J. Michael Wyss and colleagues note in the new study that people with metabolic syndrome have obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and problems with their body's ability to use insulin. Those disorders mean a high risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other diseases. Scientists have been seeking natural substances that can treat the metabolic syndrome.
Kudzu nuisance may be useful as a dietary supplement that fights metabolic syndrome. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The new study evaluated kudzu root extracts, which contain healthful substances called isoflavones. Some people in China and Japan use kudzu supplements as a health food.
The study found that a kudzu root extract had beneficial effects lab rats used as a model for research on the metabolic syndrome. After two months of taking the extract, the rats had lower cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and insulin levels that a control group not given the extract.
Kudzu root "may provide a dietary supplement that significantly decreases the risk and severity of stroke and cardiovascular disease in at-risk individuals," the article notes.
Their study appears in the current issue of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.