Since 1975, the global prevalence of obesity has almost tripled with 39% of adults over 18 years old being classified as overweight and 13% as obese.1 Recent studies have shown that many polyphenolic compounds, including anthocyanins which are present in citrus fruit, have positive effects on health and weight management.2-6
Native to Sicily and cultivated at the feet of the Etna volcano, the Moro orange cultivar Citrus sinensis Osbeck (Rutaceae) is the most highly pigmented red orange with high anthocyanin content. 7-9
In a recent study published in Nutrients (DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030427), researchers investigated the effect of Moro orange cultivar extract on weight loss and all safety markers of liver toxicity. This single-site, double-blind, randomized clinical trial investigated supplementation across a six-month intervention period in Brisbane, Australia.
The 98 participants who completed the study were overweight (BMI 25-35kg/m2) but otherwise healthy adults aged 20 to 65 years old. The standard extract called Morosil® was provided by Bionap S.R.L. The supplement was in capsules, each containing 400mg of standardized extract to be taken with water after breakfast. The placebo product was maltodextrin which was stored within a matching capsule and administered in the same way as the extract.
Participants were randomly allocated to a control group taking the placebo or an intervention group supplementing with the Moro orange standardized extract. Participants’ dietary intake, body measurements, blood parameters, and body composition were assessed during enrollment. Participants were also asked to complete 30 minutes of walking 3 times per week as well as follow a kilojoule-controlled diet.
The participants attended the study site 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 months after their baseline for more body measures, dietary intake, and tolerance assessments. A final assessment identical to the one taken at baseline was completed during month 6 (the final month).
After supplementing for six months, both participant groups experience significant improvements in body weight, BMI, and waist and hip circumferences; however, the active group lost more weight than the placebo. Additionally, the intervention group showed a significant decrease in BMI, fat mass, visceral fat, abdominal fat, and waist and hip circumference at 6-months in the intervention group compared to placebo. Overall, the Moro blood orange standardized extract combined with diet and exercise was shown to be safe and well-tolerated. The researchers conclude that “supplementation with the standardized extract may significantly contribute as a complementary strategy in weight management programs.”
1. World Health Organisation. Obesity and Overweight. Available online: www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesityand-overweight (accessed on 1 April 2020).
2. Park J, Kim HL, Jung Y, Ahn KS, Kwak HJ, Um JY. Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium Linné) improves obesity by regulating adipogenesis and thermogenesis through AMPK activation. Nutrients. 2019 Sep;11(9):1988.
3. Ballistreri G, Amenta M, Fabroni S, Consoli V, Grosso S, Vanella L, Sorrenti V, Rapisarda P. Evaluation of lipid and cholesterol-lowering effect of bioflavonoids from bergamot extract. Natural Product Research. 2021 Dec 2;35(23):5378-83.
4. Lo Furno D, Graziano AC, Avola R, Giuffrida R, Perciavalle V, Bonina F, Mannino G, Cardile V. A Citrus bergamia extract decreases adipogenesis and increases lipolysis by modulating PPAR levels in mesenchymal stem cells from human adipose tissue. PPAR research. 2016 Jun 15;2016.
5. Karn A, Zhao C, Yang F, Cui J, Gao Z, Wang M, Wang F, Xiao H, Zheng J. In-vivo biotransformation of citrus functional components and their effects on health. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2021 Mar 9;61(5):756-76.
6. Ahmed OM, AbouZid SF, Ahmed NA, Zaky MY, Liu H. An up-to-date review on citrus flavonoids: Chemistry and benefits in health and diseases. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2021 Mar 1;27(4):513-30.
7. Fallico, B.; Ballistreri, G.; Arena, E.; Brighina, S.; Rapisarda, P. Bioactive compounds in blood oranges (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck): Level and intake. Food Chem. 2017, 215, 67–75. [CrossRef]
8. Kelebek H, Canbas A, Selli S. Determination of phenolic composition and antioxidant capacity of blood orange juices obtained from cvs. Moro and Sanguinello (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck) grown in Turkey. Food Chemistry. 2008 Apr 15;107(4):1710-6.
9. Fabroni S, Ballistreri G, Amenta M, Rapisarda P. Anthocyanins in different Citrus species: an UHPLC‐PDA‐ESI/MS n‐assisted qualitative and quantitative investigation. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2016 Nov;96(14):4797-808.