Author Archives: Dirk Buikema

About Dirk Buikema

A founder and CEO of Hyperwear, he leads product innovation and strategy. Dirk holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Suffolk University School of Law. He is an inventor on patents covering the stimulation of brown adipose tissue using a cooling vest, and on pending Hyperwear patent applications for new products. He enjoys working out, hiking, running, and has completed two full marathons.

6 Brown Fat Cell Areas In your Body: Key for Brown Fat Diabetes and Obesity Therapies

Study Creates Detailed Map of Brown Adipose Tissue Deposits

More accurate research on importance of brown fat activation now possible.

Cool Fat Burner

6 Brown Adipose Tissue Depots

Many studies have shown that increasing the activity of brown fat or BAT in humans will burn calories for weight loss and improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin improving health for those with diabetes. The exact location and size of BAT deposits has been hard to measure. “Normal” BAT locations and volume has not been precisely studied. 

Brown fat is an important area of research for the treatment of obesity and diabetes now that research has shown that it burns calories after exposure to cold. Glucose is used up by brown fat to maintain internal body temperature instead of becoming stored as white belly fat for future use. Because BAT cells are distributed or mixed-in with white fat cells, muscle, and blood vessels, it has proven very difficult to get accurate measurements. 

In the published study “Mapping of human brown adipose tissue in lean and obese young men,”1) scientist have refined the method of using PET/CT imaging for locating brown fat in humans and estimating its ability to burn calories. People in the study were exposed to cold in a room for 5 hours a day. On the last day before measurement they were kept at the lowest temperature they could tolerate before shivering: around 16 degrees centigrade.1) What researchers did was identify 6 areas of importance in the body where brown adipose tissue is located. They also were able to measure the metabolic capacity of the brown fat in those areas to better understand its role and importance. 

The key BAT discovery? We have much more brown fat in our bodies than we thought. Most people never use this belly fat burning tissue to its full potential. How much calorie burn could be gained? An estimate is that brown fat cold exposure would increase  daily calorie burn by greater than 520 calories. The authors conclude “…that if BAT could be maximized to its volumetric and metabolic capacity, it would substantially affect energy metabolism in adult humans.”1)

How do you increase your BAT activity for your health? Increasing cold exposure and getting outside are at the top of the list. Cold exposure using a cooling vest for brown fat is the simplest way to stimulate your brown adipose tissue, and liquid cooling suits have been used in many studies as well as cold rooms.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome. Would you let us know what you think?

1)Shivering, which is uncomfortable, also is a different way the body tries to stay warm. “Non-shivering thermogenesis” is the role BAT plays in keeping us warm. Cool burn or coolsculpting methods literally freeze the tissue, do not focus on brown fat activation for long term metabolic health, and can be dangerous.

1)PNAS, August 8, 2017, vol. 114, no. 32, p 8653

1)PNAS, August 8, 2017, vol. 114, no. 32, pp. 8649-8654 with full text of this brown fat study available for free online

Weight loss and diabetes prevention: brown fat cooling research

Cold for Weight Loss and Diabetes Prevention

Washington Post Interviews Leading Brown Fat Researchers

cool fat burner weight loss

Cold temperatures and weight los

The energy burning furnace that keeps our body warm when exposed to cold, brown fat or brown adipose tissue, has been increasingly studied for its role in metabolism for weight loss and diabetes prevention. Mouse studies show active brown fat has a role in preventing obesity.  That knowledge has increased investigation of brown fat’s role in weight loss and diabetes prevention in people.After the discovery by science around 2009 that brown fat is present in adults, researchers were curious to learn why brown adipose tissue was active in some people but not in others. The adults with brown fat were generally leaner and had healthier blood sugar levels. 

Not only did adults have brown fat that could be stimulated by exposure to mild cold conditions, other studies revealed another “healthy fat” – beige fat. It was discovered that cold exposure could actually change our bad belly fat, white adipose tissue, into a beige adipose tissue. Beige fat also burns off excess energy and seems to have a role in weight loss and diabetes prevention.1)

Paul Lee, a research scientist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, leads a Brown Fat Physiology Group. His 2014 “ICEMAN study” proved that there is a link between ambient temperatures and the gain or loss of brown fat in adults. it only required a mild cold of 19 degrees celsius in a room overnight for a few months to grown brown fat, burn more calories which can lead to weight loss, and stimulated insulin sensitivity requiring less insulin after eating to bring blood sugar levels down. An easy inference to draw is that the indoor controlled environments people have been living in has had a role in the increase seen in obesity and diabetes. 

In the Washington Post interview, Dr. Lee said that there is no current evidence that shivering is a method to achieve weight loss and diabetes prevention. Brown fat research has been focused on the mild cold exposure that triggers brown adipose tissue’s use of glucose to produce internal body heat. Shivering is a different metabolic response.

Dr. Aaron Cypess, National Institute of Health researcher, has conducted studies that show clear evidence that stimulating the growth and activity of brown fat can have a beneficial role in preventing weight gain, obesity and diabetes. He does not recommend shivering as a way of losing weight however. Shivering is a response to colder temperatures, below 19 degrees celsius, that is both extremely uncomfortable and a stress on the body that could cause damage. Because of those problems, the body is designed to turn on the brown fat furnace and turn white fat to beige fat in mild cold environments. 

The bottom line remains the same. No cool fat burner promising weight loss from shivering or mild cold brown fat cooling vest alone is going to be a magic solution for weight loss and diabetes prevention. Controlling food intake and exercising will remain the fundamental factors for better health. However, the modern human controlled temperature environment may be a key factor in the massive growth of obesity and diabetes, so new ways to restore a healthy mild cold exposure should be very beneficial.

1) There are several types of body fat according to a recent Women’s Health Magazine article about body fat types and weight loss.

“Toxic Fat” “Good Fat” and Diabetes: Ceramides role in Metabolic Disease

How good fat and toxic fat play a role in diabetes

Why do thin fit people as well as obese people become diabetic?

good fat, brown fat cooling vest

Thin fit people and diabetes

Much research has been discovering how good fat, brown adipose tissue, might play a key role in treating diabetes. Activating brown fat with a cooling vest, drugs or stem cells are all being studied. While the role of this “good fat” is becoming known, the basic causes of diabetes are still elusive. Even very fit and lean individuals can have diabetes so exercise and diet are not the only factor.

A common link link between type I and type 2 diabetes is being pursued in research about the role increased levels of a “toxic fat”,  ceramides, plays in metabolic disease. A researcher who’s family had a history of diabetes, Scott summers, has been on a quest to discover the common root of diabetes ever since witnessing his adult father, an avid daily runner, begin needing to take daily insulin injections after being diagnosed with the disease in his 40’s.1)

Research into the question of why both lean and obese individuals can become diabetic has led to a prime suspect: Ceramides, a waxy lipid that has been called “toxic fat.” A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism looked at how toxic fat interferes with normal function of brown fat. This could be a root cause involved in a number of metabolic diseases that involve adipose tissue: white fat, brown fat and beige fat. The toxic fat appears to be causing interference in the body’s internal communication system that can sense the energy or nutritional status of the body. Normally excess glucose can be used up by active beige fat or brown fat cells, but the toxic fat, ceramides, interferes with the process. 

Brown adipose tissue is jam packed with mitochondria cells that are iron rich (“brown fat”). These cells burn off energy that otherwise is stored in bad, white fat, tissue. While much focus has been on cooling the body with a cooling vest for weight loss or finding a drug to activate brown fat, understanding and stopping toxic fat looks like a promising path to curing diabetes. 

 

1) Hamblin, James: The Scientist Harnessing ‘Toxic Fat,’ The Atlantic, March 15, 201

Diabetes Epidemic Grows as Global Temperatures Rise

Global Warming Linked to Diabetes Epidemic: Reduction in Brown Fat Activity Blamed in Study

Significant increases in glucose intolerance leading to a diabetes epidemic is correlated to global warming according to a new research paper. Global warming causing decreased brown adipose tissue activity is leading to increasing cases of diabetes: a metabolic disease that results from the body becoming glucose intolerant.1)

Analyzing years of worldwide data showing climate change and the number of diabetes cases, scientists have seen a strong link between the number of cases of diabetes diagnosed each time average temperatures increased by 1 degree. Based on prior studies of brown fat activation showing exposure to mild cold is a potential therapy for diabetes, researchers concluded that: “[O]ur data are consistent with the hypothesis that a decrease in BAT activity with increas- ing environmental temperature may deteriorate glucose metabolism and increase the incidence of diabetes.”

Obesity, a factor in the cause of type 2 diabetes,  also rose in relation to increases in temperature with a 0.173% increase in obesity cases with each single degree of temperature increase. Diabetes, related to the body’s increased resistance to insulin, grew by 3.1% per 10,000 people each time the climate warmed by 1 degree celsius. Data was drawn from sources covering the years 1996 through 2013. 

diabetes epidemic, cooling vest weight loss

Mean annual temperature and diabetes cases per degree of temperature increase by state.

Just published this week, the detailed study is getting major media attention as the world struggles with the major health challenge of the diabetes epidemic and rise in obesity with all kinds of bad implications for metabolic health. Newsweek has provided the best easy to read summary of the research paper.

Solutions are coming to market. Hyperwear has patented a cooling vest that can be worn to activate brown fat using mild cold that is comfortable and part of a solution for better health and weight loss.

1) Blauw LL, Aziz NA, Tannemaat MR, et al. Diabetes incidence and glucose intolerance prevalence increase with higher outdoor temperature. BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care 2017;5:e000317. doi:10.1136/bmjdrc-2016- 000317

Weight Loss Vest: Top 5 Facts

Top 5 Facts About Weight Loss Vest Research

What studies say about cooling vests and brown fat weight loss

COMMENTARY

A brown fat weight loss vest must use mild cold

A weight loss vest cooling vest using ice packs or any cooling packs cold enough to trigger shivering are not going to properly activate brown fat to increase your metabolism and burn more calories. Brown adipose tissue uses a process called “non-shivering thermogenesis.” Non-shivering thermogenesis is the body’s natural response to mild cold. Very cold temperatures cause shivering which is a short-term and entirely different reaction by the body where rapid muscle contractions generate heat. The point where your body’s response shifts from non-shivering to shivering thermogenesis varies by individual, but is around 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooling vests for brown fat weight loss should not use ice cold cooling packs of thirty degrees Fahrenheit. Ice cold cooling vests and packs also create a danger of skin damage and burns from freezing. Activation of brown fat using non-shivering thermogenesis is best with special phase change material (PCM) cooling packs that can be designed to have a melting point at or around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

A weight loss vest should cover more body surface area

Using a cooling vest for brown adipose tissue stimulation is simply a more practical solution for what you can accomplish either by being outside in mild cold temperatures or being in a mild cold room kept at or around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Naturally the more surface area that a cooling vest covers on the body the more closely it simulates being in a cold environment. Check the size of the cooling packs that are held by any weight loss cooling vest product. Calculate the total area the cooling packs will cover to compare how effective the cooling vest may be for brown fat activation.

thin ice vest

Cool fat burner: use a cold room?

 Brown fat cooling packs should be designed to make full body contact

How does a cooling vest work? Cooling packs against your body act like a heat sink. There is a thermal exchange between your body and the cooling pack. While the cooling pack is colder than your body it draws heat away from your body and cools your body. So the more direct body contact made by your cooling pack, the better the performance. Ideally, flexible cooling packs with a flat surface are used that conform to the body and are held in place by a well designed vest using compression to hold the packs firmly to the body.

A longer lasting weight loss vest is better

Studies of brown fat cooling have all used mild cold exposure but for varying lengths of time and temperature. Cooling vests that have been used for scientific research to date have been chilled water circulation vests that require connection by tubes to a chiller. Time periods for the water circulation vests have been no more than a couple of hours. So the longer a cooling pack stays cold in a cooling vest for brown fat, the longer your cold exposure and logically the effectiveness. A cooling vest designed to allow easy removal of warm packs and replacement with cold spares can allow extended mild cold exposure.

A weight loss vest for brown fat should be designed for comfort and exercise

Of all considerations, comfort and freedom of movement for exercise and long wear time is key to gaining the benefits of brown fat cooling. Encouraging regular use and convenience is essential. While no studies have explored the combination of exercise and cooling to date, having an athletic cooling vest design to allow exercise in the cold should provide the most effective health benefit. The key is to hold the cooling packs tight to your body and keeping them from bouncing and moving during exercise.

While these are the five key factors in purchasing a cooling product for brown fat health benefits, keep in mind others are important such as: style, fit, quality, warranty, and value for your money.  Do your own research about what makes a real product that is a true cool fat burner and study the truth about freezing your fat off.

cool fat burner weight loss vest

Lose fat with fat

Question or comment?

Brown Fat Cooling Vest to Treat Childhood Obesity: Door Opens to Research

Research Opens Door to Study of Brown Fat Cooling Vest in Children

brown fat cooling vest

Childhood Obesity Crisis

As you can see in the above graph, Childhood obesity is perhaps the greatest health crisis facing the United States and the world. Recently published research which included the use of a brown fat cooling vest to activate brown adipose tissue, showed that less expensive, non-invasive readings of skin and core temperature may be used to study the effect mild cold exposure has on brown fat activity which could lead to the study of brown fat cooling for childhood obesity.1)1 To date measurement has involved radiation exposure using an MRI or PET scan, which would rule out studies involving children even though safe mild cold exposure using a cooling vest is a potentially safe, non-pharmaceutical treatment for childhood obesity and related metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

Brown adipose tissue (brown fat or BAT) has always played an important role in maintaining a steady state body temperature in mammals and has been newly discovered to have a role in people. Because BAT studies have shown the potential path towards new treatments for obesity and related metabolic disease like diabetes, new ways to research human BAT activity that are less expensive and invasive can lead to breakthroughs for our health. The most exciting opportunity is to open the door to studying the impact of mild cold exposure using a brown fat cooling vest for children that is safe, effective, and simple to use at an affordable cost.

Study Method Included Brown Fat Cooling Vest for Mild Cold

A trial was conducted that included 18 men who were divided into two groups. Using known PET and MRI methods of measurement, but adding measurements of skin temperature and body core temperature, the groups were 10 who already had pronounced BAT activity and 8 who had little to no BAT activity. Exposing these volunteers to mild cold using a combination of room temperature controls, liquid cooling vests and blankets, allowed the scientist to determine if skin and core temperature measurements could be used instead of PET and MRI methods.

Results of the study provided further proof that mild cold exposure triggers a response in brown fat in humans to maintain core body temperature just like any mammal. There was a strong correlation between the volume of brown fat in person and response to cold. Most significant was the finding that “…the significant correlation between the cold induced change in core and supraclavicular [skin temperature at the collar bone] temperature suggest those two measures as a potential [measure] of BAT activity.”

These safer, non-invasive, non-radiation, easier to perform and less expensive measurements of brown fat can open the door to the study of the effectiveness of treatments for obesity include the safe use of mild cooling with a brown fat cooling vest for children. This would provide an option in the near term to help fight the childhood obesity epidemic.

 

2) Chondronikola M, Volpi E, Børsheim E, Chao T, Porter C, Annamalai P, Yfanti C, Labbe SM, Hurren NM, Malagaris I, Cesani F and Sidossis LS (2016) Brown Adipose Tissue Is Linked to a Distinct Thermoregulatory Response to Mild Cold in People. Front. Physiol. 7:129. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2016.00129

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Brown Fat Cooling and Exercise

Brown Fat Cooling During Your Workout: A Hot Fitness Trend?

Combining exercise with brown fat cooling may accelerate metabolism

brown fat cooling

Cool workouts could be the next hot fitness trend

A leading researcher who authored a book on diet and lifestyle changes to manage diabetes has encouraged using a cold exercise room for brown fat cooling. Dr. George King, the head of research at the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston, has started a “Joslin Coolout” exercise program that has people working out in a room chilled to t60 degree range. The idea is to create brown fat cooling during exercise to combine the metabolic benefits of brown fat activation by cooling with the benefits of exercise. Dr. King is the author of “The Diabetes Reset” which has a 12 week plan incorporating 8 changes to your diet and life to prevent diabetes including brown fat cooling in a cool room or wearing a cooling vest for weight loss.

The concept of a cool workout to improve weight loss has already spread to a boutique fitness studio in Boston near the Joslin Center. A fitness class is offered in the basement studio with the thermostat set at 62 degrees, and is already popular with people who will try anything to burn some additional calories.  Dr. King is quoted as supporting the double benefit of exercise and brown fat cooling: “Not only do use up the calories from the workout itself, but you can also activate the brown fat, which burns up calories and generates heat.”  “Cool workouts could be the next hot fitness trend,” Weintraub, USA Today 8/2/15.

it is not clear to what extent the combination of cold exercise and brown fat cooling can boost metabolism, but future studies can research the benefits of brown fat cooling vests, exercising in a cool room, and turning down your thermostat at home. But it is clear that a leading expert believes that mild cold and its role in stimulating brown adipose tissue will lead to promising health benefits in controlling obesity and diabetes.

Brown Fat Diabetes Cooling Research: Major Positive Glucose Uptake Boost

Brown Fat Diabetes Cooling Study of Cold Acclimation Shows Profound Increase in Insulin Sensitivity in Only 10 Days

Brown Fat Diabetes

Before and After Glucose Uptake Results Cold Acclimation of BAT. Copyright Nature

A recent study of brown fat diabetes evaluating the promise of cooling as a therapy for people with type 2 diabetes published on nature.com added to mounting evidence of major benefits. People with type 2 diabetes participating in the study of brown fat cooling showed better improvement in their insulin sensitivity than seen in the currently most recommended therapy of long term exercise for diabetes. “Insulin sensitivity was markedly increased after cold acclimation as indicated by on average a 43% increase in the glucose infusion rate….”

After just 10 days of cold acclimation people in the study with type 2 diabetes showed very significant positive impact on both whole-body and skeletal muscle sensitivity to insulin. As a result glucose uptake is markedly improved leading the researchers to conclude that brown fat cooling is a valid new way to improve the metabolic health of people with diabetes.

The method of cold acclimation to study the area of brown fat diabetes cooling therapy was remarkably simple and short. Eight overweight males were included in the study which originally was intended to include eleven to obtain valid results. During the study of the initial eight subjects the results on insulin sensitivity from cold acclimation of brown adipose tissue (brown fat) were so significant that the study was shortened with the approval of an external research monitoring board. During the ten day cold acclimation test, the study subjects were in a room kept at 14-15 degrees centigrade with exposure times increased starting with 2 hours on day 1, 4 hours on day 2, and 6 hours on days 3-10. Patients in the study used their normal medications for type 2 diabetes, ate standardized meals at the same time and were told not to exercise.

Exciting opportunities for brown fat diabetes cooling therapies are opened up by this key study, with a cooling vest for brown fat weight loss and diabetes treatment being one that is convenient. The combination of both brown fat cooling and exercise for diabetes treatment is another exciting concept: one that Dr. George King, head of research at Joslin Diabetes Center is already exploring at the Harvard Medical School institution’s headquarters where a “Joslin Coolout” workout in a cool room has started.

Benefits of Cold: Brown Fat Weight Loss

Brown Fat Weight Loss

Health Benefits of Being Cold: The ATLANTIC Jan/Feb 2015 Issue

brown fat weight loss
The Atlantic’s “FAT Nation” Cover

Many new research studies are examining the benefits of stimulating brown fat, the common name for brown adipose tissue, using the natural method of cold exposure. Ice vest or cooling vest products have started to appear on the market that are promising brown fat weight loss. The author tried out an ice vest that holds cooling packs and found that brown fat weight loss using a cooling vest “…carries some unlikely promise.”

A fascinating example of how mild cold exposure combined with exercise requires a massive calorie intake is the often cited example of Olympic gold medalist, swimmer Michael Phelps. In his training leading up to his record medal run, Phelps reported that he was eating 12,000 calories a day. This is many times the average daily need and even thousands more than other elite athletes training for other sports. A former NASA scientist who has studied the effects of cold on the body concluded that Phelps being exposed for hours-on-end in cold water during training was burning extra calories through brown fat activation. That same scientist started a routine of cold showers and long walks in the cold without a shirt losing 26.7 pounds in six weeks. It is a simple concept that cold exposure causes the bodies’ need to turn on brown adipose tissue and even convert white fat into beige fat to maintain core temperature leading to brown fat weight loss.

Could obesity be caused less by a lack of exercise and more by a combination of overeating and chronic lack of cold exposure in our controlled temperature indoor environments? Some experts have proposed that this is true and caused by what they call a “metabolic winter.” Human evolution for millions of years was subject to the forces of food scarcity and cold. Modern lifestyles with central heating and air conditioning are very new, a matter of seconds, on an evolutionary timeline. Not only are we as humans experiencing the effects of this change, but you can see the same problem with the pets we keep indoors.

Thankfully, it is mild cold that actually triggers the non-shivering thermogenesis response by the body that increases the volume and activity of brown fat and even converts the bodies’ bad white fat into calorie consuming beige fat. That will make it possible for a cooling vest that is a comfortable temperature instead of ice cold effective and widely used for brown fat weight loss.

 

Brown Fat Diabetes Fighting Organ ?

Brown Fat Diabetes Research Published

Researchers find that brown fat is an anti-diabetes organ

Brown Fat Diabetes

Diabetes may be treated by stimulating brown fat

Not all fat is created equal, and that is good news for millions fighting diabetes. In a study of the metabolic role of brown fat diabetes researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston showed that people with more brown fat are able to maintain control over their blood sugar and increase their resting metabolic rate. 1)Chondronikola M. Brown Adipose Tissue Improves Glucose Metabolism and Whole Body Insulin Sensitivity in Humans. Scientific Session of the American Diabetes Association, San Francisco, June 2014.

How did they do it? The study, led by Dr. Labros Sidossis,  included adult male subjects who were divided into two groups: one group had brown fat present at the start of the study and the other did not. All subjects wore a cooling vest for several hours at a mild cold temperature that would stimulate brown fat and not cause a shivering response.

The results showed that active brown fat plays an important role in metabolism of glucose. People in the study who had stores of brown fat that were activated by the cooling vest were better able to metabolize glucose and had increased insulin sensitivity. The abstract of the study states:

“These results demonstrate a physiologically significant role of BAT in whole-body energy expenditure, glucose homeostasis, and insulin sensitivity in humans and support the notion that BAT may function as an anti-diabetic tissue in humans.”

Researchers found that mild cold exposure increased the base metabolic rate of the brown fat positive group by 15%. Very significant reductions in blood glucose were seen in the individuals with cold stimulated brown fat.

While some studies have lowered thermostats in a room to create mild cold conditions, this is the third study to use a liquid circulating cooling vest or garment connected by tubing to a chiller.2)Blondin, Increased brown adipose tissue oxidative capacity in cold-acclimated humans, J Clin Endocrinol Metab doi:10.1210/jc.2013-3901 1)(Cypess, Cold but not sympathomimetics activates human brown adipose tissue in vivo, PNAS June 19, 2012, vol. 109, no. 25.  While effective, using a brown fat cooling vest that keeps you connected to a chiller by tubes requires the person to remain still and is not practical for real world use. The water cooled vests are very expensive devices used by surgeons to remain cool during long procedures. Cooling is acknowledged as the best know way to stimulate brown fat, but researchers are mainly focused on finding a drug as a treatment for obesity and diabetes. Cooling vests with phase change cooling packs to activate brown adipose tissue may provide the best solution.

 

 

 

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