The trendy fruit camu camu could boost weight loss, new research suggests.
When given to mice being fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet, the rodents gained 50 per cent less weight than those not eating the Amazonian berry, according to an eight-week study published in the journal Gut.
The researchers, from Laval University, Québec, believe camu camu extract may boost a rodent’s metabolism while it rests, leading to weight loss, with the same effects potentially occurring in humans.
The large berry, which looks a bit like a red grape, may also combat heart disease and diabetes, with results further suggesting the fruit improves mice’s blood-sugar levels and improves their insulin resistance.
Camu camu, which contains 60 times more vitamin C than an orange and five times as many antioxidants as a serving of blueberries, is available as a supplement in the UK from just £6 for 60 capsules.
The trendy fruit camu camu could boost weight loss, new research suggests (stock)
CAN SUPPLEMENTS BURN AS MUCH FAT AS EXERCISE?
A blackcurrant-extract supplement can burn as much fat as four weeks of regular exercise, research suggested in May 2018.
When taken twice a day for just one week, the vitamin increases fat burning by an average of 27 per cent, with one study participant achieving a rise of 55 per cent.
Known as CurraNZ, the supplement is made from New Zealand blackcurrants and costs £21.75 for a pack of 30.
The berries contain nutrients, called polyphenols, which are thought to encourage fat burning during exercise by increasing blood flow, according to the researchers.
Study author Dr Sam Shepherd, from Liverpool John Moores University, said: ‘Seven days is not a very long time to see such big changes.
‘Anything above 20 per cent is typically what we expect to see with three-to-four weeks of regular endurance exercise training.’
This follows previous research that found the same supplement increases fat burning by around 21 per cent in active men.
Dr Shepherd said: ‘It was positive to see that the effects of blackcurrants on fat burning extend to females, especially since women already have a greater reliance on fat as a fuel compared to men.’
The researchers believe their findings may also benefit people with obesity or type 2 diabetes.
Dr Shepherd said: ‘Unhealthy people have a reduced capacity for fat burning compared to healthy people and therefore, in theory, the supplement could potentially exert at least a similar or greater effect in unhealthy individuals.’
How the research was carried out
The researchers analysed overweight mice in the lab.
For eight weeks, the rodents were fed either a high-fat, high-sugar or a low-fat, low-sugar diet.
Half of the animals receiving the high-fat, high-sugar diet were also given camu camu extract.
Improved blood sugar levels and lowered inflammation
Results suggest that the mice fed camu camu extract gained 50 per cent less weight than the rodents eating the same high-fat, high-sugar diet.
In addition, the animals eating camu camu had healthier blood sugar levels, decreased insulin resistance and less gut inflammation.
Insulin resistance is the reduced ability of cells to respond to the hormone, which transports glucose out of the bloodstream and is associated with the onset of type 2 diabetes.
‘Camu camu has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential’
Speaking of the findings, study author Dr André Marette said: ‘The consumption of fruits is strongly associated with better health and higher bacterial diversity in the gut microbiota.
‘Camu camu is an Amazonian fruit with a unique phytochemical profile, strong antioxidant potential and purported anti-inflammatory potential.’
The researchers noticed the mice receiving the camu camu experienced changes to their gut bacteria.
Dr Marette added: ‘All these changes were accompanied by a reshaping of the intestinal microbiota, including a blooming of A. muciniphila and a significant reduction in Lactobacillus bacteria.’
The scientists therefore transferred gut bacteria from the mice who were fed camu camu into the intestines of germ-free rodents.
This partially and temporarily caused the latter animals to experience the same weight loss, blood sugar, insulin resistance and gut inflammation benefits as the mice who ate the berry.
The researchers stress it is unclear if camu camu causes weight loss or any other of the aforementioned benefits in humans, which they plan to investigate next.