Background: Fruits and nuts may prevent or reverse common human health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension; together, these conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome, an increasing problem. This study has investigated the responses to ellagic acid, present in many fruits and nuts, in a diet-induced rat model of metabolic syndrome.
Methods: Eight- to nine-week-old male Wistar rats were divided into four groups for 16-week feeding with cornstarch diet (C), cornstarch diet supplemented with ellagic acid (CE), high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (H) and high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet supplemented with ellagic acid (HE). CE and HE rats were given 0.8 g/kg ellagic acid in food from week 8 to 16 only. At the end of 16 weeks, cardiovascular, hepatic and metabolic parameters along with protein levels of Nrf2, NF-κB and CPT1 in the heart and the liver were characterised.
Results: High-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-fed rats developed cardiovascular remodelling, impaired ventricular function, impaired glucose tolerance, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with increased protein levels of NF-κB and decreased protein levels of Nrf2 and CPT1 in the heart and the liver. Ellagic acid attenuated these diet-induced symptoms of metabolic syndrome with normalisation of protein levels of Nrf2, NF-κB and CPT1.
Conclusions: Ellagic acid derived from nuts and fruits such as raspberries and pomegranates may provide a useful dietary supplement to decrease the characteristic changes in metabolism and in cardiac and hepatic structure and function induced by a high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet by suppressing oxidative stress and inflammation.