Scientists have discovered a compound found in plants used in Chinese herbal remedies can help burn off excess calories.
The compound work in rodents to increase activity of their brown fat, a type of fat which burns off calories by producing heat.
The researchers found that the compound increased the health of both genetically obese mice, and mice eating a lot of fatty foods, by increasing energy expenditure and limiting weight gain.
The compound, berberine, is found in various plants used as herbal remedies, including some used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Berberine has previously been found to have a variety of metabolic benefits, including anti-diabetic and cholesterol-lowering effects.
Guang Ning from Shanghai Jiaotong University and colleagues report that berberine increases energy expenditure, limits weight gain and improves cold tolerance.
The study is reported in the journal Nature Communications.
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