|Evan Watson, NatureCity author & contributor|
A new study published in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of Functional Foods found that an extract from lychee fruit called oligonol may help people with metabolic syndrome lose belly fat.
Central obesity is one of the main contributing factors for development of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is defined by The American Heart Association as having three or more of the following:
1. A waistline greater than 40 for men or 35 for women
2. Good (HDL) cholesterol under 40mg/dL for men or 50mg/dL for women
3. Triglyceride levels over 150mg/dL
4. Blood pressure over 130/85mm Hg or the use of blood pressure medicine
5. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein
6. Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance
People with metabolic syndrome have a much higher risk for heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and heart attack.
For the study, researchers from Hokkaido Information University in Japan recruited 18 participants between 24 and 59 years of age with metabolic syndrome and a waist circumference over 36.
The participants were randomly divided into two groups. During a 10 week period, one group received supplements of the lychee extract (50 mg daily) and the other received a placebo.
By the end of the study, the participants taking the supplement saw a higher decrease in abdominal fat and improvements in insulin resistance compared to the placebo group.
These findings are particularly important because the participants who received the supplement saw an average 15% reduction in abdominal fat. Abdominal fat is a key player in a variety of health issues. It is also the hardest to lose because it surrounds the organs and is embedded deep in the body’s tissues.
The researchers say these findings indicate that lychee may be an effective ingredient for weight loss food products, dietary supplements and functional beverages.