The prebiotic properties of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract contribute to the beneficial effects in diet-induced obesity in mice

Food Res Int. 2020 Jan;127:108722. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2019.108722. Epub 2019 Oct 8.


The metabolic syndrome has been associated with an alteration of intestinal microbiota, which can be considered as a target for the management of these patients. Phenolic extracts from Hibiscus sabdariffa have shown beneficial effects on obesity and its related complications. However, their effects on gut microbiota have not been investigated yet. This study evaluates the effects of a chemically characterized polyphenolic extract of H. sabdariffa (HSE) in an experimental model of diet-induced obesity (DIO) in mice. HSE was administered daily by oral gave for 42 days. HSE reduced weight increase in high fat diet (HFD)-fed mice, and improved glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and normalized LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio. It also enhanced the inflammatory state in the liver, reducing the expression of different adipokines and proinflammatory mediators, and reinforced gut integrity by increasing the expression of mucins and proteins involved in the maintenance of mucosal barrier. Moreover, HSE had a prebiotic effect, ameliorating the changes in the gut microbiota induced by the HFD. Thus, HSE improved the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio, which may contribute to the beneficial effects. Consequently, HSE could be considered for the development of a complementary treatment for the metabolic syndrome due to its beneficial properties.

Keywords: Diet-induced obesity; Glucose; Hibiscus sabdariffa extract; Inflammatory state; Lipid metabolism; Mice; Microbiota; Prebiotic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hibiscus / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Prebiotics*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Prebiotics