Category Archives: Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) or Brown Fat

General information about brown adipose tissue (BAT) or brown fat. Sometimes also called “good fat.”

“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 Cooling for a Lean Body

 Brown Fat Cooling

How mild cold exposure stimulates brown adipose tissue

How does brown fat cooling create a leaner body? Science has discovered that brown adipose tissue (brown fat or good fat) is present in adult humans, and that exposure to mild cold is a natural way to trigger brown fat activity. By “mild cold” they mean a temperature that is not so cold that it triggers the shivering response. Mild cold is “non-shivering” temperatures of around 60 degrees, and the brown adipose tissue (BAT) responds to mild cold by generating heat from glucose in order to maintain internal body temperatures. This process is known as “non-shivering thermogenesis.” While the basics are will known from research on lab rats, new studies are focusing in on BAT in humans and whether we have uncovered an overlooked organ of the body that plays a role in metabolism. A role that may include weight loss, treatment of obesity and related metabolic disease such as diabetes.

In this video the researchers explain, in simple terms, how brown fat stimulation with cold increased metabolism and reduced body fat.

The other potential method they showed, taking capsinoids, was only about 30% as effective as cold activation. So a practical method of cold activation has the highest potential for using brown fat activation to lose weight, fight obesity and diabetes.

Popular media and quick fix weight loss products and promises are already positioning to cash in on the idea of cold weight loss. A cooling vest for weight loss is on the market and author Tim Ferris has appeared on the Dr. OZ show promoting ice cold showers and ice packs on the neck to activate brown fat. What cannot be overlooked is the fact that brown fat is only stimulated by mild cold. Promises of weight loss with an ice cold cooling vest, ice baths, ice cold showers and ice packs on the neck are not only extremely uncomfortable, but research is showing them to be ineffective. Turning your thermostat down for weight loss to a comfortable cold temperature or a cooling vest that stays at a comfortable mild cold are much more practical solutions.

brown fat cooling

Is this cold shower necessary?

That Doughnut is Killing your Brown Fat

Killing your Brown Fat

New Brown Fat Research links Obesity Diet to Brown Adipose Tissue Damage

 

brown fat weight loss

Diets High in Fat and Sugar Destroy Brown Fat

Brown fat and its related beneficial beige fat have only recently been shown to be important to adult humans. Now researchers have found that feeding an obesity diet chow to mice that is high in sugar and fat damages brown fat. Killing your brown fat with that doughnut is not a good idea. Your brown fat is jam-packed with vascular tissue, blood vessels, and mitochondria, the body’s energy burning factory. Known vascular health risks like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and lack of exercise are damaging to brown fat and the critical role it has in metabolism and health.

Studies have analyzed the “browning” of WAT as a strategy for combating obesity (54–56). However, it has been argued that these actions are quantitatively incapable of significantly affecting systemic metabolism due to the low thermogenic capacity of WAT browning relative to that exhibited by classical BAT depots (57). Comparatively little attention has been given to the mechanisms that contribute to BAT dysfunction and how they affect overall metabolic health. As shown here, the status of the vasculature in BAT is critical for its function both in terms of thermogenesis and systemic metabolic homeostasis. Thus, risk factors that are associated with diminished vascular health, such as hypertension, hyper-cholesterolemia, and physical inactivity, could contribute to the development of obesity through the degradation of BAT function. Shimizu, J Clin Invest. 2014; 124(5):2099–2112 doi:10.1172/JCI71643

The positive benefits of brown fat burning off excess sugar to produce body heat is reversed. Your brown and beige fat becomes white fat and insulin levels are increased.  This part of the growing evidence about the importance of brown fat to your health. Brown fat is not just burning off excess calories in the process of non-shivering thermogenesis (maintaining you internal body temperature in mild cold conditions – not cold enough to trigger the shiver response). Brown fat also plays a fundamental role in whole body metabolism. We know that we lose brown fat as we age and as we become overweight and obese. We are just starting to find out how it functions so that we can stimulate brown adipose tissue activity for weight loss and prevention or treatment of metabolic diseases like diabetes.

 

Brown Fat Cold Exposure

 Brown Fat Cold Exposure : ICEMAN Study Presented

Room temperatures proven to influence brown fat growth or loss

brown fat cold exposure

Brown Fat Activated by Cold

Today an exciting new study of the effect of room temperatures on brown fat cold exposure was  presented in Chicago at a meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology.

“Our research points to a simple and practical brown fat activating and growing strategy in humans through temperature exposure modulation. We show that long-term minimal manipulation of overnight ambient temperature — well within the range found in climate-controlled buildings — was able to modulate brown fat activity in humans. Mild cold exposure stimulated brown fat activity while mild warm exposure suppressed it. Brown fat increase was accompanied by improvement in insulin sensitivity and energy burning rate after food,” said Paul Lee, MD, PhD, former research fellow at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Brown fat cold exposure with even small changes in room temperatures over the long term will have a beneficial health affect. Temperature changes directly effect the amount of brown fat and the activity of brown fat, which in turn has an important benefit on energy expenditure and metabolism in people. The study concluded that brown fat could be harnessed by simple ambient temperature adjustments making cooling an effective tool to combat obesity, diabetes and related disorders.

The flaw with this and other papers about brown fat cold exposure is that they ignore the practical limitations of people adjusting their thermostats down to sixty degrees. In northern climates during the cold months, this may be possible. But turning your air conditioning down in a home or business to the sixties is unaffordable and not very “green.” The solution may be in portable cooling. Brown fat activation with a cooling vest for weight loss and treatment of diabetes and other metabolic diseases will be a much more practical method, and has already been shown to work.