Toronto, Aug 31 : Consuming an extract of camu camu -- a fruit native to the Amazon -- can likely prevent obesity induced by a high-fat and high-sugar diet as well as metabolic disease, finds a study.
The chemical composition of camu camu is unique in that it contains 20 to 30 times more vitamin C than kiwis and five times more polyphenols than blackberries, the researchers said.
The anti-obesity effect of camu camu could be explained by an increase in resting metabolism in the mice that received the extract.
Camu camu also improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and reduced the concentration of blood endotoxins and metabolic inflammation, the researchers said in the study conducted on mice.
"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," said lead investigator Andre Marette, Professor at the Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada.
For the study, published in the journal Gut, the team fed two groups of mice a diet rich in sugar and fat for eight weeks.
Half the mice were given camu camu extract each day.
The results showed that weight gain in camu camu-treated mice was 50 per cent lower than that observed in control mice and was similar to the weight gain of mice consuming a low-sugar, low-fat diet.
Transplantation of intestinal microbiota from the camu camu group to germ-free mice lacking an intestinal microbiota temporarily reproduced similar metabolic effects.
"Camu camu thus exerts its positive metabolic effects at least in part through the modulation of the gut microbiota," Marette noted.
Marette now wants to examine whether camu camu produces the same metabolic effects in humans.
The toxicity of the fruit extract should not pose a problem since it is already commercialized to combat fatigue and stress and stimulate the immune system, she said.