A study has finally explained the long-known ability of black pepper, and the component known as piperine that gives it its characteristic taste, to block the formation of new fat cells, and help promote healthy weight. (Previous studies had shown that piperine reduces fat levels in the bloodstream and has other beneficial health effects. Black pepper and the black pepper plant have been used for centuries in traditional Eastern medicine to treat gastrointestinal distress, pain, inflammation and other disorders. However, scientists have known little about how piperine works at the molecular level.)
The scientists used lab studies and computer models to learn that piperine interferes with the activity of genes that control the formation of new fat cells. In this way, piperine may also set off a metabolic chain reaction that helps keep fat in check in other ways. This finding may lead to wider use of piperine or black-pepper extracts in fighting obesity and related diseases.