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Asia Pacific: Mistletoe could fight obesity, find Korean researchers

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Researchers have found that a compound produced by a particular variety of mistletoe can help fight obesity-related liver disease in mice, according to the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The study appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Jungkee Kwon and colleagues note that, according to recent research, Korean mistletoe produces a number of biologically active compounds, which includes steroids and flavonoids.

Also, extracts from the plant have shown anti-obesity effects, but no one had confirmed which specific molecules were involved.

Kwon’s team wanted to investigate the matter and see if the key ingredient could also help fight fatty liver disease, which is associated with obesity and can progress to liver failure in some cases.

The researchers identified viscothionin as the compound in Korean mistletoe that affects fat metabolism in the liver.

When they treated obese mice with it, their body and liver weights dropped.

The scientists conclude that viscothionin could be explored as a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Research Foundation of Korea and the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation.