Researchers at the University of Florida have isolated a special form of vitamin E that could stop the development of unwanted body fat. This special form of vitamin E is found in muscadine grape seed oil. Marty Marshall, a University of Florida professor of food science and nutrition said that muscadine grape seed oil stops the formation of new fat cells by producing tocotrienol, a special unsaturated form of vitamin E.
Also a great source of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, muscadine grape seed oil is both heart healthy and a natural way to regulate cholesterol levels. By adding the oil to other edible oils, companies could create a supplement for weight loss and heart health. The isolated tocotrienol could also be taken from underutilized muscadine varieties and added to other edibles to help people lose weight. The researchers envision the oil be added to salad dressings, for example.
Muscadine grape seed oil halts fatty tissue formation
The benefits of tocotrienol, including cholesterol reduction, have previously been observed in red palm and rice brain oil. After investigating muscadine grape seed oil, researchers have isolated a special form of tocotrienol (T3) that is more potent for aiding weight loss.
After processing the tocotrienol-rich fraction, the scientists found out that it significantly reduces mRNA and protein expression implicated in adipogenesis or fatty tissue formation. On top of that, the results showed that muscadine grape seed oil reduces pro-inflammatory gene expression. The greatest challenge growers and producers face now is producing large quantities of tocotrienol for mass production. Will there be enough muscadine grapes to go around as tocotrienols become more sought after?
The method used to extract the oil in the study is a controversial practice that uses hexane as a byproduct. To obtain the tocotrienol-rich fraction from the muscadine grape seed oil, producers put it through a process called solid phase extraction using 15 percent 1, 4-dioxane in hexane.
Thousands of tons of discarded grape seed pomace could be recycled and used to make tocotrienol-rich oil
The grapes used at the UF/IFAS lab were grown near Tallahassee, Tennessee. The scientists extracted the oil from the seeds of the muscadine grape and found a high unsaturated fatty acid profile that reached 85 to 90 percent of the total amount of fatty acids. When wine and juice is processed at plants in the South, much of this bountiful oil is wasted and tossed in landfills. Thousands of tons of this pomace are discarded each year. However, some wineries recycle the pomace and extract the leftover oil for use in specialty shops. This study will give the juice and wine industry another reason to process this pomace to keep it out of landfills.
“Our interest has been to find a value-added capability of these waste streams,” said UF professor, Marty Marshall, who would like to see the muscadine grape seed “waste” be recycled and put to good use.