Ginseng extract offers potential anti-obesity strategy, study says


An extract from ginseng, an herb commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, may reduce obesity through brown adipose tissue activation, according to a new study published in the journal Gut.

Overweight and obesity have become severe public health problems around the world. Current anti-obesity strategies are mainly aimed at restricting calorie intake and absorption. The new study suggests that burning energy by activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) might be an alternative strategy for combating obesity.

In the study, mice were given ginseng extract and the effects on gut microbiota were evaluated using 16S rDNA-based high throughput sequencing. To confirm the candidate fatty acids, researchers performed untargeted metabolomics analyses of the serum and medium samples.

The researchers found that ginseng extract can induce Enterococcus faecalis, which can produce an unsaturated long-chain fatty acid (LCFA) myristoleic acid (MA). Additionally, the results indicate that E. faecalis and its metabolite MA can reduce adiposity by BAT activation and beige fat formation.

Previous studies have shown that BAT facilitates weight control and generates a potent anti-obesity effect. Therefore, increasing BAT activity could be a novel and effective therapeutic approach for obesity and its related diseases, according to Jin Wanzhu, PhD, lead author of the study and a scientist at the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China.

"This study demonstrates the important role of MA in reducing obesity and improving related metabolic syndrome, as well as its tremendous application prospects," said Jin.