Black pepper – the ultimate seasoning champ – has turned out to be the more beneficial than just adding flavour to your food. In a recent study, it has been found that black pepper could also help one fight against obesity.
In a study conducted by Sri Venkateswara University, one of black pepper's compounds, Piperonal, was found to 'significantly' reduce the harmful effects of a high-fat diet when fed to rats.
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It showed that the rats that were given this as a supplement for six weeks had a lower body weight, body fat percentage and blood sugar levels along with stronger bones, as compared to the animals that were fed fatty foods only and no pepper.
Piperonal extracted from black pepper seeds was added to the rodents' diets from the 16-week point. The team found that these preventative effects peaked at a dosage of 40 mg per kg of body weight, administered for a 42-day period.
And, it was also suggested that piperonal can possibly help regulate some genes associated with obesity.
In another study, Imperial College in London found mutations in a gene usually related to obesity, which led them to suggest 'obesity is not always gluttony'. At the same time, Indian researchers claim that piperonal could counteract some of the genes linked directly to being overweight.
The study authors, writing in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, said: "Our findings demonstrate the efficacy of piperonal as a potent anti-obesity agent, provide scientific evidence for its traditional use and suggest the possible mechanism of action."
It is also to be noted that the study conducted by Imperial College focused on very overweight children in Pakistan, wherein about 30 percent of the cases, the team had already discovered a genetic link to obesity.
This could be explained by the high level of inter-family relationships in its population. Parents who are closely related are more likely to be carrying the same mutation, and using genome sequencing, the new study found a particular gene related to obesity: adenylate cyclase 3 (ADCY3).
The resultant outcome are abnormalities relating to appetite control, diabetes, and even sense of smell.
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Professor Philippe Froguel, from the department of medicine at Imperial, said: "Early studies into ADCY3 tested mice that were bred to lack that gene, found that these animals were obese and also lacked the ability to smell, known as anosmia. When we tested our patients, we found that they also had anosmia, again showing a link to mutations in ADCY3."
The research was published in the journal Nature Genetics.