Brown Fat: What Is It and How It Can Trigger Fat Burn? [A New Study]

Blog Health Brown Fat: What Is It and How It Can Trigger Fat Burn? [A New Study]

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9.4.2020 0 comments

Not all fat is created equal!

This may sound odd, but did you know that there are actually two kinds of fat in your body?

Most of us are familiar with white fat, the inert fatty molecules that build up around our stomachs, thighs, arms, and causes all kinds of health problems.

But it’s the other kind of fat, the darker brown fat, that can actually do you a surprising amount of good…

The Link Between Brown Fat and Fat Loss

It’s hard to imagine that having more fat in your body can lead to fat loss, but that’s because you’re not taking into account the two different types of fat.

White fat is the stuff your body produces from the food you eat. Your body turns carbs and sugar into these white fat molecules, which it then stores for later use. This is the kind of fat that you burn for energy, but it’s also the fat that accumulates and causes obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and all the other complications of a high body fat percentage.

Brown fats, on the other hand, are quite a different story! Unlike white fat cells, our bodies only have a very small supply of brown fat cells. This type of fat is actually responsible for burning energy and triggering thermogenesis, which generates heat as a response to external cold temperatures or certain chemical signals sent by our brains.

In recent years, scientists have begun to realize that activating these brown fat cells could actually do wonders to improve white fat burning and increasing our metabolism. Lots of studies have been done into these brown fats, and a new study discovered something that you’ll find quite fascinating.

The researchers in this new study [1] examined brown fat cells to determine how best to activate them. They discovered that there are specific receptors in the cells—called beta2-adrenergic receptors—that could be activated pharmacologically, and when active, they stimulate thermogenesis and raise metabolic function.

Previous studies to activate the brown fat have been mostly unsuccessful, but the lead researcher believed that’s due to incorrect targeting. Instead of exclusively targeting the brown fat cells, this research indicates that targeting the b2-AR in all types of fat cells—including white fat cells—will be the key to activating the brown fat cells.

As the study proved, targeting the b2-AR helped to trigger a burn of calories, affected appetite, and even improved insulin sensitivity. Being able to activate brown fat cells directly could lead to massive strides of progress for treating diabetes, obesity, and many other related health conditions.

Another study from 2018 [2] looked at the possibility of turning white fat into beige (also known as “brown in white”) fat. While not fully as effective as brown fat cells, these beige fat cells are more active than white fat cells and have a higher effective on metabolism.

The study found that microRNAs were able to regulate the browning of white fats. Though the studies have only been conducted on mice, there is potential for pharmacologically stimulating these miRNA networks to encourage the body to turn white fat cells into brown or beige fat cells. Doing so could be an amazing step in the right direction in the war on obesity and diabetes.

In another study [3], it was made clear that the activity of beige and brown fat cells could have a direct effect on metabolic disease, particularly obesity. As the paper summed up, “Many genes and pathways that regulate brown and beige adipocyte biology have now been identified, providing a variety of promising therapeutic targets for metabolic disease.”

Imagine that! Scientists may soon be creating a fat-burning medication that could actually encourage the body to naturally burn more fat. All it has to do is activate more brown fat cells and encourage the browning of white fat cells, and our bodies could naturally burn fat more effectively on its own. That’s something to look forward to, isn’t it?






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