Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

The annual Irish Section Postgraduate meeting hosted by the University of Ulster, White Horse Hotel, Derry/Londonderry.16–18 February 2011,

Irish Section Postgraduate Symposium

Pathogenic obesity and nutraceuticals

K. P. Conroya1 c1, I. M. Davidsona1 and M. Warnocka1

a1 Department of Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Queen Margaret Drive, Musselburgh EH21 6UU, UK


Over a decade of intense research in the field of obesity has led to the knowledge that chronic, excessive adipose tissue expansion leads to an increase in the risk for CVD, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cancer. This is primarily thought to stem from the low-grade, systemic inflammatory response syndrome that characterises adipose tissue in obesity, and this itself is thought to arise from the complex interplay of factors including metabolic endotoxaemia, increased plasma NEFA, hypertrophic adipocytes and localised hypoxia. Plasma concentrations of vitamins and antioxidants are lower in obese individuals than in the non-obese, which is hypothesised to negatively affect the development of inflammation and disease in obesity. This paper provides a review of the current literature investigating the potential of nutraceuticals to ameliorate the development of oxidative stress and inflammation in obesity, thereby limiting the onset of obesity complications. Research has found nutraceuticals able to positively modulate the activity of adipocyte cell lines and further positive effects have been found in other aspects of pathogenic obesity. While their ability to affect weight loss is still controversial, it is clear that they have a great potential to reverse the development of overweight and obesity-related comorbidities; this, however, still requires much research especially that utilising well-structured randomised controlled trials.

(Online publication August 22 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: K. P. Conroy, fax +44 131 4740000, email