|Perkins Veazie, Penelope|
Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2008
Publication Date: 6/2/2008
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Wu, G., Arney, M., Collins, J.K., Siddiq, M., Dolan, K.D. 2008. Watermelon enhances arginine availability in an animal model of type-II diabetes [abstract]. HortScience. 43(3):624.
Technical Abstract: Watermelon fruit contain lycopene, a red pigment known for its ability to scavenge free hydroxyl radicals. L-Citrulline, an amino acid that acts as a vasodilator and is a precursor of L-arginine, is found in all cucurbits, but is most plentiful in watermelon. In a study with Zucker diabetic fatty rats, watermelon pomace (residual tissue following juice removal), synthetic arginine/citrulline, lycopene, or pectin were added to diets and effectiveness on cardiovascular biomarkers tested. Rats fed the pomace or arginine/citrulline had a lower blood glucose content, reduced fat accretion, and better aortic flexibility than other treatments. These results indicate that watermelon could improve cardiovascular health and improve glycemic control in an animal study, with effects most likely due to the citrulline/arginine component of watermelon. This data adds to the body of scientific evidence demonstrating a measurable dietary value of fruits and vegetables, and opens the possibility that watermelon may be useful in human clinical trials with populations at risk for some types of cardiovascular disease.