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Overweight and depressed? Hypericum perforatum kills two birds with one stone

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You are probably familiar with Hypericum perforatum as a herb that has a mild antidepressant effect, but according to researchers at Banaras Hindu University in India it has other potential uses too. When the Indians gave lab animals an extract of the herb they discovered that it also had a slimming effect.

Study
The researchers gave rats a diet containing a very high amount of fat for a period of 30 days. A control group was given normal feed. From day 16 some of the fattened animals were given 100 mg or 200 mg Hypericum perforatum extract per kg bodyweight daily.

The human equivalent of these doses would be about 1200-2400 mg extract per day.
The researchers used an alcohol-based extract, consisting of 3 percent hyperforin and 0.3 percent hypericin.

Results
The rats on the high-fat diet [HFD Control] became heavier and fatter than the rats on the normal diet [NPD Control], according to the figures below. The administration of Hypericum perforatum, in both the relatively high [HFD + HpE 200] and the low dosage [HFD = HpE 100], inhibited the increase in weight.

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The figure below indicates that part of the fat-inhibiting effect of Hypericum perforatum is due to its appetite suppressant effect. “Hypericum perforatum increases the quantity of serotonin present within synaptosomes by inhibiting synaptosomal uptake of serotonin”, the researchers explained. “This increased level of serotonin caused by Hypericum perforatum extract reduces the food intake and suppresses the appetite.”

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The insulin and glucose levels of the fattened rats rose, but the extract reduced the increase.

In-vitro studies have shown that Hypericum perforatum inhibits the effect of insulin in fat cells. Apparently Hypericum perforatum has an opposite effect in muscle cells.

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Conclusion
“Taken together, Hypericum perforatum could be the antidepressant therapy of choice for patients suffering from comorbid diabetes and obesity”, the researchers concluded.

Hypericum perforatum has many side effects. Make sure you read up about it carefully before experimenting with the stuff.

Hypolipidemic and Antiobesity-Like Activity of Standardised Extract of Hypericum perforatum L. in Rats

Abstract

Hypericum perforatum is known to have diverse medicinal uses for centuries. The antidepressant activity of Hypericum perforatum is widely accepted and proved in both animal and clinical studies. Present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of Hypericum perforatum in a battery of animal models for metabolic disorder. Hypericum is tested for hypolipidemic activity in normal rats, antiobesity activity in high-fat-diet induced obese rats, and fructose-fed rats. Hypericum was orally administered as suspension in 0.3% carboxymethyl cellulose at the doses of 100 and 200?mg/kg body weight for 15 consecutive days. Hypericum significantly lowered total cholesterol and low-density cholesterol in normal rats. Hypericum significantly inhibited weight gain in high-fat-fed rats. In fructose-fed rats, Hypericum normalised the dyslipidemia induced by fructose feeding and improved the insulin sensitivity. Taken together, Hypericum could be the antidepressant therapy of choice for patients suffering from comorbid diabetes and obesity.

Source: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2011/505247/

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