Muscadines, a variety of grape grown in the South, contains a form of vitamin E that may fight obesity. Scientists at the University of Florida found that muscadine grape seed oil contains an unsaturated from of vitamin E called tocotrienol that may reduce the formation of new fat cells.
There are eight forms of vitamin E —four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta), and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta).
Previous research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that tocotrienols can keep baby fat cells from turning into adult fat cells that store fat.
Until now, tocotrienols have been found in high concentrations in palm oil and rice bran oil. But the new research found that muscadine seeds also have high concentrations of the nutrient.
For the study, researchers extracted oil from muscadine seeds. They found the oil contained 85 to 90 percent unsaturated fatty acids of the total fatty acids.
"Consuming foods made with muscadine grape seed oil could curtail weight gain by reducing obesity," said Marty Marshall, a UF professor of food science and human nutrition.
Muscadine groups are grown in the South and used to make wine and juice. The seeds are often discarded as waste, although some are used for oil that is sold in specialty stores.
To be useful in foods in order to combat obesity and other diseases, however, scientists must help farmers figure out how to grow large amounts of the fruit.
Most research has concentrated on the tocopherols contained in vitamin E, especially the alpha form, and its use in fighting cardiovascular disease and cancer. But a study published last year in Stroke found that tocotrienols. like those in muscadines, slowed the formation of white matter lesions in the brain, which are connected to the development of neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer's, and an increased risk of stroke.
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