Ginger prevents obesity through regulation of energy metabolism and activation of browning in high-fat diet-induced obese mice.
Numerous natural herbs have been proven as safe anti-obesity resources. Ginger, one of the most widely consumed spices, has shown beneficial effects against obesity and related metabolic disorders. The present study aimed to examine whether the antiobesity effect of ginger is associated with energy metabolism. Mice were maintained on either a normal control diet or a high-fat diet (HFD) with or without 500 mg/kg (w/w) ginger supplementation. After 16 weeks, ginger supplementation alleviated the HFD-induced increases in body weight, fat accumulation, and levels of serum glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol. Indirect calorimetry showed that ginger administration significantly increased the respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and heat production in both diet models. Furthermore, ginger administration corrected the HFD-induced changes in concentrations of intermediates in glycolysis and the TCA cycle. Moreover, ginger enhanced brown adipose tissue function and activated white adipose tissue browning by altering the gene expression and protein levels of some brown and beige adipocyte-selective markers. Additionally, stimulation of the browning program by ginger may be partly regulated by the sirtuin-1 (SIRT1)/AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) pathway. Taken together, these results indicate that dietary ginger prevents body weight gain by remodeling whole-body energy metabolism and inducing browning of white adipose tissue (WAT). Thus, ginger is an edible plant that plays a role in the therapeutic treatment of obesity and related disorders.