White mulberry, which is a herb, may boost weight loss, research finds.
It can also lower blood pressure and decrease ‘bad’ cholesterol.
A natural compound called ‘rutin’ contained in mulberries can activate brown fat in the body, which helps burn calories.
Brown fat is usually activated by cold weather, but rutin can also activate it.
The job of brown fat, sometimes known as ‘good fat’, is to convert food into heat.
Consuming mulberries, therefore, may help people burn more calories.
Another benefit of rutin is that it helps to balance blood glucose.
The leaves of mulberries — whether red or white — can be bought dried to have as a tea.
Alternatively, the mulberry fruit can be added to the diet.
Doses that have been tested in humans range from 1g to 3g of the powdered leaves per day taken for around a month.
For the study, scientists added 1 mg of rutin to the drinking water of obese mice.
The results showed that rutin activated brown fat, which helped the mice burn more calories and reduce their fat.
Dr Wan-Zhu Jin, study co-author, said:
“The beneficial effects of rutin on BAT-mediated metabolic improvement have evoked a substantial interest in the potential treatment for obesity and its related diseases, such as diabetes.
In line with this idea, discovery of more safe and effective BAT activators is desired to deal with obesity and its related diseases.”
A few other studies have found benefits for rutin.
One study found that white mulberry may help lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
People in this study took 1 g of powdered leaf three times a day for a month.
Another study found that the same dosage increased ‘good’ cholesterol levels by 18 percent and reduced ‘bad’ cholesterol levels by 23 percent.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in The FASEB Journal (Yuan et al., 2016).