Nutrient in tangerines shown to limit type 2 diabetes risk

The antioxidant nobiletin, which occurs naturally in high levels in tangerines, may help individuals avoid the symptoms of metabolic syndrome and prevent them from developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study from a group of University of Western Ontario researchers.

Their study, which was published in the journal Diabetes, showed that the molecule prevented mice from experiencing elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, impaired glucose tolerance, buildups of fat in the liver and excess weight gain, even when they were fed a high-fat diet. The mice also showed no signs of type 2 diabetes.

Murry Huff, who led the investigation, said that the nobiletin-fed mice were protected from obesity and the side effects that come with the condition. In particular, these mice had a much lower risk of developing atherosclerosis, which occurs when fat builds up in the arteries. Atherosclerosis is known to increase a person's risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. 



For the study, the researchers fed two separate groups of mice a high-fat, Western-style diet that included high levels of simple sugars. The diet of one of these groups was supplemented with nobiletin. These mice had significantly better metabolic health and were much less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.



Huff said that he and his team are considering testing the effects of the nutrient on a group of people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes or other metabolic conditions. Nobiletin appears to be much more potent than other similar antioxidants, and it could provide significant benefits to individuals whose diets increase their risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.

The study confirmed the findings of a 2004 investigation published in the journal Atherosclerosis, which showed that nobiletin may be a potent nutrient for fighting cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
 
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