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Antioxidants Called Flavonoids and Phenolic Acids May Cut Fatty Buildup in Fat Cells

Nov. 2, 2007 -- The benefits of antioxidants found in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, tea, and wine may include tinkering with fat cells in a way that curbs obesity and helps the heart.

A new study shows that, in test tubes, antioxidants called flavonoids and phenolic acids tweak fat cells from mice.

Those antioxidants didn't kill fat cells or slash the number of fat cells in the test tubes. Instead, they made fat cells cut their production of triglycerides, which are a heart hazard. The antioxidants did that by curbing an enzyme needed to make triglycerides, according to the study.

That particular enzyme was most effectively reduced by the phenolic acid o-coumaric acid and the flavonoid rutin, report the researchers.

They included Gow-Chin Yen, PhD, a professor in the department of food science and biotechnology at Taiwan's National Chung Hsing University.

It will take more work to find out if fat cells and antioxidants behave the same way in the human body. Meanwhile, reams of research support eating a healthy diet rich in produce.

The study appears in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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