Lychee, a fruit native to Asia that is often used in desserts, may help treat a medical condition known as metabolic syndrome.
People with metabolic syndrome have three or more of following medical conditions: high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess fat around the waist and high cholesterol. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
The study included 18 adults with waist circumferences of at least 85 centimeters (33.5 inches). They were randomly assigned to receive 100 milligrams of a lychee extract (Oligonol®) or placebo twice daily for 10 weeks.
People in the Oligonol® group experienced significant reductions in waste circumference of an average of three centimeters (1.2 inches) compared to the control group. Subcutaneous fat and abdominal fat were reduced by about six and 15 percent, respectively. The Oligonol® group also experienced improvements in insulin resistance and increases in adiponectin, a hormone that regulates various metabolic processes.
Although promising, these early results are limited by the small sample size. Additional research is needed to fully understand the potential relationship between lychee and metabolic syndrome.
Nishihira J, Sato-Ueshima M, Kitadate K, et al. Amelioration of abdominal obesity by low-molecular-weight polyphenol (Oligonol) from lychee. Journal of Functional Foods. 2009; Published online ahead of print. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2009.09.002.
This article appeared in the November 2009 issue of the Integrative Medicine Newsletter for Natural Standard