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Effect of aqueous extract of alligator pepper (Zingiberaceae Aframomum melegueta) on gestational weight gain

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Increased gestational weight gain is associated with higher rates of complications of pregnancy and delivery. Gestational weight gain of 9-12 Kg has been associated with the best outcome for both mothers and infants. However, weight gain in most pregnant women is not within this range, perhaps due to the difficulty of calculating the exact quantity, timing and duration of dietary restriction in individual patients that would bring their weight gain within the normal range. There is therefore a need to develop a drug or food supplement that would reduce weight gain without causing adverse effects on the fetus. Aframomum melegueta is widely used in Nigeria by most people including pregnant women for various purposes. It is against this background that the present investigation examines the possibility of its beneficial effects on pregnancy, using Sprague Dawley rat as the animal model. Twenty female and ten male Sprague-Dawley rats of proven fertility from a pilot study were randomly mated in groups of two females and one male. Three days later, female rats in the experimental groups were given intra-peritoneal injections of 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 1.5 mg and 2 mg of aqueous extract of alligator pepper respectively while the control had 2 ml of distilled water. All rats were observed for 18-25 days. There was a significant [P<0.05] reduction in gestational weight gain of the experimental rats. The litters were not adversely affected. It is suggested that the active component of aqueous extract of alligator pepper be determined because of its beneficial effect of gestational weight gain reduction.
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165
Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences 24 (2): 165 -169 ©Physiological Society of Nigeria, 2009
Available online/abstracted at http://www.bioline.org.br/np; www.ajol.info/journals.njps; www.cas.org
EFFECT OF AQUEOUS EXTRACT OF ALLIGATOR PEPPER
(ZINGIBERACEAE AFRAMOMUM MELEGUETA) ON GESTATIONAL
WEIGHT GAIN
U. INEGBENEBOR*, M. I. EBOMOYI
2
K. A. ONYIA
1
, K. AMADI, and A. E.
AIGBIREMOLEN
2
Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria.
druteinegbenebor@yahoo.com, * Correspondence author
Department of Physiology
1
, School of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Benin City, Edo
State, Nigeria
Department of Pharmacology
2
, College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State,
Nigeria
Summary: Increased gestational weight gain is associated with higher rates of complications of
pregnancy and delivery. Gestational weight gain of 9-12 Kg has been associated with the best outcome
for both mothers and infants. However, weight gain in most pregnant
women is not within this range,
perhaps due to the difficulty of calculating the exact quantity, timing and duration of dietary restriction
in individual patients that would bring their weight gain within the normal range. There is therefore a
need to develop a drug or food supplement that would reduce weight gain without causing adverse
effects on the fetus. Aframomum melegueta is widely used in Nigeria by most people including
pregnant women for various purposes. It is against this background that the present investigation
examines the possibility of its beneficial effects on pregnancy, using Sprague Dawley rat as the animal
model. Twenty female and ten male Sprague-Dawley rats of proven fertility from a pilot study were
randomly mated in groups of two females and one male. Three days later, female rats in the
experimental groups were given intra-peritoneal injections of 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 1.5 mg and 2 mg of
aqueous extract of alligator pepper respectively while the control had 2 ml of distilled water.. All rats
were observed for 18-25 days. There was a significant (P<0.05) reduction in gestational weight gain of
the experimental rats. The litters were not adversely affected. It is suggested that the active component
of aqueous extract of alligator pepper be determined because of its beneficial effect of gestational
weight gain reduction.
Key words: Gestational weight gain, Aqueous Extract, Intra-peritoneal injection, Alligator Pepper,
Nutrition.
Introduction
In a study on Gestational weight gain and
pregnancy outcome in obese glucose tolerant
women, it was found that birth weight
increased significantly with increasing weight
gain, which was associated with significantly
higher rates of hypertension, caesarean section,
induction of labor and large for gestational age
infants. It was suggested that minimal
gestational weight gain might normalize birth
weight.(Jensen et al., 2005)
However, weight
gain reduction in pregnancy had been used in
the United States of America before 1960 in an
attempt to reduce pregnancy complications and
improve maternal and fetal outcome with
controversial results, largely due to low birth
weight. ( Abrams et al., 2000)
Further studies
showed that pregnancy weight gain within
the
Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommended
range (9-12 Kg) was associated with the best
outcome
for both mothers and infants.
However, weight gain in most pregnant
women
is not within the IOM's range, ( Abrams et al.,
2000)
perhaps due to the difficulty of
calculating the exact quantity, timing and
duration of dietary restriction in individual
patients that would bring their gestational
weight gain within the normal range. There is
therefore a need to develop a drug or a food
supplement that would reduce gestational
weight gain without causing adverse effects on
the fetus.
Alligator pepper is widely used by many
cultures in Nigeria for various purposes. It is
used for entertainment, where it is served along
with Kola nuts, for religious rites by diviners
attempting to invoke spirits and priests of the
Iyayi (Faith) Society of Nigeria, who serve
alligator pepper along with kola nuts to
believers as communion. It is also an
ingredient in pepper soup, a spicy delight in
parts of WestAfrica.(Personal observation) The
constituents of the essential oil, extracted from
166
Alligator pepper include humulene,
caryophyllene, their oxides, and non-
terpenoids. (Ajaiyieoba & Ekundayo, 1999)
Pregnant women are not excluded from eating
this widely used substance. It is against this
background that the present investigation
examines the possibility of beneficial effects of
Aframomum melegueta on pregnancy, using
Sprague-dawley rat as the animal model.
Materials and method
Pilot Study
Eighteen (18), six months old adult male
and 36, six months old female Sprague-dawley
rats of the same strain; each weighing 125g,
were obtained from the Animal House, College
of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University,
Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria. The rats were
kept in standard cages in a well ventilated
room for acclimatization, for a period of two
weeks during which, normal rat chow and
clean drinking water were given to the rats ad
libitum.
After the acclimatization period, a pilot
study was carried out thus; thirty six (36)
female rats were randomly allocated to
eighteen cages (A-S) so that there were two
female rats in each cage. Thereafter, eighteen
male rats were randomly allocated to the
eighteen cages containing the female rats so
that each cage then contained one male rat and
two female rats. After three days, during which
mating was expected to have occurred between
the male and the female rats, the males were
separated from the females and labeled, MA,
MB ...to MS, depending on which of the cages
A to S, they had been previously placed. The
females were then put in separate maternity
cages and labeled A
1,
A
2;
B
1
, B
2
; ... to S
1
, S
2
depending on which of the cages A to S, they
had been previously placed. The female rats
were observed for 18 to 25 days in their
separate maternity cages. Both male and
female rats continued to be fed with rat chow
and clean drinking water ad libitum throughout
the duration of the experiment. After delivery,
the female rats were allowed to breastfeed their
litters for three weeks before being selected for
the experimental study.
Selection of Rats for Experimental Study
The selection of rats for the experimental
study was based on the pregnancy outcome of
the pilot study as shown in Table 1. Twenty
female and ten male Sprague dawley rats of
proven fertility were selected based on the
following criteria; all fertile females (B
1
, C
1
,
D
1
, E
1
, E
2
; F
1
, F
2
; G
1
, I
1,
I
2 ,
J
1
, J
2
, K
I
, L
2
, M
1
,
M
2
, N
2
, P
1
, Q
2
, R
2
and males (ME, MF, MI,
MJ and MM), which successfully impregnated
both of their partners as well as (MC, MD,
MK, MP and MQ ), whose partners (C
1
, D
1
,
K
1
,
,
P
1,
and Q
2
delivered a higher number of
liters than those (B1, G1, L2, N2 and R2) of
MB, MG, ML, MN and MR
.
Experimental Animals
Twenty female and ten male Sprague
dawley rats of proven fertility (as observed in
the Pilot Study) were used for this study. The
rats were then eight months old and were kept
in cages in a well ventilated laboratory. The
rats were fed with normal rat chow and clean
water ad libitum.
Preparation of Aqueous extract of Alligator
pepper
Twenty milligrams (20 mg) of granulated
alligator pepper was mixed with 20 ml of
distilled water and was allowed to stand for 2
hours. Thereafter, the mixture was filtered with
a filter paper into a clean beaker.
Quantification of Aqueous extract of Alligator
pepper
Since 20 ml of aqueous extract was
obtained from 20 mg of granulated Alligator
pepper, I ml of aqueous extract is obtainable
from 1 mg of granulated Alligator.
The twenty selected female rats of proven
fertility from the pilot study were randomly
allocated into five groups 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Each
group, which consisted of four female rats, was
kept in two separate cages so that there were
ten cages (1A, 1B; 2A, 2B; 3A, 3B; 4A, 4B;
and 5A, 5B) for the five groups. Group 1 was
labeled as the Control group while groups 2, 3,
4, and 5 were labeled as the Experimental
groups. The ten selected male rats of proven
fertility from the pilot study were randomly
allocated to the ten cages containing five
groups of female rats so that each cage
contained two female rats and one male rat.
They were left in their various cages for three
days in order to allow mating to occur. After
three days, males were withdrawn from the
females. The male rats were put in separate
cages labeled M
1
A, M
1
B, M
2
A, M
2
B, M
3
A,
M
3
B, M
4
A, M
4
B and ,M
5
A , M
5
B , based on
the group each male rat mated with.
The female rats were also separated into
different cages so that each female rat
occupied a separate maternity cage. The
female rats were then labeled in such a way
that female rats in the various groups 1, 2, 3, 4,
and 5 became 1A
1
, 1A
2
, IB
1
, IB
2
; 2A
1
, 2A
2
,
2B
1
, 2B
2
; 3A
1
, 3A
2
, 3B
1
, 3B
1
; 4A
1
, 4A
2
, 4B
1
,
4B
2
and 5A
1
, 5A
2
, 5B
1
5B
2
respectively. Each
female rat then weighed 150g.
U. INEGBENEBOR et al
167
Administration of Distilled Water to the
Control group
The female rats in the control group (1A
1
,
1A
2
, IB
1
, IB
2
) were fed with normal rat chow
and clean drinking water ad libitum throughout
the duration of the experiment. They were
administered intra-peritoneal injection of 2 ml
of distilled water. Aqueous extract of Alligator
pepper was not administered to the female rats
in the control group. They were observed in
their separate maternity cages for 18 to 25
days.
Administration of Aqueous Extract of Alligator
Pepper to the Experimental Groups
Soon after the males were withdrawn
from the females, the female rats in the
Experimental groups were given intra-
peritoneal injections of various doses of
aqueous extract of Alligator pepper as shown
in Table 2. The doses were selected using the
toxic doses observed by Igwe et al. as a
benchmark. ( Igwe et al, 1999). The rats in the
experimental groups were fed with normal rat
chow and clean drinking water throughout the
duration of the experiment. They were also
observed for 18 to 25 days in their separate
maternity cages.
Measurement of Weight of Litters
A transparent plastic dish was placed on a
top loading balance. The meter of the top
loading balance was then reset at zero. All
litters from a particular rat were placed into the
plastic dish and their total weight was
recorded. The mean weight of litters from a
particular rat was calculated by dividing the
total litter weight by the number of litters.
Data Analysis was done using cross tabulation,
bar chart and Daniel Soper’s free software for
calculating One Way Analysis of Variance
(ANOVA) at 5% level of significance. (Soper,
2009)
Results
The results of the effect of aqueous
extract of Alligator pepper on pregnancy
outcome in Sprague dawley rats are as shown
in Table 2. There was a significant difference
in weight gain between female rats in the
control and experimental groups 2, 3, 4 and 5
(P=0.002, 0.001, 0.0001 and 0.001)
respectively. There was no weight gain in
female rats that did not litter.
Except for group 5 with average litter weight
of 4.55g in the experimental group, the average
weight of litters was within close range, (5.30-
5.56)g. It should be noted that apart from the
significant (P = 0.0001) lower birth weight of
the off-springs from Experimental group 5, the
mean birth weights of off-springs of other rats
(5.50g, 5..40g and 5.35g) in the experimental
groups 2, 3, 4 were not significantly different (
P= 0.77; 0.27 and 0.20 respectively) from that
of the controls (5.53g).
Table 2: Effect of Aqueous Extract of Alligator pepper on Gestational weight gain and Birth weight of Litters in
Rats n=no of rats that littered in the group, * =Statistically significant
Group Status
Dose of
Aqueous extract of
Alligator pepper
(I mg =I ml
Weight of alligator
pepper per Kg body
weight
Mean weight gain ± SD
P-
value
Mean number of
Litters
Duration of Pregnancy
Mean weight of Litters
± SD
P-value
1 (n=4) Control
rats
Nil Nil 187.5
±31.82
9 24 days 5.53 ± 0.13
2 (n=3)
Experimental rats
0.5 mg 3.3
mg
75 ±0 0.002
*
6 23 days 5.50 ± 0.12 0.77
3 (n=3) 1.0 mg 6.7
mg
50 ±0 0.001
*
7 23 days 5.4 ± 0.15 0.27
4 (n=4) 1.5 mg 10
mg
75 ±0 0.000
*
9 24 days 5.35 ± 0.21 0.20
5 (n=3) 2.0 mg 13.3
mg
50 ±0 0.001
*
11 23 days 4.55 ± 0.17 0.0001*
Effect of Alligator pepper on Gestational Weight Gain
168
Table 1: Selection of Rats for Experimental Study
S/N Female
Rat
Male
Partner
Duration of Pregnancy No of Litters
delivered
SELECTION
1.
A1 MA NIL NIL
2.
A2 MA NIL NIL
3.
B1 MB 23 DAYS 5 BI SELECTED
4.
B2 MB NIL NIL
5.
C1 MC 23 DAYS 6 CI MC SELECTED
6.
C2 MC NIL NIL
7.
D1 MD 24 DAYS 6 D1 MD SELECTED
8.
D2 MD NIL NIL
9.
E1 ME 23 DAYS 5 E1, ME SELECTED
10.
E2 ME 23 DAYS 7 E2, ME SELECTED
11.
F1 MF 25 DAYS 6 F1, MF SELECTED
12.
F2 MF 25 DAYS 7 F2, MF SELECTED
13.
G1 MG 23 DAYS 5 G1 SELECTED
14.
G2 MG NIL NIL
15.
H1 MH NIL NIL
16.
H2 MH NIL NIL
17.
I1 MI 23 DAYS 5 I1, M1 SELECTED
18.
I2 MI 23 DAYS 6 12, M1 SELECTED
19.
JI MJ 24 DAYS 7 J1, MJ SELECTED
20.
J2 MJ 25 DAYS 8 J2, MJ SELECTED
21.
K1 MK 23 DAYS 7 K1, MK SELECTED
22.
K2 MK NIL NIL
23.
L1 ML NIL NIL
24.
L2 ML 23 DAYS 4 L2 SELECTED
25.
M1 MM 24 DAYS 6 M1, MM SELECTED
26.
M2 MM 24 DAYS 8 M2, MM SELECTED
27.
N1 MN NIL NIL
28.
N2 MN 25 DAYS 5 N2 SELECTED
29.
O1 MO NIL NIL
30.
O2 MO NIL NIL
31.
P1 MP 23 DAYS 8 P1, MP SELECTED
32.
P2 MP NIL NIL
33.
Q1 MQ NIL NIL
34.
Q2 MQ 24 DAYS 6 Q2, MQ SELECTED
35.
R1 MR NIL NIL
36.
R2 MR 23 DAYS 5 R2 SELECTED
Discussion
Researchers have found that Alligator
pepper has over 27 constituents, which are
mainly humulene, caryophyllene and the
oxides of these derivatives. (Ajaiyieoba and
Ekundayo, 1999)
The active agent among
these derivatives could not be determined,
hence the need to use whole seeds of Alligator
pepper in experiments determining the effect
of Alligator pepper on pregnancy. However,
there were doubts at the beginning of this
research work on whether the rats would
actually eat rat chow mixed with Alligator
pepper. This necessitated the use of intra-
peritoneal injection of aqueous extract of
Alligator pepper. Bolus consumption of 350
mg of Alligator pepper causes blurring of
vision. (Igwe et al., 1999)
This dose of
Alligator pepper was therefore used as a bench
mark. Three hundred and fifty milligrams (350
mg) of Alligator pepper in a 50 kg woman
translated to 7 milligrams per Kilogram (7
mg/Kg) body weight. Approximately 6.7
mg/Kg body weight was therefore used as the
50 percentile dose for the experiment. The
range was therefore made to be between 3.3
mg/ Kg bodyweight to 13.3 mg/ Kg body
weight. None of the rats had serious side
effects with the range of doses used. However,
as seen in Table 2, there was a significant
reduction in gestational weight-gain of the rats
(P<0.05) in the experimental groups, when
compared to that in the control group
irrespective of the dose that was used. The
average weight gain in human pregnancy is
about 12.5 Kg.( Milller, 2007) The gestational
weight gain in rats was 175-200g in the control
group and 50-75g in the experimental groups.
The weight gain is not only due to the
products of conception but also increased
water, lipid and protein retention.( Milller,
2007) This was the case in this experiment as
the weight gain was in excess of the total birth
U. INEGBENEBOR et al
169
weight of litters in the control group.
Reduction in gestational weight gain, in
the experimental group, could have been due to
the loss of appetite that followed the intra-
peritoneal injection, or a diuretic effect of the
caryophyllene component of Alligator pepper.
Placebo effect was ruled out in this study by
the intra-peritoneal administration of 2 ml of
distilled water to the rats in the control group.
The actual cause of weight gain reduction is
subject to further studies with better facilities.
It should be noted that the reduction in
weight gain did not adversely affect the weight
of the litters in the experimental group. It is
believed that the aqueous extract of Alligator
pepper did not affect the morphology, genetic
or reproductive capability of the off-springs of
the rats in the experimental group as they were
apparently normal and were able to reproduce
effectively in a follow up study, which is not
presented here. It should be noted that there
was a dose dependent and progressively
significant decrease in birth weight of
offsprings of the experimental rats from 5.50g
in group 2 (p=0.77) to 4.55g in group
5.(p=0.0001) as shown in Table 2.
It should also be noted that the rats,
which had 2mg of aqueous extract of Alligator
pepper had the highest mean number of off-
springs (11) with mean birth weight of 4.55g.
However, the birth weights of babies in
multiple gestation are usually lower than those
in singleton pregnancies.( Bush & Pernoll,
2007)
Weight gain in excess of 0.75 Kg per
week may be predictive of pre-eclampsia.
( Bush & Pernoll, 2007) Blood pressure
measurement was beyond the scope of this
study. Diagnosis of pre-eclampsia is based on
elevation of blood pressure and proteinuria.
Since gestational weight gain above 12
Kg is related to higher rates of adverse
maternal and fetal outcome ((Jensen et al.,
2005), and dietary restriction during pregnancy
has led to a slightly increased rate of perinatal
mortality, ( Abrams et al., 2000) it is suggested
that further research, if ethically permissible,
should be done to determine if gestational
weight gain could be reduced to the acceptable
IOM’s range, using individualized doses of the
aqueous extract of Alligator pepper.
Conclusion
Intra-peritoneal injection of low doses
(13.3 mg/Kg body weight) of aqueous extract
of Alligator pepper (Aframomum melegueta)
causes reduction in gestational weight gain in
female Sprague dawley rats. It is suggested
that the active component of aqueous extract of
Alligator pepper be determined. Blood
pressure measurements may be included in
further studies on the gestational weight gain
reduction in order to determine the possible
use of aqueous extract of alligator pepper in
the prevention of pre-eclampsia in pregnant
women.
Acknowledgements
We are grateful to Vivian
Onolemhenmhen, Beatrice Oaikhena, Fortune
Ehiagwina and Mary Jane Erhiagbor, who
assisted with the day to day activities of this
study.
References
Abrams, B., Altman, S. L. and Pickett, K.
E.(2000). Pregnancy weight gain: still
controversial. American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition. 71(5): 1233S-1241s.
Ajaiyieoba, O.E and Ekundayo, O. (1999).
Essential oil constituents of Aframomum
melegueta (Roscoe) K. Schum. seeds
(alligator pepper) from Nigeria. Flavour
and Fragrance Journal. 1999; 14(2): 109-
111.
Bush, M.C. & Pernoll, M. L. (2007) Multiple
Pregnancy. In: Decherney, A.H., Nathan
L. Goodwin, T. M., Laufer, N. Eds.
Current Diagnosis and Treatment
Obstetrics and Gynecology. 10th Edition.
McGrawHill. New York. 301-310.
Igwe S.A.; Emeruwa I.C.; Modie J.A. (1999).
Ocular toxicity of Afromomum melegueta
(alligator pepper) on healthy Igbos of
Nigeria. Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
Elsevier. 65(3):203-206.
Jensen, D. M., Ovesen, P., Beck-Nielsen. H.,
Molsted-Pedreson,L., Sorenson, B., Vinter,
C. Damm P.(2005). Gestational weight
gain and pregnancy outcome in 481 obese
glucose tolerant women. Diabetic Care.
28(9):2118-2122.
Milller D. A. (2007).Hypertension in
Pregnancy. Decherney, A.H., Nathan L.
Goodwin, T. M., Laufer, N. Eds. Current
Diagnosis and Treatment Obstetrics and
Gynecology. 10th Edition. McGrawHill.
New York. 318-327.
Soper, D. (2009). One-Way ANOVA
Calculator (From Summary Data). Free
Statistics Calculators Website –Home.
www.danielsoper.com. Accessed: 14
December 2009.
Received: September 1, 2009
Accepted: December 18, 2009
Effect of Alligator pepper on Gestational Weight Gain
... It is also served along with kola nuts as entertainment in many cultures and as communion in Iyayi (Faith) Society of Nigeria. Pregnant women are not excluded from these practices [3]. ...
... In a previous study, intraperitoneally injected aqueous extract of alligator pepper was found to reduce gestational weight gain and litter weight without adverse effects on both mother rats and litters [3]. Since excessive intake of high glycemic index foods during pregnancy (maternal over-nutrition) is believed to predispose to the development of fetal macrosomia [11], this study was carried out to determine the effect of a locally available high glycemic index food ...
... Twenty (20) mg of granulated seeds of alligator was mixed thoroughly with 20 ml of distilled water, allowed to stand for 2 hours and filtered into a beaker. This filtrate was then administered to the pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats intraperitoneally as was previously reported by Inegbenebor and colleagues in 2009 [3]. Since 20 ml of aqueous extract was obtained from 20 mg of granulated seeds of alligator pepper, I ml. of aqueous extract is obtainable from 1 mg of granulated seeds of alligator pepper. ...
... Some of the reported bioactive effects include abortifacient properties in pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats [3], attenuation of gestational weight gain in pregnant Sprague Dawley rats [4], reduced litter size of pregnant Sprague Dawley rats [4] and hypoglycemic effects in non-diabetic and alloxan induced diabetic male albino rats [5]. ...
... Some of the reported bioactive effects include abortifacient properties in pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats [3], attenuation of gestational weight gain in pregnant Sprague Dawley rats [4], reduced litter size of pregnant Sprague Dawley rats [4] and hypoglycemic effects in non-diabetic and alloxan induced diabetic male albino rats [5]. ...
... The aim of this study was to determine the metabolic and hormonal changes that may explain the action of Alligator pepper in inducing first-trimester abortion [ 3 ], attenuation of gestational weight gain , reduction of litter size in pregnant Sprague Dawley rats [4], and anti-lactogenic activities as reported by JACOBS PUBLISHERS consisting of two experiments, which ran concurrently. The first experiment was to determine the changes in fasting serum levels of insulin, progesterone, estradiol, prolactin and blood glucose in pregnant Sprague Dawley rats, on days 7, 14 and 21 of pregnancy while the second experiment was to determine the modifications made by saline extract of alligator pepper on fasting serum levels of insulin, progesterone, estradiol, prolactin and blood glucose in pregnant Sprague Dawley rats on days 7, 14 and 21 of pregnancy. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study was carried out to determine the changes in the fasting levels of some reproductive and metabolic hormones and glucose in pregnancy, that are due to the effect of saline extract of Alligator pepper, with the aim of determining the probable physiological mechanisms for previously reported bioactive effects. This was a controlled cross sectional intervention study. Forty-five (45) pregnant Sprague Dawley rats were allocated into experimental groups B, C, and D and 15 non-pregnant Sprague Dawley rats were allocated to the control group A. The rats in groups A and B were injected with 13.3ml/Kg body weight of normal saline intra-peritoneally while the rats in groups C and D were injected intra-peritoneally with 6.7mg/Kg body weight and 13.3mg/ kg body weight of saline extract of Alligator Pepper respectively on day 4 of conception. Fasting blood glucose levels and fasting serum levels of insulin, progesterone, estradiol and prolactin were estimated on days 7, 14, and 21 of pregnancy. Observed differences between control and experimental groups were subjected to tests of significance of difference of means and p < 0.05 was considered significant. The findings in this study were significantly increased fasting blood glucose levels in all trimesters of pregnancy, reduced fasting serum insulin level in first trimester of pregnancy, reduced fasting serum progesterone levels in first and third trimesters of pregnancy, increased fasting serum estradiol levels in first and second trimesters of pregnancy and reduced serum prolactin level in the third trimester of pregnancy in Sprague Dawley rats.
... A slight but not significant decreased were observed in fetal body weight of extract-treated groups compared with the control. Gestational weight gain increased is associated with higher rates of complications of pregnancy and delivery [26] . In this study, from day 1 to day 19 of gestation, maternal weight gain remained slightly high in all the extract treated groups, but the difference was not significant compared with the negative control. ...
Article
Full-text available
E. chlorantha is widely used in African pharmacopeia and many patients, including pregnant women, use the bark aqueous extract to treat many diseases. The present work was carried out to investigate the possible reproductive and developmental toxicity that could result when the extract was given to pregnant rats during the period of organogenesis. Male rats were crossed overnight each with virgin females. Upon confirmation of mating (day 1 of pregnancy), E. chlorantha extract (0, 250, 500 and 1000 mg/kg BW) was administered once daily to four groups of 16 pregnant rats by gavage for 10 consecutive days (days 6-15 of gestation). On day 19 of gestation, 8 rats per group were sacrificed. The remaining females were allowed to deliver and pup development followed up to weaning. No dam deaths or abortions were recorded during experimentation. On day 19 of gestation, dam body and organ weights and fetal characteristics in extract-treated groups did not vary compared with controls. At delivery, gestation length and neonatal developmental parameters did not significantly varied in extract-treated groups compared with control. At the extract doses of 500-1000 mg/kg, persistent cystic glandular hyperplasia was observed in the uteri, as well as increased glandular epithelial cell proliferation. The extract of E. chlorantha in general did not present visible toxic effects in dams and pups treated with 250 and 500 mg/kg dose. Glandular hyperplasia recorded at 500-1000 mg/kg could be considered as toxicity signs. This suggests that the extract must be taken with precaution by pregnant women.
... melegueta pepper, and alligator pepper, aframomum melegueta is among the species that belong in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. It is most abundantly in the countries of Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Togo, and Nigeria (Inegbenebor 2009). ...
Technical Report
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Aframomum melegueta is an herbaceous plant consumed as an edible spice and traditionally used to treat common ailments in Nigeria , such as body pains, diarrhea, sore throat, catarrh and rheumatism. Based on current reserach, different parts of the plant possess specific secondary metabolites such as flavonoids, phenolic compounds, alkaloids, tannins, terpenoids, saponins, and cardiac glycosides that have healing potential and medicinal and therapeutic purposes. It has polyphenolic content flavonoids; which is comparatively high to other African spices Aframomum melegueta has the ability to lower body fat percentage, and decreased waist-hip ratio without any harmful side effects.. The uses of Aframomum melegueta (Grains of Paradise) appears to limitless ranging from the treatment of cancer,diabetic and inflammation.The purpose of this review of geared toward an eye open to Aframomum melegueta (Grains of Paradise) it limitless efficacy and therapeutic abilities as a new tread of natural antibiotics for the developing country like Nigeria, which is less expensive and very available as a source for the treatment of infection
... Intra-peritoneally injected low doses of the crude extract of alligator pepper during the first trimester has been found to reduce litter weight of pregnant Sprague Dawley rats, without affecting morphology, genetic or reproductive capability of the off-springs of the rats in the experimental group as they were apparently normal and were able to reproduce effectively in a follow up study [29]. Intraperitoneally injected crude extract of alligator pepper has also been found to reduce litter weight in Alloxan induced diabetic Sprague Dawley rats [30] and high glycemic index diet fed Sprague Dawley rats [31]. ...
Article
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Fetal macrosomia commonly makes vaginal delivery hazardous to mothers and their babies. Furthermore it often increases the rate of obstetric intervention and cost of child birth. In addition, it poses a lifelong morbidity due to obesity, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and coronary artery disease to affected babies and may also predispose to a vicious cycle of pre-gravid obesity and macrosomic pregnancies when affected female babies reach reproductive age. The need to spare women and babies of the hazards of the outcome of macrosomic pregnancies and lifelong morbidity states respectively cannot be overemphasized, This article discusses various ways of controlling the known risk factors, inculcating behavioral modification of nutritional habits to individuals and communities using social intervention model of health education as well as proposing the development of specific protection, to women who are predisposed to macrosomic pregnancies.
... In a previous study, it was found that intraperitoneal injection of aqueous extract of alligator pepper was capable of reducing gestational weight gain and litter size of pregnant Sprague Dawley rats without adverse effects on the mother rats and the off springs. [39] This effect was also observed in alloxan induced diabetic Sprague Dawley rats in another study. [40] In yet another study, it was suggested that the active constituent of the alligator pepper with this activity is Beta caryophyllene. ...
Article
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Background: Subsequent to the rising cesarean section rates worldwide over the past three decades, this study was done to determine the risk factors that predispose to fetal macrosomia with the aim of determining the intervention strategies for preventing fetal macrosomia dependent cesarean sections in Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: A record review of the birth weights of 2410 babies delivered in St Philomena's Hospital, a survey of the nutritional habits of 75 mothers of macrosomic babies attending postnatal clinic within the study period, and an assessment of the level of awareness' of the fasting blood glucose status of 75 mothers of macrosomic babies and 330 pregnant women with interviewer administered questionnaire were done. Results: The prevalence rate for fetal macrosomia in St Philomena's Hospital was 8.4% during the study period. Cesarean section rate among women with fetal macrosomia was 39.2% compared to a rate of 18% in women who gave birth to babies with normal birth weight. It was also found that most pregnant women and mothers of macrosomic babies were not aware of their fasting blood glucose status. Majority of mothers of macrosomic babies preferred high glycemic index diets and also consumed sugary beverages on daily basis. Conclusion: Fetal macrosomia is a preventable outcome of pregnancy in the presence of moderate dietary restriction, low glycemic index diets as well as the inclusion of dietary fiber in the diet of pregnant women. Furthermore, a lower incidence of fetal macrosomia is capable of reducing cesarean section rates in Nigeria.
... Alligator pepper is a spice that is utilized in medicine due to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties (Adegoke et al., 2002). Inegbenebor et al. (2009), reported on the effect of alligator pepper on first trimester pregnancy in Sprague dawley rats. Information on the medicinal, antimicrobial and chemical composition of this pepper is enormous while there is little information on its processing. is important in designing, formulating, developing and analyzing new scientific studies and products. ...
Article
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This study was conducted to determine effect of drying temperature and duration on selected physical properties of climbing black pepper (Piper nigrum) and alligator pepper (Aframomum melanguata) using response surface approach. Drying temperature (55.86, 60, 70, 80, 84.14 °C) and duration (2.59, 3, 4, 5, 5.414 hours) were variables while size (length, breadth, thickness), mass, sphericity, aspect ratio, moisture content, moisture loss, colour and bulk density were responses. Mass, density and moisture loss of climbing pepper were significantly affected by drying temperature and duration at 5% level of significance. Other climbing pepper physical properties under study were not influenced significantly. All alligator pepper properties considered were not significant (p > 0.05). Climbing pepper mass, density and moisture loss varied between 1.55 to 6.37 g, 0.17 to 0.59 g/ml and 31.1 to 84.0% respectively.
Article
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Non-alcoholic still beverages were prepared from palm sugar, Aframomum melegueta pepper, and citric acid, and their physico-chemical, nutritional, antioxidative, and sensory properties were examined in order to determine their suitability as functional refreshing drinks of good nutritional value. Results for titrable acidity, pH, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF), and antioxidant capacity (total phenolic content, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging activity, and reducing power), vitamin C, and carbohydrate content indicate that the beverage formulations had suitable chemical, nutritional, and antioxidant characteristics, and may be functional. Sensory evaluation of the formulations showed that they were acceptable and refreshing, thus presenting attractive ways of delivering the health benefits of oil palm sugar and Aframomum melegueta pepper.
Article
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Overweight and obesity are two conditions which are preventable. Their fundamental causes are energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. In this study, thirty two albino rats of average weight 165±15 g were assigned into eight groups and the effects of three spices; Afromomum melegueta (AM), Zingiber officinale (ZO) and Piper nigrum (PN),on rats fed with High Lipid Diet (HLD) were investigated. Rats fed with HLD without treatment showed significant increase (p<0.05) in body weight and levels of Total Cholesterol (CHOL), Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and Triglyceride (TG) when compared to the control rats. Whereas, these significant increases were not observed in rats fed with HLD treated with aqueous extracts of AM, ZO and PN at 400 mg/kg b.wt. for 21 days. Extracts also improved the lipid profile of Normal Diet (ND)-fedcompared to the untreated HLD-fed rats. All extracts had no significant effects (p>0.05) on T-protein and albumin while a significant decrease was observed in % Packed Cell Volume (PCV) and White Blood Cell (WBC) count of all groups when compared to the control except for HLD-fed rats treated with ZO which showed no significant change in its level of PCV. All extracts improved the Atherogenic index (AI) of treated rats. The study therefore revel that aqueous extracts of AM, ZO and PN can be used in weight management as well as in improvement of lipid profile.
Article
Context: The African genus Aframomum (Zingiberaceae) is a group of diverse tropical plants frequently collected yet largely neglected taxonomically. The current and unprecedented loss of species due to man-made habitat destruction and climate change adds a desperate urgency not only to understand the phylogenetics, chemotaxonomy and biology, but also to preserve the quickly disappearing species. Objectives: The present systematic review reports on the research progress in phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of Aframomum species. Methodology: Scientific databases such as MedSci, PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar and Web of Knowledge were used to retrieve publications (from the year 1990 to 2014) related to Aframomum plants, isolated compounds and their bioactivity, phytochemistry and toxicology. The keywords combinations for the search were: Aframomum; chemotaxonomy, phylogenetics, pharmacology and bioactive metabolites and toxicology. A total of 71 research articles that report on the biological activity of extracts and chemical constituents were recovered and presented in this review. Results: Most published data related to the potential of Aframomum melegueta, a medicinal plant from West and Central Africa. The potential of phenols and terpenoids isolated from Aframomum plants were generally much better documented than that of arylalkanoids. Conclusion: Aframomum genus represents an enormous resource for novel compounds with a range of medicinal properties. However, these plants are under-researched and their conservation is poor. To unravel their full potential, efforts should be strengthened throughout the continent to establish the taxonomy, preserve the genus and explore novel medicinal properties.
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To investigate the effect of gestational weight gain in obese glucose-tolerant women. We performed a historical cohort study of 481 women with prepregnancy BMI > or = 30 kg/m2 and a normal 2-h 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) during the third trimester (according to World Health Organization criteria). Data on OGTT results and clinical outcomes were collected from medical records. Four groups were defined according to weight gain: group 1, <5.0 kg (n = 93); group 2, 5.0-9.9 kg (n = 134); group 3, 10.0-14.9 kg (n = 132); and group 4, > or = 15.0 kg (n = 122). Birth weight increased significantly with increasing weight gain (mean grams +/- SD): group 1, 3,456 +/- 620; group 2, 3,624 +/- 675; group 3, 3,757 +/- 582; and group 4, 3,784 +/- 597 (P < 0.001). The birth weight in group 1 was similar to that of the background population of primarily normal-weight women (3,478 g). In multivariate analyses, increasing weight gain was associated with significantly higher rates of hypertension (OR 4.8 [95% CI for group 4 vs. group 1: 1.7-13.1]), cesarean section (3.5 [1.6-7.8]), induction of labor (3.7 [1.7-8.0]), and large-for-gestational-age infants (4.7 [2.0-11.0]). There was no difference in rates of small-for-gestational-age infants. Significant predictors for birth weight (determined by multiple linear regression) were gestational weight gain, 2-h OGTT result, pre-gestational BMI, maternal age, gestational age, and smoking. Increasing weight gain in obese women is associated with increasing pregnancy complications. Our data suggest that minimal gestational weight gain might normalize birth weight. Prospective studies should be performed to clarify the safety of recommending limited gestational weight gain.
Article
The composition of the essential oil isolated from the seeds of Aframomum melegueta (Roscoe) K. Schum. by hydrodistillation was characterized by means of gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS). A total of 27 compounds constituting 98.6% of the volatile oil were identified. Two sesquiterpene hydrocarbons: humulene and caryophyllene made up 82.6% of the volatile oil, whilst their oxides amounted to a further 9.0%. Seventeen other mono- and sesquiterpenes accounted for only 1% of the volatile oil. Five non-terpenoids were detected in trace amounts only (
Article
Afromomum melegueta is an ubiquitous specie of the family Zingiberaecea. It is a very popular spice used mainly as food, in brewing, and in veterinary and traditional medicines. The effect of acute consumption of A. melegueta seeds on some visual parameters was studied with a view to determining the adverse ocular effects. Results showed that bolus consumption of 0.35 g of A. melegueta seeds by 10 healthy male Igbos age 30-35 and body weight 60-68 kg increased the near point of convergence (NPC) by 17.2% and reduced the amplitude of accommodation (AA) by 9.2% without affecting the pupil size and the visual acuity. The increased NPC leads to doubling of vision while the reduction or loss of accommodation would lead to blurring of vision both synergising to impair vision at least transiently. Non-specific mechanism of action or papaverine-like activity is suggested.
Article
During the 20th century, recommendations for maternal weight gain in pregnancy were controversial, ranging from rigid restriction to encouragement of ample gain. In 1990, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended weight-gain ranges with the primary goal of improving infant birth weight. These guidelines were widely adopted but not universally accepted. Critics have argued that the IOM's recommendations are unlikely to improve perinatal outcomes and may actually increase the risk of negative consequences to both infants and mothers. We systematically reviewed studies that examined fetal and maternal outcomes according to the IOM's weight-gain recommendations in women with a normal prepregnancy weight. These studies showed that pregnancy weight gain within the IOM's recommended ranges is associated with the best outcome for both mothers and infants. However, weight gain in most pregnant women is not within the IOM's ranges. All of the studies reviewed were observational and there is a compelling need to conduct experimental studies to examine interventional strategies to improve maternal weight gain with the objective of optimizing health outcomes.
Hypertension Pregnancy
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seeds (alligator pepper) from Nigeria Flavour and Fragrance Journal Multiple Pregnancy
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Essential oil constituents of Aframomum melegueta (Roscoe) K. Schum. seeds (alligator pepper) from Nigeria. Flavour and Fragrance Journal
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Ajaiyieoba, O.E and Ekundayo, O. (1999). Essential oil constituents of Aframomum melegueta (Roscoe) K. Schum. seeds (alligator pepper) from Nigeria. Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 1999; 14(2): 109-111.
Gestational weight gain and pregnancy outcome in 481 obese glucose tolerant women. Diabetic Care
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Jensen, D. M., Ovesen, P., Beck-Nielsen. H., Molsted-Pedreson,L., Sorenson, B., Vinter, C. Damm P.(2005). Gestational weight gain and pregnancy outcome in 481 obese glucose tolerant women. Diabetic Care. 28(9):2118-2122.