5 Benefits of Oligonol

What Should I Know About It?

oligonol from lychee fruit
Oligonol is typically sourced from lychee fruit, shown on the left in the fruit basket. Niels Busch/Cultura/Getty Images

Oligonol is a substance extracted from lychee fruit. Known to offer antioxidant effects, oligonol is touted as a natural remedy for a number of health problems. In addition, oligonol is said to promote weight loss and slow the aging process.

Uses for Oligonol

In alternative medicine, oligonol is purported to help treat the following health conditions:

    Oligonol is also said to aid in cancer prevention, protect the body from the negative effects of stress, and inhibit the buildup of abdominal fat.

    Benefits of Oligonol

    To date, research on the health effects of oligonol is limited. However, there's some evidence that oligonol may offer certain benefits. Here's a look at several key findings from the available studies:

    1) Inflammation

    Preliminary research suggests that oligonol may help reduce inflammation, an aging-related biological process linked to the development of many diseases.

    In a small study published in Nutrition Research and Practice, researchers assigned 19 healthy young men to four weeks of treatment with either a placebo or a dietary supplement containing oligonol. By the study's end, those treated with oligonol showed a significantly greater decrease in several markers of inflammation (compared to members of the placebo group).

    In addition, oligonol appeared to help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

    2) Obesity

    Several animal-based studies indicate that oligonol may offer anti-obesity effects. In a 2009 study published in Phytotherapy Research, for instance, tests on rats revealed that oligonol intake may help stimulate the breakdown of fat.

    3) Diabetes

    Oligonol may help protect against certain diabetes-related complications, according to animal-based research. A 2010 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that oligonol helped reduce kidney damage in diabetic mice, while a 2011 study from the same journal determined that oligonol helped shield diabetic mice from liver damage.

    4) Influenza

    Oligonol may help fight off the flu, suggests a 2010 study published in Phytomedicine. In a laboratory experiment, scientists discovered that oligonol may help inhibit the growth and spread of the influenza virus.

    5) Cancer

    Oligonol may possess anti-cancer properties, according to a preliminary study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2009. In tests on mice, the study's authors demonstrated that oligonol may help stop melanoma from spreading to other organs.

    Caveats

    Due to a lack of scientific research, little is known about the safety of long-term use of supplements containing oligonol.

    It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated.

    In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. Learn more about how to use supplements safely.

    Where to Find It

    Widely available for purchase online, supplements containing oligonol can be found in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.

    Using Oligonol for Health

    Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend oligonol as a treatment for any condition. It's important to note that self-treating a condition with oligonol and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering the use of oligonol in the treatment of a condition, make sure to consult your physician before starting your supplement regimen. Self-treating and avoiding or delaying standard care can have serious consequences.

    Sources

    Gangehei L, Ali M, Zhang W, Chen Z, Wakame K, Haidari M. "Oligonol a low molecular weight polyphenol of lychee fruit extract inhibits proliferation of influenza virus by blocking reactive oxygen species-dependent ERK phosphorylation." Phytomedicine. 2010 Nov;17(13):1047-56.

    Lee SJ, Chung IM, Kim MY, Park KD, Park WH, Moon HI. "Inhibition of lung metastasis in mice by oligonol." Phytother Res. 2009 Jul;23(7):1043-6.

    Lee JB, Shin YO, Min YK, Yang HM. "The effect of Oligonol intake on cortisol and related cytokines in healthy young men." Nutr Res Pract. 2010 Jun;4(3):203-7.

    Noh JS, Kim HY, Park CH, Fujii H, Yokozawa T. "Hypolipidaemic and antioxidative effects of oligonol, a low-molecular-weight polyphenol derived from lychee fruit, on renal damage in type 2 diabetic mice." Br J Nutr. 2010 Oct;104(8):1120-8.

    Noh JS, Park CH, Yokozawa T. "Treatment with oligonol, a low-molecular polyphenol derived from lychee fruit, attenuates diabetes-induced hepatic damage through regulation of oxidative stress and lipid metabolism." Br J Nutr. 2011 Oct;106(7):1013-22.

    Ogasawara J, Kitadate K, Nishioka H, Fujii H, Sakurai T, Kizaki T, Izawa T, Ishida H, Ohno H. "Comparison of the effect of oligonol, a new lychee fruit-derived low molecular form of polyphenol, and epigallocatechin-3-gallate on lipolysis in rat primary adipocytes." Phytother Res. 2011 Mar;25(3):467-71. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3296.

    Ogasawara J, Kitadate K, Nishioka H, Fujii H, Sakurai T, Kizaki T, Izawa T, Ishida H, Ohno H. "Oligonol, a new lychee fruit-derived low-molecular form of polyphenol, enhances lipolysis in primary rat adipocytes through activation of the ERK1/2 pathway." Phytother Res. 2009 Nov;23(11):1626-33.

    Sakurai T, Nishioka H, Fujii H, Nakano N, Kizaki T, Radak Z, Izawa T, Haga S, Ohno H. "Antioxidative effects of a new lychee fruit-derived polyphenol mixture, oligonol, converted into a low-molecular form in adipocytes." Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Feb;72(2):463-76.

    Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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