Carnosic acid animal study: no weight loss but some fat loss
In-vitro studies we've written about recently have shown that carnosic acid, a diterpene found in kitchen herbs, blocks fat from being stored in fat cells. And carnosic acid stimulates the glucose uptake of muscle cells also in test-tube studies. So can carnosic acid help to break down fat tissue and build up muscle tissue? Perhaps it can, we think after reading the animal study that the researchers at Kyoto Pharmaceutical University published in 2004.
Absorbing less fat from food
The Japanese did experiments with methanol extracts [MeOH] of sage, Latin name: Salvia officinalis. They gave the extracts stupidly high doses of them, by the way to mice that had also been given olive oil in their feed. The researchers then noticed that the blood of their lab animals contained less fat scientists prefer to use the word triglycerides [TG] when the mice had been given Salvia officinalis extract.
Because Salvia officinalis contains more bioactive substances than carnosic acid alone the researchers repeated their trials, this time giving the mice carnosic acid only. The figure above shows that even a low dose of 5 mg carnosic acid led to a decrease in fat uptake.
The human equivalent of this dose, for a man weighing 80 kg, would be about 40 mg. And that's a feasible amount to take. Bring on the music please.
Carnosic acid inhibited lipase, an enzyme that helps the body to absorb fat from food.
Body weight and body composition
In another animal study, the Japanese researchers fed a group of mice a fat-enriched diet for two weeks. Some of the animals were also given carnosic acid. The researchers expected that the animals would put on weight because of the extra fat, and that the carnosic acid supplement would inhibit that process. It didn't. That might be because the experiment didnt last long enough. The researchers found almost no significant differences between the groups.
Carnosic acid didn't have a significant effect on the animals' bodyweight, but a low dose did have an interesting effect on fat tissue, as the figure above shows.
Time to go in search of more animal studies.
Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2004 Apr 19;14(8):1943-6.
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