Coconut Products Improve Signs of Diet-Induced Metabolic Syndrome in Rats
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Increasing prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome warrants identification of potential therapeutic options for intervention. This study tested commercially available Virgin Coconut Oil and Coconut Nourish, as coconuts are rich sources of lauric and myristic acids. Male Wistar rats were fed either corn starch diet (C); high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (H); high-carbohydrate, high-virgin coconut oil diet (HV); or high-carbohydrate, high-coconut Nourish diet (HN) for 16 weeks. Metabolic, liver, and cardiovascular health parameters were measured during and at the end of the study. Virgin coconut oil lowered body weight (C 386±8g, H 516±13g, HV 459±10g), blood glucose concentrations (C 4.2±0.1 mmol/L, H 5.4±0.2 mmol/L, HV 4.6±0.2 mmol/L), systolic blood pressure (C 127±5mmHg, H 149±4mmHg, HV 133±3mmHg,) and diastolic stiffness (C 25.0±1.7, H 31.4±1.2, HV 25.2±2.3,) with improved structure and function of the heart and liver. Coconut Nourish increased total body lean mass (C 255±10g, H 270±16g, HN 303±15g) and lowered plasma total cholesterol concentrations (C 1.6±0.2 mmol/L, H 1.7±0.1 mmol/L, HN 1.0±0.0 mmol/L), systolic blood pressure (C 127±5mmHg, H 149±4mmHg, HN 130±3mmHg) and diastolic stiffness (C 25.0±1.7, H 31.4±1.2, HN 26.5±1.0), improved structure and function of the heart and liver but increased plasma concentrations of triglycerides (C 0.3±0.1 mmol/L, H 1.1±0.4 mmol/L, HN 1.8±0.2 mmol/L) and non-esterified fatty acids (C 1.2±0.3 mmol/L, H 3.3±0.8 mmol/L, HN 5.6±0.4 mmol/L). Thus, the fiber and protein in coconut Nourish and the medium-chain saturated fatty acids in virgin coconut oil may improve cardiovascular and liver complications in obesity.
KeywordsMetabolic syndrome Obesity Coconut Saturated fatty acids Lauric acid
This study was funded by Enterprise Connect and Nature Pacific Pty Ltd. as part of the Researcher in Business program. Virgin coconut oil and Banaban Nourish were provided by Nature Pacific Pty Ltd., Gold Coast, QLD, Australia as part of this program. We thank Mr. Brian Bynon, School of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Queensland Gatton, for plasma biochemical analyses.
S.K.P. and L.B. designed the research protocol and interpreted the results; S.K.P. and S.C. conducted the animal experiments and analyzed the data; S.K.P., S.C. and L.B. wrote the manuscript; and S.K.P. had primary responsibility for final content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Statement on the Welfare of Animals
All experimental protocols were approved by the Animal Ethics Committee of the University of Southern Queensland under the guidelines of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. The approval number for this study was 13REA008. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.
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