Good ‘Brown fat’ could be key to weight loss

April 9, 2009

(ChattahBox) — In a study appearing today in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have found that adult humans have a type of “good” fat that may actually help burn calories rather than act as storage for excess calories.

This good fat, called brown fat, seems to be concentrated  in internal organs and between the shoulder blades (neck area) and is active in burning energy to generate heat, unlike white or yellow fat, which is what most fat is around the waist. The fat really is brown, researchers say, because it is filled with mitochondria, the tiny energy factories of cells. Mitochondria contain iron, giving the tissue a reddish brown color.
Scientists had long thought that brown fat existed in mammals and in humans only during childhood, giving babies that adorable pudge that helps to keep them warm.

But this new research shows that brown fat does in fact exist in adult humans. What’s more, the fat can be highly metabolically active, helping to burn calories, particularly when the body is in a cooler environment.

Women seem to have more brown fat than men; younger patients were more likely to have larger amounts and also adults who were thin and had normal blood glucose levels. People taking beta blockers for high blood pressure or other medical indications had less active brown fat.

The next step for the researchers will be to test if they can intervene in the development of fat cells, directing them to become brown fat cells, as has been done in mice. Even if successful, a treatment is five to 10 years away.

The hope is that scientists may find safe ways to turn on peoples’ brown fat, which could pave the way for new treatments both for obesity and type 2 diabetes.


Comments

3 Responses to “Good ‘Brown fat’ could be key to weight loss”

  1. Weight Loss » Blog Archive » Good ‘Brown fat’ could be key to weight loss on April 9th, 2009 8:03 am

    […] Original post by ChattahBox […]

  2. Good Brown fat could be key to weight loss : ChattahBox | Life Sciences Blog on April 10th, 2009 6:00 am

    […] normal blood glucose levels….Even if successful, a treatment is five to 10 years away….Read the Full Story VN:F [1.1.8_518]please wait…Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast) Sphere: Related […]

  3. v on May 14th, 2009 6:16 am

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