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STUDY: The Welsh onion may be useful for weight loss

Researchers at the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine has found that Welsh onion (Allium fistulosum) can be used to prevent obesity and other obesity-related metabolic disorders. The study, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, shows the effects of Welsh onion extracts on body weight and other parameters of obesity in mice.

  • Researchers grouped the mice into four: a normal control group, a high-fat diet control group, and high-fat diet groups treated with an herbal weight-loss supplement called Garcinia cambogia containing either aqueous Welsh onion extract or ethanolic Welsh onion extract.
  • After the six-week treatment, they measured the body weight and obesity-related parameters, such as liver and adipose weight, adipocyte size, serum lipid profiles, liver expression of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and adipose tissue expression of uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2).
  • AMPK is a cellular energy sensor that contributes to energy homeostasis, stimulating catabolic pathways, such as glucose transport and fatty acid β-oxidation, and inhibiting anabolic pathways such as fatty acid, cholesterol, and protein synthesis; while UCP2 is a mitochondria inner membrane transporter that promotes fatty acid oxidation in adipose tissue and reduces body weight.
  • Results showed that both the aqueous and ethanol Welsh onion extracts contain ferulic acid and quercetin, which are naturally-occurring polyphenolic flavonoid compounds in fruits and vegetables that are known to suppress body weight, fat accumulation, and hyperlipidemia in obese mice by enhancing antioxidant activities.
  • The oral administration of aqueous and ethanolic Welsh onion extracts significantly reduced body weight, adipose tissue, liver weight, and fat accumulation in mice fed with a high-fat diet.
  • Both aqueous and ethanolic Welsh onion extracts greatly improved the high-fat-diet-induced changes in serum leptin and insulin-like growth factor 1 levels, liver expression of AMPK, and adipose tissue expression of UCP2.
  • Both extracts also caused high HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin levels, while the ethanolic Welsh onion extract alone improved the total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.

Overall, the findings suggested that Welsh onion can be used as a functional food material or therapeutic agent for obesity treatments and obesity-associated metabolic syndrome.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

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Journal Reference:

Sung YY, Kim DS, Kim SH, Kim HK. AQUEOUS AND ETHANOLIC EXTRACTS OF WELSH ONION, ALLIUM FISTULOSUM, ATTENUATE HIGH-FAT DIET-INDUCED OBESITY. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018; 18(105). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-018-2152-6

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