05/04/2012 09:38 BST | Updated 05/04/2012 12:28 BST

Fruit Compound In Red Wine ‘Blocks Fat Cell Formation' (VIDEO)

Scientists have already proved that a glass of red wine can be good for the heart but now they’ve found another benefit that could keep you healthy – and slim.

According to researchers from the Purdue University, a compound found in red wine called resveratrol converts into another compound called piceatannol, which blocks fat cells from forming.

Kee-Hong Kim, who led the study, says the piceatannol compound is a vital discovery as its ability to block immature fat cells from growing could pave the way for future treatments for obesity.

Piceatannol is made of a similar structure to resveratrol and is found is red wine, as well as foods like peanuts and red grapes. The compound has already been credited for its cancer-fighting properties and ability to help combat heart and neurodegenerative diseases.

The study investigated the health benefits of several compounds and discovered that picceatannol has the ability to bind insulin receptors of fat cells during their first stages of development. They then block the insulin’s pathway, stopping the fat cells from maturing.

"Piceatannol actually alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis, the process in which early stage fat cells become mature fat cells," Kim said. "In the presence of piceatannol, you can see delay or complete inhibition of adipogenesis,” explains Kim.

"These precursor cells, even though they have not accumulated lipids, have the potential to become fat cells," Kim said. "We consider that adipogenesis is an important molecular target to delay or prevent fat cell accumulation and, hopefully, body fat mass gain."

Researchers are hoping to use this information and develop treatment that helps tackle obesity in humans.

“We need to work on improving the stability and solubility of piceatannol to create a biological effect.”

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