Biomedical and Biotechnology Research Journal (BBRJ)

: 2020  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 365--366

Hypolipidemic efficacy of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)

Chidiebere Emmanuel Okechukwu 
 Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chidiebere Emmanuel Okechukwu
Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome

How to cite this article:
Okechukwu CE. Hypolipidemic efficacy of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus).Biomed Biotechnol Res J 2020;4:365-366

How to cite this URL:
Okechukwu CE. Hypolipidemic efficacy of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus). Biomed Biotechnol Res J [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Jan 26 ];4:365-366
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Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.) is an essential tropical vegetable; it belongs to the Malvaceae family.[1] Okra is deemed as an important crop because of the importance of its leaves, buds, flowers, pods, stems, and seeds in complementary and traditional medicines in Asia and West Africa.[1] Okra is a staple food in West Africa, and it is mostly used to prepare a soup called “okra soup.” Okra is rich in carbohydrate, amino acid, lipid, dietary fiber, minerals, Vitamin A, C, E, K, folate, choline, β-carotene, and niacin.[1] Numerous bioactive elements such as polyphenolic compounds, especially oligomeric catechins and quercetin, are present in some parts of okra. Several studies have shown that okra has hypolipidemic, antidiabetic, immunomodulatory, gastroprotective, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties.[1],[2]

Wang et al. examined the lipid-lowering effect of okra and its association with gene expression of numerous crucial mechanisms involved in lipid homeostasis. They randomly assigned male C57BL/6 mice in three groups and fed them with a hyperlipidemic diet or two hyperlipidemic diets complemented with 1% or 2% okra powder for 8 weeks; the outcomes of their experiment show that 1% or 2% dose of okra powder reduced serum and hepatic total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and improved fecal excretion of bile acids in male Wistar rats.[3] The outcome of gene expression analysis showed that okra upregulated cholesterol 7a-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) expression, downregulated expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP1c) and fatty acid synthase (FAS), with no effect on sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 (SREBP2), 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, low-density lipoprotein receptor, and carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1A.[3] Hypolipidemic activity of okra is facilitated most likely by upregulation of cholesterol degradation via CYP7A1 and by inhibition of lipogenesis via SREBP1c and FAS.[3] Okra demonstrated a solid bile acid-binding capacity in vitro, which may add to its hypolipidemic activity.[3] Majd et al. observed that okra supplement substantially reduced the elevated levels of total cholesterol and triacylglycerol in diabetic rats.[4]

Fan et al. analyzed the effects of ethanol extract of okra (EO) and its major flavonoids isoquercitrin and quercetin 3-O-gentiobioside on metabolic disorders in high-level-fat diet-induced obese mouse.[5] Fan et al. observed that obese mice treated with EO, isoquercitrin, and quercetin 3-O-gentiobioside had decreased blood glucose levels, serum insulin levels and enhanced glucose tolerance, moreover, their serum triglyceride levels were substantially decreased by EO and isoquercitrin treatment, total cholesterol levels in isoquercitrin and quercetin 3-O-gentiobioside treated mice were significantly decreased, interestingly EO and quercetin 3-O-gentiobioside exhibited antioxidant property in vitro.[5] Remarkably Majd et al.,[4] and Fan et al.,[5] discovered that oral administration of okra powder and EO, respectively, inhibited the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, a nuclear receptor transcription factor, which is an important regulator of lipid and glucose homeostasis, in high-fat diet-induced diabetic rats and in high-fat diet-induced obese C57BL/6 mice, respectively. However, human experimental studies are needed to substantiate the mechanisms behind the hypolipidemic effect of okra.

In conclusion, okra may possibly mitigate hyperlipidemia by inhibiting lipogenesis and increasing cholesterol degradation; thus, okra may serve as a dietary therapy for hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia. The use of okra as part of a pharmaceutical formulation or supplement could play an important in the clinical management of hyperlipidemia.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Ortaç D, Cemek M, Karaca T, Büyükokuroglu ME, Özdemir ZÖ, Kocaman AT, et al. In vivo anti-ulcerogenic effect of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) on ethanol-induced acute gastric mucosal lesions. Pharm Biol 2018;56:165-75.
2Esmaeilzadeh D, Razavi BM, Hosseinzadeh H. Effect of Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) on metabolic syndrome: A review. Phytother Res 2020;34:2192-202.
3Wang H, Chen G, Ren D, Yang ST. Hypolipidemic activity of okra is mediated through inhibition of lipogenesis and upregulation of cholesterol degradation. Phytother Res 2014;28:268-73.
4Majd NE, Tabandeh MR, Shahriari A, Soleimani Z. Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) improved islets structure, and down-regulated PPARs gene expression in pancreas of high-fat diet and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Cell J 2018;20:31-40.
5Fan S, Zhang Y, Sun Q, Yu L, Li M, Zheng B, et al. Extract of okra lowers blood glucose and serum lipids in high-fat diet-induced obese C57BL/6 mice. J Nutr Biochem 2014;25:702-9.