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Amazonian Fruit Could Help Battle Obesity

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The Amazonian forests are home to a shrub, camu-camu, whose fruit could be of great help in the fight against obesity and metabolic diseases. This is suggested by a study published by a research team at Laval University in Gut , the journal of the British Society of Gastroenterology. These researchers demonstrated that taking camu-camu extracts halved weight gain in mice fed a diet rich in sugars and fats.

Camu-camu ( Myrciaria dubia ) grows in the tropical forests of Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia. Its fruits have an exceptional chemical composition, underlines the head of the study, André Marette. In fact, they contain 20 to 30 times more vitamin C than kiwi and 5 times more polyphenols than blackberries. "In our previous work, we have demonstrated the health benefits of some small fruits rich in polyphenols such as cranberries. That's what gave us the idea to test the effects of camu-camu on obesity and metabolic diseases, "says the professor of the Faculty of Medicine.

Researchers submitted two groups of mice to a diet high in sugars and fat for eight weeks. Half of these mice received daily camu-camu extracts. At the end of the experiment, the weight gain in camu-camu mice was 20% of their initial weight, a percentage two times lower than that observed in control mice. The difference between the two groups is explained by an increase in the basic metabolism of the mice receiving the extracts. "The effect of camu-camu is substantial," says Professor Marette. In fact, the weight gain of the mice which received the extracts of this fruit is comparable to that which we observed in another group of mice subjected to an ultra-healthy vegetarian diet. "

The researchers also found that camu-camu improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in mice. In addition, it reduces the concentration of endotoxin in the blood and the systemic inflammatory response. "All these changes are accompanied by a reconfiguration of the gut microbiota, including a proliferation of A. muciniphila and a sharp reduction of bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus", Emphasizes Professor Marette. Gut microbiota transplantation from camu-camu mice to mice without intestinal microbiota temporarily produced the same metabolic effects as camu-camu extracts. "It would be through the intestinal microbiota that camu-camu would produce its positive effects on metabolism," summarizes the researcher.

André Marette now wants to check if camu-camu produces the same metabolic effects in humans. The toxicity of this fruit should not be a problem since camu-camu extracts are already marketed to combat fatigue and stress and to stimulate the immune system.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Universite Laval. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.


Treatment with camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) prevents obesity by altering the gut microbiota and increasing energy expenditure in diet-induced obese mice. Fernando F Anhê, Renato T Nachbar, Thibault V Varin, Jocelyn Trottier, Stéphanie Dudonné, Mélanie Le Barz, Perrine Feutry, Geneviève Pilon, Olivier Barbier, Yves Desjardins, Denis Roy, André Marette. Gut, http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2017-315565.