New research conducted on mice suggests that flavanols, found in particular in cocoa, may help burn body fat. Cocoa, apple, grapeseed, red wine and a few other food sources contain high levels of flavanols (FL), also known as flavan-3-ols, which have been linked to certain health benefits. health.
Previous studies suggest that FL-rich foods have significant potential in managing cardiovascular health, improving cholesterol levels and increasing tolerance to glucose. Today, using mouse models, scientists have investigated the relationship between dietary FL intake and fat metabolism. The study results reveal new clues that could one day become beneficial treatments for cardiovascular and obesity-related diseases.
Flavanols (FL), also known as the name of flavan-3-ols, are among the most consumed flavonoids in the modern diet. These compounds are found in various foods, beverages, whole and processed foods, and herbal dietary supplements.
Several studies show that consumption of FL-rich foods confers antioxidant properties , anticarcinogenic, cardiopreventive, antimicrobial, antiviral and neuroprotective. However, the exact mechanism of action by which LFs exert their protective functions has long eluded scientists.
Recently, Japanese researchers have undertaken to enrich the body of scientific knowledge on FL. Using mouse models, they investigated the ability of ingested FL to turn white adipose tissue brown.
Adipose tissue, or body fat, is an essential organ for maintaining energy homeostasis of the body. It is made up of white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue. While white adipose tissue acts as an energy store, brown adipose tissue is important for maintaining body temperature. Scientists call the phenomenon of turning white adipose tissue into brown adipose tissue fat browning. Here, white fatty tissues that store energy turn into brown fatty tissues that break down sugar and fat molecules in the blood.
This is a therapeutic event important because the accumulation of excess white adipose tissue is linked to obesity and the development of cardiovascular disease. In addition, the conversion process also generates heat, which helps maintain body temperature.
The results of their research are published in the journal Nutrients.
The researchers conducted two sets of independent experiments.
In the first experiment, the scientists divided the animals randomly into two treatment groups. One of the groups received a single dose of cocoa-derived FL diet, while the other group, which did not receive a high FL diet, served as a control. For both groups, the research team collected urine samples from 14 hours. This was done to measure the effects of pre- and post-oral administration of the control diet and the FL-rich diet, respectively, on catecholamine (CA) levels.
For the second experiment, the researchers also divided the animals into two treatment groups. One group was repeatedly fed a diet rich in cocoa-derived FL for 14 days, while the other group was not fed the FL-rich diet served as a control. At the end of the treatment period, the researchers removed white and brown fatty tissue from both groups. They did this to study the long-term effects of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity on the structure and function of these tissues.
A surprising result
The researchers write that parts of their previous study inspired this new study. Previously, they observed that a single oral dose of a FL-rich diet induced a stress response in animals. This reaction in turn led to the activation of the SNS and a significant increase in catecholamine levels.
Catecholamines (CA), such as dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine, are released by the SNS during stressful events and they help manage the body’s response (fight or flight) to these events. In this study, the researchers concluded that an increase in CA levels can be used to assess SNS activity.
Therefore, when another study showed that the SNS activation induces fat browning, the researchers set out to test FLs further. In the first experiment, researchers found that over 14 hours, the amount of CA excreted by the control group was almost similar before and after ingesting the diet witness. However, they noticed that a single dose of a FL-rich diet in the test group resulted in a significant increase in CA levels over 14 hours.
For the second experiment, the team noticed an increase in the expression of browning protein markers in the brown adipose tissues of FL-fed animals. In addition, they also observed that in response to SNS activation, beige adipose tissue developed in white adipose tissue.
These findings led the team to research to conclude that oral administration of FL activated the SNS and was associated with fat browning. Surprisingly, they also found that “the effect of flavan 3-ols manifested not only in subcutaneous fat but also in visceral fat.
This finding is important because excess visceral fat increases the risk of developing obesity. Therefore, LFs may open new avenues of investigation and new potential treatments for cardiovascular and obesity-related diseases.
Repeated Oral Administration of Flavan-3-ols Induces Browning in Mice Adipose Tissues through Sympathetic Nerve Activation
Flavan-3-ols: nature, occurrence and biological activity
Single oral administration of flavan 3-ols induces stress responses monitored with stress hormone elevations in the plasma and paraventricular nucleus
Nutrition epidemiology of flavan-3-ols: The known unknowns
Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in an accessible language to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a health professional.
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