Japanese researchers report ordinary household vinegar, the kind used to make oil-and-vinegar salad dressings or pickles, appears to turn on genes that help fight fat.
Vinegar has a long history in fold medicine and many claims have been made about is curative power.
Now, there is a growing body of medical evidence that lends support to some of the claims; for example, research has suggested the main chemical in vinegar, called acetic acid, can help control blood pressure and blood sugar.
Recent research suggests 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.
The findings are scheduled to be published in the July 8, 2009 issue of Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Scientists believe 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 researchers wrote, “We intend to perform further clinical studies to confirm fat pad reduction and energy consumption enhancement by vinegar intake. Moreover, we will investigate the effect of acetic acid on fatty oxidative activation in other organs, particularly skeletal muscle.”
“The results of this study suggest that acetic acid suppresses body fat accumulation by increasing fatty oxidation and thermogenesis in the liver through PPAR-alpha,” the researchers added.