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Fatty Acids in Pine Nuts May Be the Key, Study Shows

March 28, 2006 -- Certain fatty acids in pine nuts might help curb appetite, according to a new study.

Researchers extracted those fatty acids from Korean pine nuts, tested the oil, and reported the results in Atlanta at the American Chemical Society's National Meeting & Exposition.

The study was done by a company called Lipid Nutrition, which makes a pine nut oil product called PinnoThin. Lipid Nutrition is a division of the Dutch firm Loders Croklaan.

Pine nuts, often used in pesto, are actually seeds, not nuts. Certain fatty acids found in Korean pine nuts can initiate the release of an appetite-suppressing hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) in lab studies, write the researchers. They tried to verify this effect in people.

Appetite Checks

The researchers gave 18 overweight women gel capsules containing either the pine nut oil or olive oil. The women took the capsules before eating a meal of carbohydrates.

The researchers checked the women's levels of appetite-related hormones including CCK and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide) over four hours. The women also rated their appetite on the same schedule.

The women who had taken the pine nut capsules reported less hunger and showed higher levels of CCK and GLP-1 than those who took the placebo pills, report Jennifer Causey, PhD, nutrition manager at Lipid Nutrition.

Levels of two other appetite-related hormones -- ghrelin and PPY peptide -- were similar in both groups, the study also shows. The results don't cover long-term use or weight changes in people taking the pine nut oil.

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