Sea Buckthorn Extract Improves Fat-Related Health Issues in Mice

Jenn Hoskins
7th April, 2024

Sea Buckthorn Extract Improves Fat-Related Health Issues in Mice

Image Source: David Kanigan (photographer)

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University found that Sea Buckthorn polyphenols can help fight liver fat
  • The study identified new potential biomarkers for early detection of liver-related metabolic disorders
  • Four polyphenols in Sea Buckthorn were shown to directly target and inhibit a fat-producing enzyme in the liver
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition characterized by excessive fat accumulation in the liver, is a growing health concern worldwide, affecting over a billion people[2]. It's closely linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders[3]. While the liver naturally contains some fat, an imbalance in the body's lipid metabolism can lead to NAFLD, which can progress to more serious conditions like nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), liver fibrosis, and even cancer[4][5]. A recent study by researchers at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University[1] has shed new light on a potential therapeutic approach for tackling these metabolic disorders. Their focus was on the effects of Sea Buckthorn polyphenols (SBP) extract, a compound known for its health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Previous research indicated that SBP could inhibit fatty acid synthase (FAS), an enzyme involved in the production of fatty acids in the body. The study's objective was to delve deeper into the potential of SBP to counteract the effects of a long-term high-fat diet (HFD) in mice, which is a common experimental model for studying human metabolic disorders. The researchers employed a comprehensive approach, including targeted quantitative lipidomics, a technique that can identify and quantify a vast array of lipids in the liver. They successfully mapped out 904 unique lipids, which provided a detailed profile of how a high-fat diet can disrupt lipid homeostasis—the balance of lipid production, storage, and breakdown within the liver. Their findings were significant. The study identified new lipid-based biomarkers that could predict the onset and progression of metabolic disorders beyond the current indicators. This could potentially lead to earlier detection and intervention for conditions like NAFLD and NASH. Furthermore, the team used surface plasmon resonance (SPR) assays, a method to study the interactions between molecules, to pinpoint the bioactive components in SBP that target FAS. They discovered that four polyphenols in SBP directly interact with the FAS enzyme, with cinaroside showing a particularly strong affinity. This interaction is key because by targeting FAS, SBP can reprogram the liver's lipid metabolism, thus helping to maintain lipid homeostasis and prevent the lipid accumulation associated with HFD-induced metabolic disorders. This research builds upon earlier studies that have explored the complex balance between lipid storage, degradation, and secretion in the liver[2]. It also ties into the broader understanding of how a state of lipotoxicity, driven by insulin resistance and excessive free fatty acid release from adipose tissue, plays a central role in the progression of liver diseases[3]. By targeting the metabolic pathways involved in lipid accumulation and lipotoxicity, SBP offers a promising avenue for therapeutic intervention[4]. The implications of this study are twofold. First, it underscores the potential of natural compounds like SBP as functional foods that could help manage or prevent metabolic disorders. Second, it provides a scientific basis for the development of new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for diseases such as NAFLD and NASH. In conclusion, the study from Zhejiang Chinese Medical University presents an exciting advancement in our understanding of metabolic disorders and offers hope for new ways to combat the global rise of conditions like NAFLD. By harnessing the power of natural compounds and deepening our knowledge of lipid metabolism, we move closer to effective strategies for maintaining liver health and preventing the progression of metabolic diseases.



Main Study

1) Sea Buckthorn Polyphenols Alleviate High-Fat-Diet-Induced Metabolic Disorders in Mice via Reprograming Hepatic Lipid Homeostasis Owing to Directly Targeting Fatty Acid Synthase.

Published 5th April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Hepatic lipid droplet homeostasis and fatty liver disease.

3) Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: current issues and novel treatment approaches.

4) The Subtle Balance between Lipolysis and Lipogenesis: A Critical Point in Metabolic Homeostasis.

5) Molecular mechanisms of hepatic lipid accumulation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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