fat cells.

Brassica campestris extract protects against overweight
The researchers were screening plant extracts for their obesity inhibiting effects, and while doing so stumbled across the roots of Brassica campestris. In this study they mixed 50 mg of the extract with a kilogram of fat-rich food and got mice to eat this mixture for 8 weeks [EBR]. A control groups was given fat-rich food only [HFD], and a second control group was given normal food [RD].

A fourth group of mice was given fat-rich food containing orlistat by way of comparison. Orlistat inhibits the uptake of fat by the gut.

The figure below shows that the plant extract works just as well as orlistat.

Brassica campestris extract protects against overweight

The production of the beta-3adrenoreceptor increased in the white fat cells of the EBR mice, the researchers discovered. This is a receptor that is stimulated by adrenalin and similar compounds. Which is probably why the fat cells produced more of the enzyme hormone-sensitive lipase. [HSL] This enzyme makes the fat cells release their stored fat into the bloodstream.

What's also interesting is that the extract inhibited the production of TNF-alpha. TNF-alpha makes fat cells grow faster.

Brassica campestris extract protects against overweight

Brassica campestris extract protects against overweight

In tests they did with fat cells, the researchers noticed that the fat cells released more glycerol [a marker for the release of fatty acids into the bloodstream], the higher the concentration of the Brassic campestris extract. This effect disappeared when they added propranolol, a substance that blocks all beta-adrenoreceptors.

The Koreans think they are on to something interesting. "Our results implicate the ethanolic extract of Brassica campestris as having potential as a safe and effective botanically derived compound in the treatment of obesity", they write.

J Med Food. 2010 Apr; 13 (2): 406-14.

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