Screening of polyphenolic plant extracts for anti-obesity properties in Wistar rats


Correspondence to: Professor J Alfredo Martínez, Department of Nutrition, Food Science, Physiology and Toxicology, University of Navarra, C/Irunlarrea s/n, 31008, Pamplona, Spain. E-mail:



Polyphenols have been reported to prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. The objective of the study was to conduct a screening for potential anti-obesity polyphenolic plant extracts using a diet-induced animal model. Rats were fed a high-fat-sucrose (HFS) diet with or without supplementation of different polyphenolic plant extracts (almond, apple, cinnamon, orange blossom, hamamelis, lime blossom, grape vine, and birch) for 56–64 days.


Body weight gain was lower in rats supplemented with apple, cinnamon, hamamelis and birch extracts as compared to HFS non-supplemented group. Moreover, apple and cinnamon extracts prevented the increase in fat mass promoted by the HFS diet. Insulin resistance, estimated by the homostatic model assessment–insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index, was reduced in rats fed apple, cinnamon, hamamelis and birch extracts. Apple extract also prevented the HFS-induced hyperglycaemia and hyperleptinaemia.


Only apple and cinnamon extracts were finally considered as potentially important anti-obesogenic extracts, due to their body fat-lowering effects, while the improvement of obesity-related metabolic complications by apple polyphenols highlights this extract as a promising functional food ingredient for the management of obesity and its metabolic complications. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry