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J Nutr. 2002 Apr;132(4):742-7.

Dietary fish oil and Undaria pinnatifida (wakame) synergistically decrease rat serum and liver triacylglycerol.

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  • 1Laboratory of Applied Microorganisms, Marine Biochemistry Division, National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Fisheries Research Agency Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama 236-8648, Japan. murama@affrc.go.jp


Japanese eating habits are characterized by the consumption of various food materials such as cereals, vegetables, fish, shellfish, marine algae and meat. Therefore, properties of functional substances in food materials may be enhanced or lessened by the combination of various food materials. In the present study, we examined how the combination of wakame and fish containing polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are typical Japanese food materials, affected rat lipid metabolism. Rats were fed one of four diets [control diet (C), AIN-76 diet with 5 g/100 g rapeseed oil; wakame diet (W) containing 19.1 g/100 g Undaria pinnatifida (wakame) dried powder in the C diet; fish oil diet (FO), AIN-76 diet with 4.1 g/100 g fish oil; wakame-fish oil diet (W + FO), the FO diet containing 19.1 g/100 g dried wakame powder] for 4 wk. We measured the concentration of lipids in serum and liver and hepatic activities of enzymes involved in fatty acid metabolism. The W diet, FO diet and W + FO diet significantly reduced the concentration of triacylglycerols in the serum and liver compared with the C diet. This decrease in the concentration of hepatic triacylglycerol was greatest in rats fed the W + FO diet. The activity of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, which is involved in fatty acid synthesis in the liver, of rats fed the W, FO and W + FO diets was lower than that in rats fed the C diet. However, the activities of malic enzyme and fatty acid synthetase did not differ among the four groups. In contrast, the W diet and W + FO diet increased the serum concentration of beta-hydroxybutyrate. Further, the activity of 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, which is involved in fatty acid beta-oxidation in the liver, was greater in rats fed the W diet (42%), the FO diet (154%) and the W + FO diet (381%) than in those fed the C diet. Because the decrease in the concentration of triacylglycerol in the liver was greatest when rats were fed wakame and fish oil at the same time (W + FO diet), we conclude that there was a synergistic process affecting fatty acid beta-oxidation in the liver. These results suggest that the simultaneous consumption of fish (fish oil) and wakame decreases the concentration of triacylglycerol in the serum and liver.

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