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The findings of a preliminary investigation indicate that Nitraria retusa tea may be safe and effective for reducing serum cholesterol levels.

Medications for reducing the risk of dyslipidemia have various side effects, highlighting the need for safer alternatives for prevention and treatment. One study showed that the Nitraria retusa plant inhibited cell differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells, a preadipocyte mouse cell line, and also decreased fat accumulation and regulated the gene expression involved in lipolysis and lipogenesis. However, no clinical studies have been conducted on Nitraria retusa. 

A pilot study in the journal Nutrients assessed the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of a Nitraria retusa extract (NRE) intervention on lipid profiles in healthy and overweight/obese adults.

Study Population

In this study, 98 participants, including 37 healthy and 61 overweight/obese, were enrolled and allocated to low- and high-dose groups. A significant difference was observed in age among the healthy participants, with the low-dose group having a higher mean age than the high-dose group. However, no significant differences among healthy participants were observed in other baseline characteristics. Similarly, no significant differences were noted in any baseline parameters between the low- and high-dose groups among the overweight/obese participants.

Feasibility and Acceptability

The study showed high compliance, with over 90% of participants completing the 10-day intervention, highlighting the high acceptability of the NRE intervention.

Safety Assessment

Both doses of NRE infusion were well-tolerated. Mild, temporary undesirable effects were experienced by three overweight/obese participants in the high-dose group. Daily short-term (10-day) consumption of NRE did not result in any significant differences in hematological and hemodynamic parameters, liver and kidney function tests, and blood glucose levels compared to baseline, with the exception of lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure (remaining within normal range) in overweight/obese individuals and a significant reduction in alanine aminotransferase (remaining within normal range) in the low-dose group of healthy participants after the intervention. These preliminary short-term results suggest the safety of daily NRE consumption regarding hepatic and renal function in healthy and overweight/obese individuals.

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Effects on Lipid Profile

Overweight/obese participants in the high-dose group demonstrated a significant post-intervention decrease in triglyceride (TG) levels and an increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels compared to baseline. These changes were more significant among participants with a body mass index exceeding 30. The decrease in TG levels was significant only in participants younger than 40 years.

No significant post-intervention changes were observed in serum TG, HDL, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein levels compared to baseline in both healthy and overweight/obese participants in the low-dose group and healthy participants in the high-dose group.
Therefore, a follow-up trial with extended treatment duration specifically targeting overweight/obese individuals with significant dyslipidemia would provide a more comprehensive evaluation of NRE’s benefits.

Source:

Laouani, A., Nasrallah, H., Sassi, A., Ferdousi, F., Kalai, F. Z., Hasni, Y., Limem, K., Isoda, H., & Saguem, S. (2023). Exploring the Effects of Short-Term Daily Intake of Nitraria retusa Tea on Lipid Profile: A Pre-Post, Uncontrolled Pilot Study in Both Healthy and Overweight/Obese Adults. Nutrients, 15(16), 3649. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15163649