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Weight loss and diabetes prevention: brown fat cooling research

Cold for Weight Loss and Diabetes Prevention Washington Post Interviews Leading Brown Fat Researchers 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…

Weight loss and diabetes prevention: brown fat cooling research was originally published on Brown Fat for Health

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