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Black pepper can reduce the risk of being overweight. Some contained condiments inhibit the production of fat cells and thus counteract the development of obesity, Korean researchers report in the journal "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry". Pepper has long been known for various positive health effects. The ingredients of the spice are considered stimulating for the metabolism and have traditionally also been used in the treatment of cholera and diarrhea. Korean researchers at Sejong University have now found that pepper can also counteract the development of obesity.
Active ingredient inhibits the growth of fat cells As part of their research, the scientists at Sejong University in Seoul had stimulated cultures of human cells to form fat cells, by analyzing the different growth of fat cells in different carrier media. If the carrier medium was mixed with the pepper seasoning piperine, the cultures formed significantly fewer fat cells than those of the comparison group without piperine, the researchers report in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry". Apparently, the ingredient in the pepper suppressed the activity of the genes that are used to convert the fat precursor cells into the fat cells, the scientists explain.
Responsible ingredients However, piperine only forms a share of five to ten percent in pepper, so that the overweight-inhibiting effect of the pepper can be classified as rather moderate. But the researchers discovered other components in spices that can have a preventive effect against overweight and obesity: carvacrol, thymol, eugenol and piperine. The "inhibitory effect was represented quantitatively by the total amount of lipid storage, the amount of triacylglycerol and the average lipid body size," write the Korean scientists.
Treating Obesity With Pepper Seasoning? The researchers hope that piperine could be used in a concentrated form in the future to treat obesity or various metabolic diseases. However, further studies would first have to clarify whether piperine can actually help prevent obesity. Additional research is needed to verify the current results, the researchers said in the study report. (fp)
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Image: Birgit H, Pixelio.de