Brown Fat Diabetes Research Published
Researchers find that brown fat is an anti-diabetes organ
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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