Discovery could help fight human obesity

Feb 04, 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: Researchers "smell" new receptors that could underlie the many actions of the anesthetic drug ketamine

Related Stories

Study identifies two biomarkers for lack of sleep

Feb 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 ...

Researcher developing wearable device to track diet

Nov 10, 2014

Sensors and software used to track physical activity are increasingly popular, as smart phones and their apps become more powerful and sophisticated, but, when it comes to food, they all rely on the user ...

Recommended for you

Computer model predicts how our livers will store fat

5 hours ago

As part of an effort to understand how an experimental drug for atherosclerosis causes the build-up of fat in the liver, scientists have developed a computer model that can predict how the rate at which liver stores fat in ...

Researchers identify "beige" fat-burning cells in humans

13 hours ago

For the first time, a research team, led by a UC San Francisco biologist, has isolated energy-burning "beige" fat from adult humans, which is known to be able to convert unhealthy white fat into healthy brown ...

User comments : 0

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.