An Assessment of the Effect of Moringa Olifera Leaf Powder as a Nutritional Supplement in the Diet

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The Moringa oleifera (MO) leaf powder can be used as vegetable in the main diet or as a nutritional supplement. The MO plant is a good source of nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals, and these properties have been implicated in alleviating various cellular disorders. This work assesses the use of the MO leaf powder in the diet as a nutritional supplement. Three different concentrations of MO leaf powder supplemented diet (10% MOD, 20% MOD and 40% MOD) were fed to apparently healthy rats for 30, 60 and 90 days. Also low-protein diet and standard diet were supplemented with MO leaf powder respectively and fed to malnourished mice for 21 days. The effects of the MO supplemented diet on body weight, biochemical and haematological status were analyzed. There were no significant changes in the body weights. There were varied changes in the biochemical and haematological parameters measured for the different MO concentrations at the various time lines. Significant observation were measured, at day 30 in the levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) increased, triglyceride decreased, monocyte increased, red blood cell (RBC) increased, haemoglobin (HB) increased, haematocirt (HCT) increased, mean corpuscular volume (MCV) increased and mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH) decreased; while at day 60 in the levels of urea and white blood cell (WBC) increased and likewise at day 90 in the levels of fasting blood sugar (FBS) decreased, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) increased, monocyte decreased and platelet decreased. Similarly, the levels of serum ascorbic acid increased and malondialdehyde (MDA) decreased significantly in the 21 day. iii The results shows that dietary supplementation with MO leaf powder is relatively safe to the liver and kidneys, may be beneficial in the treatment of anaemia, boost ascorbic acid antioxidant activity and help prevent lipid peroxidation processes that are detrimental to body tissues. However, moderation is needed in the use of the MO leaf powder to prevent hypoglycaemia and spontaneous bleeding.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science