Background: Obesity is a disease involving body weight gain. Several synthetic drugs of better efficacy are being introduced in the modern system of medicine. Orlistat is a pharmacological agent promoting weight loss in obese subjects via inhibiting of gastric and pancreatic lipase. Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Zingiberacae) is one of the most commonly used spices around the world; it has long been used in traditional medicine as a cure for some diseases.
Objective: To evaluate the effect of ginger and orlistat on rats fed high fat diet.
Materials and methods: Forty male Albino rats were either not treated (control), or fed high fat diet, or fed high fat diet with dietary orlistat supplementation (200 mg/kg diet), or fed high fat diet supplemented with 5% ginger powder. After four weeks of treatment, final body weight and food intake were determined. Blood samples were collected, lipid parameters, total bilirubin, pancreatic lipase were determined. Liver peroxisomes were isolated from rat livers and peroxisomal catalase activity was determined.
Results: Treatment with both ginger and orlistat had significant effect in reducing body weight, besides, supplementing diet with orlistat increase food intake. Both ginger and orlistat had the ability to reduce lipid profile, ginger had great effect in increasing HDL-cholesterol than orlistat. When compared to the control group, ginger treatment did not alter either total bilirubin or pancreatic lipase activity while orlistat clearly reduced their concentration. Orlistat supplementation induced a significant reduction in peroxisomal catalase level, while ginger has been reported to interfere with enzyme activity increasing its level.
Conclusions: Ginger has a great ability to reduce body weight without inhibiting pancreatic lipase level, or affecting bilirubin concentration, with positive effect on increasing peroxisomal catalase level and HDL-cholesterol.