Consumption of the carotenoid beta cryptoxanthin may be associated with reduced risk of diabetes and obesity.
Beta cryptoxanthin, or simply cryptoxanthin, is a naturally produced pigment with close ties to vitamin A. High cryptoxanthin dietary intake has been associated with:
- Reduced body fat and BMI. A japanese study found that people cosuming more cryptoxanthin had lower BMI and body fat.
- Reduced risk of diabetes. Multiple studies have highlighted the link between higher beta cryptoxanthin consumption and reduced risk of type II diabetes.
One of the principal dietary carotenoids (organic pigments responsible for the orange, yellow, and red colors in vegetables and fruits), beta cryptoxanthin is found in a variety of natural sources, including papaya, pumpkins, orange rind, egg yolk, apples, butter, and flowers of the Physalis plant.
Cryptoxanthin is structurally similar to the better known carotenoid beta carotene and both readily convert into vitamin A in the body, making them beneficial for vision enhancement and overall brain function.1 (Check out our list of vision enhancers).
Medical research is continuously identifying new health benefits of cryptoxanthin, especially in terms of alleviating disorders such as type II diabetes, bone loss, nerve pain, and macular degeneration.2 In addition, early research indicates that it might also help ward off obesity.
|Cryptoxanthin-rich foods||Serving||Cryptoxanthin (milligrams)|
|Papaya||1 medium fruit||2.3|
|Sweet red peppers||1 cup||0.6|
|Orange juice||1 cup (8 oz)||0.4|
How Beta Cryptoxanthin Might Help With Fat Loss
Potential suppression of adipogenesis
The ability of cryptoxanthin to potentially aid weight loss centralizes on regulating adipose (fat) tissue. More specifically, cell culture studies have shown that it may:
- Restrain the generation of new fat cells, known as adipogenesis, while also reducing the fat levels of existing cells
All in all, cryptoxanthin and other carotenoids have been suggested to help prevent excessive body fat.4
Beta Cryptoxanthin Benefits & Uses for Fat Loss
Beta cryptoxanthin and general carotenoid supplements are mostly taken to support good vision and cardiovascular health, and to protect against type 2 diabetes. However, the early animal and cell culture study evidence coupled with observational studies of dietary beta cryptoxanthin intake suggest that it may also help ward off obesity. More specifically, this early research indicates that cryptoxanthin may5:
- Suppress fat cell content and new fat cell formation
- Improved glucose metabolism and tolerance
Animal studies highlight several potential weight-loss related benefits of beta cryptoxanthin:
- Preventing obesity by suppressing the growth of abdominal fat cells in mice.6
- Attenuating insulin resistance in mice.7
Observational studies suggest that higher cryptoxanthin consumption from dietary sources is linked to reduced risk of obesity and type II diabetes.
In this 3-year investigative survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), researchers found that people with high levels of cryptoxanthin (and other carotenoids) had steady glucose tolerance, whereas those with the lowest levels of the compounds had the greatest risk for type II diabetes.
- The study concluded that “if confirmed, these data suggest new opportunities for research that include exploring a possible role for carotenoids in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and diabetes.”8
In this investigation, 4,304 adults were observed throughout the course of a 23-year follow-up for dietary history and food consumption. Among single carotenoids, beta-cryptoxanthin intake was found to be significantly linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- The study concluded that “development of type 2 diabetes may be reduced by the intake of antioxidants in the diet.”9
In this controlled investigation, 25 Australians were given 5 carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, and lycopene) at increasing serving sizes every day for a 3-month period. High concentrations of all carotenoids were found to correlate with improved glucose metabolism and tolerance, whereas decreasing concentrations correlated with impaired glucose metabolism and reduced glucose tolerance.
- The study concluded that “serum carotenoids are inversely associated with type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose metabolism.”10
In this investigation, 88 Japanese women were assessed for lifestyle factors, dietary habits, diet history, and body composition. Analysis identified cryptoxanthin as the only nutritional ingredient that demonstrated significant differences between high and low body mass index (BMI) as well as body fat percentage. Higher cryptoxanthin intake was associated with reduced BMI by 1.22 per 100 μg of cryptoxanthin per day and reduced body fat percentage by 1.36 per 100 μg of cryptoxanthin per day.
- The study concluded that “higher intake of cryptoxanthin was shown to be related to low body mass and body fat in Japanese middle-aged women.”11
Dosage for Fat Loss
- No specific doses of cryptoxanthin have been cited in clinical studies
- Typical supplement capsules range from 15 – 30 mg or 15,000 – 20,000 IU
Supplements in Review Says
- Beta cryptoxanthin 15 mg for fat loss.
There is far too little evidence to recommend beta cryptoxanthin. Higher dietary cryptoxanthin consumption has been linked to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and possibly to reduced risk of obesity as well. However, until high-quality human studies of cryptoxanthin supplementation are performed, there’s not enough evidence to conclusively say that it aids weight loss.
Eat produce high in cryptoxanthin content. For now, cryptoxanthin may be best supplemented as 5 servings per day of fruits and vegetables – namely pumpkin, sweet red peppers, and papaya – until research suggests an effective supplemental dosage.
- Burri BJ. Beta-cryptoxanthin as a source of vitamin A. J Sci Food Agric. 2015 Jul;95(9):1786-94. ↩
- Park G, Horie T, et al. Daily oral intake of β-cryptoxanthin ameliorates neuropathic pain. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2017 Jan 23:1-4. ↩
- Shirakura Y, Takayanagi K, et al. β-cryptoxanthin suppresses the adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 cells via RAR activation. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2011;57(6):426-31. ↩
- Bonet ML, Canas JA, et al. Carotenoids in Adipose Tissue Biology and Obesity. Subcell Biochem. 2016;79:377-414. ↩
- Takayanagi K. Prevention of Adiposity by the Oral Administration of β-Cryptoxanthin. Front Neurol. 2011 Nov 23;2:67. ↩
- Takayanagi K, Morimoto S, et al. Mechanism of visceral fat reduction in Tsumura Suzuki obese, diabetes (TSOD) mice orally administered β-cryptoxanthin from Satsuma mandarin oranges (Citrus unshiu Marc). J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Dec 14;59(23):12342-51. ↩
- Ni Y, Nagashimada M, et al. Prevention and reversal of lipotoxicity-induced hepatic insulin resistance and steatohepatitis in mice by an antioxidant carotenoid, β-cryptoxanthin. Endocrinology. 2015 Mar;156(3):987-99. ↩
- Ford ES, Will JC, et al. Diabetes mellitus and serum carotenoids: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Am J Epidemiol. 1999 Jan 15;149(2):168-76. ↩
- Montonen J, Knekt P, et al. Dietary antioxidant intake and risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004 Feb;27(2):362-6. ↩
- Coyne T, Ibiebele TI, et al. Diabetes mellitus and serum carotenoids: findings of a population-based study in Queensland, Australia. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;82(3):685-93. ↩
- Hirose A, Terauchi M, et al. Higher intake of cryptoxanthin is related to low body mass index and body fat in Japanese middle-aged women. Maturitas. 2017 Feb;96:89-94. ↩