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Black pepper compound fights fat

Black pepper compound fights fat

Tuesday, May 8, 2012. In the April 18, 2012 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Korean researchers report that piperine, a pungent compound found in black pepper (Piper nigrum), helps block the formation of new fat cells, a process known as adipogenesis.

"Adipogenesis is a well-organized process regulated by adipogenic transcription factors, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma), sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) family, and CCAAT-enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) family," the authors write in their introduction. "Of these factors, PPAR-gamma has been focused on its role in adipocyte differentiation. In addition to being induced during adipogenesis, it is both necessary and sufficient for the process."

In addition to other benefits such as enhancing nutrient absorption in the digestive tract, black pepper has been found to reduce blood glucose and lipids. In the current study, Soo-Jong Um, Ji-Cheon Jeong and colleagues tested the effects of black pepper extract and piperine on cultured preadipocytes and found that both inhibited the cells' differentiation into mature fat cells. Expression of the genes for PPAR-gamma, SREBP-1c and C/EBP-beta were all found to be decreased, as was the binding of PPAR-gamma to a coactivator known as CREB-binding protein following the administration of either treatment. Piperine was also shown to repress LXR-alpha, another transcriptional factor that is involved in the induction of adipogenesis as well as the synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acids.

"Taken together, our findings suggest that piperine, a major component of black pepper, inhibits fat cell differentiation by down-regulating the transcriptional activity of PPAR-gamma (and LXR-alpha) and suppressing the expression of PPAR-gamma (and LXR-alpha), thus leading to its potential use in the treatment of obesity-related diseases," the authors conclude.

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Supplementing with calcium and vitamin D results in decreased abdominal fat

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The results of two double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials described online on December 14, 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conclude a beneficial effect for calcium and vitamin D in reducing visceral adipose tissue—fat that accumulates in the abdomen which is associated with several metabolic disorders.

A team from Massachusetts General Hospital randomized 88 overweight or obese men and women to receive a glass of orange juice fortified with 350 milligrams calcium and 100 international units vitamin D3, or nonfortified orange juice three times daily for 16 weeks. A separate trial of 83 men and women evaluated the effects of calcium and vitamin D-fortified "lite" orange juice, which has fewer calories than regular orange juice. Physical examinations conducted at the beginning of the study and at four week intervals ascertained weight and waist circumference. Computed tomography (CT) examination of the abdomen assessed visceral and subcutaneous fat tissue before and after treatment.

While changes in body weight, body mass index and waist circumference did not differ significantly between those who received fortified and nonfortified juice in either trial, the reduction in visceral adipose tissue was significantly greater among those that received fortified beverages. For those who received regular orange juice, the reduction averaged 12.7 cm2 in comparison with a loss of 1.3 cm2 in the control group, and in the lite orange juice group, the addition of calcium and vitamin D resulted in a 13.1 cm2 reduction in visceral adipose tissue compared to 6.4 cm2 in the control group.

"The data underscore the possible role of these two nutrients in fat metabolism and support a potential role of calcium and vitamin D in the preferential and beneficial reduction of visceral abdominal tissue," the authors conclude.

Life Extension Magazine® May 2012 Issue Now Online!

Life Extension Magazine May, 2012

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