According to new research, a compound called naringenin, which is a flavonoid found in citrus fruit, may become a valuable tool in the fight to prevent the onset of metabolic syndrome.
The condition is a combination of medical disorders, such as insulin resistance, that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Researchers at the Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario studied the impact of naringenin supplements and found that they lowered triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and normalized glucose metabolism in animal models.
Murray Huff, director of the Vascular Biology Research Group at Robarts, says the research is unique in that the mice in the supplementation group and in the control group ate exactly the same amount of food and the same amount of fat.
"There was no suppression of appetite or decreased food intake, which are often the basis of strategies to reduce weight gain," he adds.
While grapefruits are a good source of naringenin, the researchers say the amount of the citrus-derived flavonoid needed to produce the desired results is higher than what can be obtained from dietary sources and additional supplementation may be necessary.
The findings were published online in the journal Diabetes.