12 January - 20 June 2016

Rosemary extract and obesity

20 March 13

Researchers from the Technical Innovation Centre of US spice company McCormick and Company, have published work in Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, proposing a mechanism for rosemary extract to regulate glucose and lipid metabolism. Their work backs up other studies that suggest key chemicals within rosemary (rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, carnosol, and caffeic acid) can lower fasting plasma glucose and cholesterol levels, and mitigate weight gain in mice fed a high fat diet. In this study, the team investigated the effect of rosemary extract (RE) on two critical pathways in metabolic regulation, AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) and peroxisome proliferate deactivated receptor (PPAR), in addition to glucose consumption and glycolysis in hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells. The researchers found that rosemary extract activated both AMPK and PPAR pathways, thereby regulating glucose and lipid metabolism in HepG2 cells. The effect of rosemary extract in HepG2 hepatocytes was compared to that of metformin, which is one of the first-line therapeutic agents for type-2 diabetes patients. It has been reported that metformin increases insulin sensitivity, enhances peripheral glucose uptake, and increases fatty acid oxidation.  Their results showed there are some overlaps between rosemary and metformin in terms of pathways activated in liver cells, and lead the researchers to argue that rosemary increases glycolysis, while decreasing gluconeogenesis and glycogen content. In summary, treatment with RE activates energy sensing molecules, including AMPK and SIRT1, which in turn induce catabolic pathways such as fatty acid oxidation and glycolysis and inhibit anabolic pathways such as fatty acid and glycogen synthesis and gluconeogenesis.

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