Generally Morus, a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae, comprises 10–16 species of deciduous trees commonly known as mulberries,growing wild and under cultivation in many temperate world regions. Mulberries are sweet in taste and they are believed to have a wealth of health benefits,including reduced cholesterol, improved blood sugar levels, and lower risk of cancer.
Recently, scientists from China suggest that rutin - a compound naturally present in mulberries - might also help treat obesity.
Obesity has become a significant health concern not only in the United States but also all the developed worldwide. Recent statistics suggested that more than 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 6children and adolescents are obese in the USA, putting them at greater risk of type2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
As lifestyle changes - such as adopting a healthy diet and increasing physical activity - are considered primary strategies for the treatment of obesity, such changes may not be enough for some individuals, highlighting the need for alternative treatment methods.
Research co-author Wan-Zhu Jin,Ph.D., of the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and team set out to investigate the metabolic effects of rutin, with the aim of determining whether the compound might aid weight loss.
How ‘Rutin’ activate brown fat
The research is done on mice. For their research work - published in "The FASEB Journal" - the team added rutin (1 milligram per milliliter) to the drinking water of two groups of mice.
The first group of mice was genetically obese, while the second group had diet-induced obesity. Both mice groups were fed a regular diet throughout the duration of the study.
And it is found that in both groups of mice, rutin was found to activate brown adipose tissue (BAT), or brown fat, which led to increased energy expenditure, better glucose homeostasis - the balance of insulin and glucagon to maintain glucose levels - and fat reduction.
The brown fat is activated by cold,causing it to burn energy and produce heat. According to the researchers, rutin acts as a "cold mimetic" by activating a specific signaling cascade,which increases the activity of a gene called UCP1 and the number of mitochondria in brown fat.
Furthermore, the team found that rutin triggered the formation of brown-like fat cells in subcutaneous adipose tissue - the fat located under the skin - in both mouse models of obesity.
According to their results, Jin and colleagues believe rutin may offer a novel treatment approach to obesity and other conditions associated with excess weight.
"The beneficial effects of rutin on BAT-mediated metabolic improvement have evoked a substantial interest in the potential treatment for obesity and its related diseases, such as diabetes.
In line with this idea, discovery of more safe and effective BAT activators is desired to deal with obesity and its related diseases," says Wan-Zhu Jin, Ph.D.