A compound found in red wine called piceatannol prevents the ability of immature fat cell to develop and grow. The compound, similar to the structure of resveratrol, has the ability to inhibit cellular processes which enable the development of fat cells, creating a potential way of controlling obesity. Piceatannol food sources include red wine, grapes and some other fruits, although in lesser amounts than red wine.
The compound resveratrol, which is also found in red wine, peanuts and grapes, is believed to combat heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Red wine is one of the best known food sources of resveratrol because of the process of fermentation which changes grape juice into alcohol. After consumption, resveratrol converts to piceatannol, and fighting obesity could be one of the potential piceatannol benefits. This is good news for those who enjoy a daily glass red wine. Excessive alcohol consumption is however harmful, and a piceatannol supplement is also available.
Adipogenesis is the process during which early phase fat cells develop into mature fat cells, and piceatannol changes gene functions, gene expression timing and insulin action at the time of adipogenesis,. When piceatannol is present, delay or even the complete inhibition of adipogenesis is seen.
During a period of ten days or longer, immature fat cells, known as preadipocytes, undergo several stages to turn into adipocytes, or mature fat cells.
These precursor cells, although they haven’t accumulated lipids, can potentially become fat cells. Adipogenesis is considered an important molecular target for delaying or preventing the accumulation of fat cells and, ultimately, the gain of body fat mass.
The study discovered that piceatannol is bound to insulin receptors of immature fat cells in the 1st phase of adipogenesis, inhibiting the ability of insulin’s controlling of cell cycles and activating genes which complete further phases of the formation of fat cells. In essence, piceatannol inhibits the pathways required for maturation and growth of immature fat cells.