Posted on May 29, 2012, 6 a.m.
Black pepper is an abundant source of piperine, a compound that Korean researchers report blocks the formation of new fat cells.
A number of previous studies have suggested that black pepper may help to fight fat. Korean researchers have elucidated the biological mechanism by which piperine — the pungent-tasting compound that gives black pepper its characteristic taste – blocks the formation of new fat cells. Soo-Jong Um, from Sejong University (Korea), and colleagues completed laboratory studies and conducted computer modeling, finding that piperine interferes with the activity of genes that control the formation of new fat cells. In doing so, piperine may also set off a metabolic chain reaction that helps keep fat in check in other ways. The study authors submit that: "these results suggest that piperine, a major component of black pepper, attenuates fat cell differentiation by down-regulating [peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma] activity as well as suppressing [its] expression, thus leading to potential treatment for obesity-related diseases.”
Ui-Hyun Park, Hong-Suk Jeong, Eun-Young Jo, Taesun Park, Seung Kew Yoon, Eun-Joo Kim, Ji-Cheon Jeong, Soo-Jong Um. “Piperine, a Component of Black Pepper, Inhibits Adipogenesis by Antagonizing PPARγ Activity in 3T3-L1 Cells.” J. Agric. Food Chem., 2012, 60 (15), pp 3853–3860.