Valencian researchers have discovered a pigment (carotenoid), present in mandarins and a few other fruits, that helps reduce body fat by 30%. The discovery could have promising applications for the prevention of obesity (not as a replacement for drugs, or as a miracle product to lose weight), so trials with humans are going to start soon.
The study has been carried out in the Parc Científic of the University of Valencia, with the pigment showing its capacity in the worm C. elegans; an invertebrate that shares a high percentage of its genes with humans.
As reported by the academic institution, now tests will be carried out on rodents and humans, and these findings "open the door to a potential development in the agri-food industry, since this carotenoid is just as effective, whether it is ingested directly from the mandarin or extracted from its juice and added to dairy ferments, soft drinks, skimmed milk or juices."
However, this beneficial effect is "preventive and should not be understood as obesity therapy or as a replacement for drugs," stress the researchers who have participated in the study.
Also, the results of this study "delve deeper into the cellular mechanisms that are triggered following its intake, thus opening new opportunities to understand its role in the prevention of diseases related to the metabolic syndrome and ageing," say sources from the IATA and Biopolis.
Beta-cryptoxanthin, which also boosts provitamin A activity, is present in a few foods, including mandarins.