advertisement
06 June 2011

Brown fat cells may combat obesity

There are two types of fat: the white kind that stores kilojoules and the brown kind that burns them. Now, researchers say that it is actually possible to make more brown fat to help people lose weight.

0

The human body has two kinds of fat: the "bad" white kind that stores kilojoules and the "good" brown kind that burns them. Now, researchers say that it is actually possible to make more brown fat to help people lose weight.

"We are now even more optimistic that brown fat could be used for treating obesity and diabetes," said study lead author Dr Aaron Cypess, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

In 2009, Cypess showed that although adults tend to have a lot more white fat than they do brown, most have some brown fat in an area extending from the front of their neck to their chest.

Now, in a follow-up study Cypess found ore good brown fat cells also exist in deeper fat. In fact, some of them were actually mixed in with white fat cells.

"It's a marbling at the cellular level," Cypess said. "We wondered: Wouldn't it be nice if you could grow more brown fat? The answer is yes."

Fat cells and obesity

The researchers grew mature human brown fat cells from pre-adipocytes, or pre-fat cells, taken from a fresh sample of brown fat. Cypess noted that the process, which took about two weeks in a lab, would probably happen more quickly in the body.

By measuring the oxygen consumption rate of fat cells, the researchers also demonstrated that brown fat does in fact burn a significant number of kilojoules. Although the study concluded that stimulating the growth of additional brown fat may be a promising treatment for obesity, the researchers stressed that making more good fat would not be a substitute for proper diet and exercise.

"As powerful as brown fat could be at burning kilojoules, we can easily out-eat the benefit," Cypess warned.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the findings should be viewed as preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Contraceptives and you »

Scientists create new contraceptive from seaweed Poor long-term birth control training leads to 'accidents'

7 birth control myths you should stop believing

Will the Pill make you gain weight? Can you fall pregnant while breastfeeding? We bust seven common myths about birth control.

Your digestive health »

Causes of digestive disorders 9 habits that could hurt your digestive system

Your tummy rumblings might help diagnose bowel disorder

With the assistance of an 'acoustic belt', doctors can now determine the cause of your tummy troubles.