A new study on mice suggests that rose hips may contain properties that encourage browning of white fat, increased metabolism and weight loss.
Overweight and obesity, conditions in which individuals carry excess adipose tissue, or body fat, have been shown to increase risk for a number of negative health outcomes, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and fatty liver.
Past research has suggested that the intake of rose hip, which is the fruit or seed pod of the rose plant, is not only rich in beneficial properties such as ascorbic acid, phenolic compounds, and carotenoids, but also has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and anti-obesity effects. These anti-obesity properties, in particular, were the subject of a study recently published in Nutrition and Metabolism, which hypothesized that the mechanism behind that effect might be related to the browning of beige fat cells.
The study was performed on 8-week old male mice who were divided into two groups: a control group that was fed a high fat diet, and a second group that was fed a high fat diet supplemented with rose hip (RH group). The study ran for a period of three months, during which various calorimetric measurements were taken, and assessments of gene expression and protein levels in brown and white fat deposits were done.
Results of the study showed that although caloric intake was the same for mice in the control and RH groups, the RH group had reduced body weight, and had lower blood glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels than the control group at the end of the study. Overall, the mice in the RH group appeared to have higher energy expenditure than those in the control group, even though activity levels were essentially the same. When the mice did wheel or treadmill running, measurements showed that the RH group had a higher metabolic rate.
From these results, researchers theorize that rose hips either stimulate the fat-burning capacity of BAT (brown fat) deposits, or may they may induce the “browning” of white fat. This latter proposition, in particular, appeared to be supported by the gene expression and protein level measurements, which showed that markers for brown or beige fat, and genes able to promote brown adipocyte differentiation, were increased in the WAT of the RH-fed mice.
Based on these results, authors of the study conclude that dietary rose hip may have the effect of increasing energy output and inducing browning of white fat. This, in turn, may help prevent body weight gain, and suggests that rose hip may have some potential as part of therapeutic regimes for treatment of obesity.
Written By: Linda Jensen