The cholesterol lowering mechanisms of Morinda citrifolia L. (Noni): A mechanistic investigation and case study involving hypercholesterolemic nonsmoking subjects

AGFD 146

Afa K. Palu, afap@tni.com1, Ashley N Brown2, Brett J West, brett_west@tni.com3, Jarakae C. Jensen3, Shixin Deng, shixin_deng@tni.com3, and Norman Kaluhiokalani2. (1) Noni Benefits Research, Tahitian Noni International Research Center, 737 East 1180 South, American Fork, UT 84003, (2) Exercise & Sports Science, BYU-Hawaii, 55-220 Kulanui Street, Laie, HI 96762, (3) Research and Development Department, Tahitian Noni International, 737 East 1180 South, American Fork, UT 84003
Morinda citrifolia L., commonly known as noni, belongs to the family Rubiaceae. Noni fruit juice has been traditionally used by traditional Polynesian healers, especially in Tonga, for a variety of ailments, including but not limited to suka (diabetes), kanisā (cancer), kauti (gout), langa kete (stomach ache), and other ailments (1). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects on noni fruit juice on cholesterol in vitro and in vivo in humans. To this end, enzyme inhibition assays were developed and a human pilot study consisting of non-smoking, hypercholesterolemia subjects was conducted. Our preliminary study indicates that the commercial brand TAHITIAN NONI® Juice (TNJ), and noni fruit juice concentrates (NFJC) inhibit HMG-CoA reductase and ACAT enzymes concentration-dependently. Similarly, TNJ and NFJC inhibit hepatic and intestinal ACAT enzymes in a concentration-dependent fashion. TNJ in a human clinical pilot study involving nonsmoking, hypercholesterolemic subjects, who are not currently taking cholesterol medications, consume 4 ounces of TNJ daily for 30 days; show that TNJ lowers the group average pre-test total cholesterol from 184.4 to 182.4, respectively, at the end of the trial while it increases the HDL/LDL from 0.36 to 0.37. From our results, noni fruit juice has the potential to lower cholesterol through the mechanisms of inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and hepatic/intestinal ACAT enzymes, acting as a dual inhibitor of both enzymes. Hence, a more elaborate human clinical trial involving more nonsmoking hypercholesterolemic subjects is warranted to assess the effectiveness of the dosages used in this pilot study. Concomitantly, noni fruit juice can also serve as a novel platform for isolating compounds that can be used for therapeutic treatment of hypercholesterolemia.