Pomegranate seed oil, a rich source of punicic acid, prevents diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance in mice

Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Jun;49(6):1426-30. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.03.037. Epub 2011 Mar 31.


Background: Pomegranate seed oil has been shown to protect against diet induced obesity and insulin resistance.

Objective: To characterize the metabolic effects of punicic acid on high fat diet induced obesity and insulin resistance.

Design: High-fat diet or high-fat diet with 1% Pomegranate seed oil (PUA) was fed for 12 weeks to induce obesity and insulin resistance. We assessed body weight and composition (pSABRE DEXA-scan), energy expenditure (Columbus Instruments) and insulin sensitivity at the end of the 12 weeks.

Results: PSO intake resulted in a lower body weight, 30.5±2.9 vs 33.8±3.2 g PSO vs HFD respectively, p=0.02, without affecting food intake or energy expenditure. The lower body weight was fully explained by a decreased body fat mass, 3.3±2.3 vs 6.7±2.7 g for PSO and HFD fed mice, respectively, p=0.02. Insulin clamps showed that PSO did not affect liver insulin sensitivity but clearly improved peripheral insulin sensitivity, 164±52% vs 92±24% for PSO and HFD fed mice respectively, p=0.01.

Conclusions: We conclude that dietary PSO ameliorates high-fat diet induced obesity and insulin resistance in mice, independent of changes in food intake or energy expenditure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eating
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Insulin
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Linolenic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Lythraceae / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Seeds / chemistry


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fats
  • Insulin
  • Linolenic Acids
  • Plant Oils
  • punicic acid