Orange Peels May Enhance Heart Health

by Ella

A groundbreaking study led by researchers at the University of Florida has uncovered a potentially game-changing discovery: incorporating orange peels into one’s diet could significantly benefit cardiovascular health.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of mortality worldwide, affecting individuals across diverse demographic groups. Recent investigations have shed light on the role of gut bacteria in cardiovascular health, particularly in the production of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) during digestion. Elevated levels of TMAO have been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, as highlighted by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic.


With a generous grant of $500,000 from the USDA, Dr. Yu Wang and her team embarked on a mission to explore the therapeutic potential of orange peel extracts, renowned for their abundance of beneficial phytochemicals, in mitigating TMAO and trimethylamine (TMA) production.


The study involved the examination of two distinct types of extracts derived from orange peels: a polar fraction and a non-polar fraction. The extraction process, as explained by Dr. Wang, involved the utilization of polar and non-polar solvents to isolate key components from the orange peel.


Dr. Wang elucidated, “If you imagine your salad dressing, anything in the water or vinegar part is the polar fraction; anything in the oil away from water is the non-polar fraction. The solvents we used were not exactly like water and oil, but they possess similar polarity.”


Remarkably, the findings of the study revealed that the non-polar fraction extract from orange peels demonstrated remarkable efficacy in inhibiting the production of harmful chemicals associated with cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, researchers identified a compound named feruloylputrescine in the orange peel polar fraction extract, which exhibited significant inhibitory effects on the enzyme responsible for TMA production.

“This is a novel finding that highlights the previously unrecognized health potential of feruloylputrescine in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,” emphasized Dr. Wang, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition at UF/IFAS.

The implications of this discovery are profound, considering that millions of tons of orange peels are generated annually as byproducts of orange juice production, with a significant portion ending up as cattle feed or waste. However, with the FDA deeming natural orange peel extracts safe for human consumption, Dr. Wang envisions a paradigm shift in repurposing orange peels as valuable ingredients for promoting human health.

Dr. Wang remarked, “These findings suggest that orange peels, often discarded as waste in the citrus industry, can be repurposed into valuable health-promoting ingredients, such as diet supplements or food ingredients. Our research paves the way for developing functional foods enriched with these bioactive compounds, providing new therapeutic strategies for heart health.”

In essence, the study opens doors to innovative approaches in leveraging natural resources to enhance health outcomes, offering a promising avenue for the development of functional foods and dietary supplements aimed at bolstering cardiovascular health.



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