Red Wine for Obesity Control?

red wine obesityGood news for wine drinkers: Researchers at Purdue University have discovered a compound in red wine that may keep fat cells from developing! The compound is found in red wine, grapes, and a few other fruits such blueberries and passion fruit.  It is similar in structure to resveratrol, a key ingredient in red wine that has been shown to combat cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases.  Resveratrol is converted to piceatannol after wine consumption.

The study author, Kee-Hong Kim, and his team found that piceatannol modifies the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis (the process in which early stage fat cells become mature fat cells). They found that there was a delay or complete inhibition of adipogenesis in the presence of piceatannol. The research showed that piceatannol binds to insulin receptors of immature fat cells in the first stage of development, which blocks insulin’s ability to control cell cycles, as well as activate genes that carry out further stages of fat cell formation. It basically blocks the pathways required in order for immature fat cells to mature and grow. Kim and the research team are also testing several other compounds to see if there are other beneficial structures found in natural ingredients. They hope to confirm the study by using an animal model of obesity. These findings could open a door to a potential new method of controlling obesity.

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A 2011 study found that a compound in blueberries may inhibit growth of fat cells.  The study found that polypenols in blueberries suppress adipocyte differentiation, which is the process in which a relatively unspecialized cell acquires specialized features of an adipocyte, an animal connective tissue cell specialized for the synthesis and storage of fat.


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