Alpinia officinarum, a fat loss supplement?
A few days ago, we wrote about a Chinese animal study in which supplementation with Alpinia officinarum practically halted fat cell growth, although the researchers gave their test animals feed with extra calories. Minus point of that research: the dose of Alpinia officinarum was astronomical. In 2012, researchers from the Korea Food Research Institute repeated this study - with a less extreme dosage.
The researchers gave part of their mice feed that contained 5 grams of Alpinia officinarum extract per kilo. Like their Chinese colleagues who had studied Alpinia officinarum a few years earlier, the Koreans used a 1:4 (wt/wt) alcohol-based extract they made themselves. That is not very pure.
If these mice had been humans, they would have received roughly 3-4 grams of extract per day. That is still a lot, but it's less than the laboratory animals in the Chinese study received.
The experimental design of the Koreans resembled that of their Chinese colleagues. The Koreans gave a group of the mice standard feed [C], another group received feed in which the Koreans had put extra sugar and fat [HFD], while a third group of mice was given high-calorie food plus Alpinia officinarum extract [HFD + AOE].
The extract inhibited body weight gain during the 8 weeks of the experiment.
When the researchers studied the mice's fat deposits after 8 weeks, they saw that Alpinia officinarum had reduced their growth.
When the researchers did tests with fat cells in vitro, they discovered that Alpinia officinarum extract blocked their growth. Galangin, a flavonol that is prominent in Alpinia officinarum, may well be responsible for this effect, the researchers found.
In the adipose tissue of the mice, Alpinia officinarum had partially deactivated vital proteins like protein PPAR-gamma, which made it difficult for the fat cells to grow. On the other hand, in the liver of the mice, ,Alpinia officinarum had just activated the protein PPAR-alpha, which in rodents plays an important role in the oxidation of fatty acids.
"Galangin, a major component of Alpinia officinarum, can inhibit adipogenesis during adipocyte differentiation and may be effective in improving obesity," the researchers write.
If galangin is indeed the main active ingredient in Alpinia officinarum, shouldn't it be so possible to develop a supplement for human use? A supplement that you don't have to use in gram amounts?
J Med Food. 2012 Nov;15(11):959-67.
Alpinia officinarum: an excess of calories, yet no increase in body fat 20.05.2020
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