Dark red grapes such as the Muscadine variety are abundant in ellagic acid, a natural plant antioxidant. Neil Shay, from Oregon State University (Oregon, USA), and colleagues exposed human liver and fat cells grown in the lab to extracts of four natural chemicals found in Muscadine grapes. Ellagic acid was found to dramatically slow the growth of existing fat cells and formation of new ones; as well, it boosted he metabolism of fatty acids in liver cells. Further analysis by the team suggests that ellagic acid and other chemicals present in muscadine grapes bind to PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma nuclear hormone receptors, causing them to switch on the genes that trigger the metabolism of dietary fat and glucose. The study authors submit that: “These results suggest that [ellagic acid] exerts unique lipid-lowering effects both in adipose tissue and liver via discrete mechanisms.”
Meshail Okla, Inhae Kang, Da Mi Kim, Vishnupriya Gourineni, Neil Shay, Liwei Gu, Soonkyu Chung. “Ellagic acid modulates lipid accumulation in primary human adipocytes and human hepatoma Huh7 cells via discrete mechanisms.” Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Vol. 26, Issue 1, p82–90.