The protective effects of Houttuynia cordata aqueous extract (HCAE) in mice consuming a high saturated fat diet (HFD) were examined. HCAE, at 0.5, 1, or 2%, was supplied in drinking water for 8 weeks. HCAE was rich in phenolic acids and flavonoids. HCAE intake at 1 and 2% decreased body weight, epididymal fat, insulin resistance, triglyceride and total cholesterol contents in plasma and liver from HFD-treated mice (p < 0.05). HFD enhanced hepatic activity of malic enzyme, fatty acid synthase (FAS) and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase; and augmented the hepatic level of saturated fatty acids (p < 0.05). HCAE intake at 2% reduced malic enzyme and FAS activities, and lowered saturated fatty acids content in liver (p < 0.05). HCAE suppressed HFD induced oxidative and inflammatory stress in the heart and liver via reducing the malondialdehyde level, retaining glutathione content and glutathione peroxidase activity, decreasing tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1beta and IL-6 production (p < 0.05). These results support that Houttuynia cordata is a potent food against HFD induced obesity, and oxidative and inflammatory injury.
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