Discovery could help fight human obesity

February 4, 2009

A Texas AgriLife Research scientist and fellow researchers have discovered that arginine, an amino acid, reduces fat mass in diet-induced obese rats and could help fight human obesity.

"Given the current epidemic of obesity in the U.S. and worldwide, our finding is very important," said Dr. Guoyao Wu, an AgriLife Research animal nutritionist in College Station and Senior Faculty Fellow in the department of animal science at Texas A&M University.

The research found dietary arginine supplementation shifts nutrient partitioning to promote skeletal-muscle gain, according to the researchers. The findings were published recently in the Journal of Nutrition (jn.nutrition.org).

In laboratory experiments, rats were fed both low-and high-fat diets. They found that arginine supplementation for a 12-week period decreased the body fat gains of low-fat and high-fat fed rats by 65 percent and 63 percent, respectively. The long-term arginine treatment did not have any adverse effects on either group.

"This finding could be directly translated into fighting human obesity," Wu said. "At this time, arginine has not been incorporated into our food (but could in the future)."

Arginine-rich foods include seafood, watermelon juice, nuts, seeds, algae, meats, rice protein concentrate and soy protein isolate, he said.

The research suggests that arginine may increase lean tissue growth. In pigs, it was found that dietary arginine supplementation reduced fat accretion (growth) but increased muscle gain in growing/finishing pigs without affecting body weight.

Another important observation according to the research was that dietary arginine reduced serum concentrations of branched-chain amino acids.

"This metabolic change is likely beneficial because elevated concentrations of branched-chain amino acids may lead to insulin resistance in obesity. Additionally, arginine can stimulate muscle protein synthesis, a biochemical process that requires large amounts of energy," Wu said. "Thus, dietary energy would be utilized for lean tissue rather than fat gain."

Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Communications

Explore further: Atomic view of bacterial enzymes that help human digestion

Related Stories

Atomic view of bacterial enzymes that help human digestion

July 31, 2015

A group of researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada has reached deep into the human gut, plucked out a couple enzymes produced by bacteria residing there and determined their biological activities and ...

Ancestral diets determine vulnerability to type 2 diabetes

July 10, 2015

The middle classes from developing countries are more susceptible than western Caucasians to obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in today's changing environment. New research published today in Cell Metabolism ...

Study identifies two biomarkers for lack of sleep

February 13, 2015

(Phys.org)—Ideally, we would get the appropriate amount of sleep to keep our bodies healthy, but in our modern society things like jet lag, extended work hours, or using electronic devices cause disruptions in our sleep/wake ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.