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Study Shows Ancient Medical Remedy May Help Modern Struggle Against Obesity

June 22, 2009 -- The latest weapon in the battle of the bulge may be as close as your kitchen pantry.

Ordinary household vinegar -- used to make oil-and-vinegar salad dressings or pickles -- appears to turn on genes that help fight fat, researchers in Japan report.

Vinegar has long been touted as a cure-all for many ills. The substance has been used a folk medicine remedy since ancient times. Modern medical evidence is slowly adding credence to some of the claims. In recent years, research has suggested that the main chemical in vinegar, called acetic acid, can help control blood pressure and blood sugar.

The current findings suggest that vinegar might help a person lose weight or fight obesity. Tomoo Kondo and colleagues gave acetic acid or water to mice via a stomach tube. All were provided a high-fat diet to eat normally.

Researchers found that the mice developed a lot less body fat (up to 10% less) than mice who didn’t receive the vinegar compound. The amount of food eaten by the mice was not affected.

It’s believed that acetic acid turns on genes that produce proteins that help the body break down fats. Such an action helps prevent fat buildup in body, and thwarts weight gain.

The findings are scheduled to be published in the July 8, 2009 issue of Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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