Scientists explore a compound in chestnut flower for its anti-obesity properties

Scientists explore a compound in chestnut flower for its anti-obesity properties
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Image: Scientists explore a compound in chestnut flower for its anti-obesity properties

(Natural News) Cinnamyl alcohol, an organic compound found in Japanese chestnut (Castanea crenata) flowers, can potentially be used in treating – and even preventing – obesity, according to a study in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. In their report, researchers from South Korea looked at whether chestnut flower extract can effectively prevent the accumulation of fat cells using a 3T3-L1 cell model.

Earlier studies on the Japanese chestnut have proven to be promising. In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers from Chonnam National University in South Korea found that the tree contained quinolinone alkaloids, known for their possible anti-cancer properties. Other studies also revealed that it has potent antioxidant properties, as well as the ability to regulate the production of melanin.

In this study, the South Korea team looked at how extracts derived from Japanese chestnut affected the formation of adipocytes. In particular, adipocyte cells are linked to the development and buildup of fat cells in the body. They also looked at the main compounds in the extract responsible for the biological activity.

The researchers found that after the 3T3-L1 cells were exposed to the chestnut flower extracts, these exhibited a reduction in lipid cell build up, especially those in the 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine/dexamethasone/insulin (MDI) medium. Phytochemical analysis of the extract revealed 10 compounds; among them, the researchers identified cinnamyl alcohol to have dose-dependent inhibition on lipid cells in the MDI medium. In particular, cinnamyl alcohol demonstrated significant inhibition properties without harming relatively healthier cells.

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In sum, the researchers concluded that both cinnamyl alcohol and Japanese chestnut flower extract can be used for both preventive and curative therapies for obesity.

More on the benefits of chestnuts

While the study looked at chestnut flowers, most people know chestnuts for the edible nuts that come after the flowering stage. One of these species is the Japanese chestnut, a tree native to Japan and South Korea. The nuts are known to form during the autumn: During this time, the female flowers develop into cupules, each with around three to seven nuts.

It’s also worth noting that Japanese chestnuts, like other members of the Castanea genus, are packed with health benefits.

  • It promotes good digestion. Studies show that Japanese chestnuts improve a person’s digestion. The nuts act to protect good bacteria found in the gut. It’s also a rich source of fiber, which is helpful for moving food into the gastrointestinal tract. It also eliminates constipation, regulates blood sugar, and helps with satiety.
  • It’s a great source of antioxidants. Aside from being packed with vitamins and minerals, chestnuts also contain potent antioxidants that protect the cells from damage caused by oxidative stress, thereby protecting the body from chronic diseases ranging from cancer to heart disease.
  • It’s heart-healthy. Chestnuts are your heart’s friend in a lot of ways. Aside from antioxidants, the nuts are a good source of potassium, which helps reduce the likelihood of high blood pressure and stroke.
  • It prevents constipation. People having difficulties with their bowel movements could greatly benefit from eating chestnuts. These are rich in fiber, which helps in the promotion and frequency of stools.
  • It helps with bone health. Eating just 10 kernels of chestnuts can provide the body with at least 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of manganese, a mineral essential for building and maintaining bones.
  • It’s a brain-booster. The B-vitamins in chestnuts are essential for brain health and cognition, especially in older adults and children.

Chestnuts aren’t just for treating obesity. has the low-down on what other benefits the body can get from eating chestnuts.

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