Brown fat – considered the good fat compared to villainous white fat cells – may make you thinner by not only burning extra calories, but also by using up excess glucose in the blood stream, just as effectively as insulin.
Brown fat, also known a brown adipose tissue, helps regulate body temperature, an action that requires energy, especially during colder weather. The process of generating energy not only uses glucose, but also burns calories.
That’s good news for those with type 2 diabetes, who have excess blood glucose because their bodies are no longer able to use insulin properly.
Until recently, researchers believed that brown fat cells were only present in children, but scans have found that adults do have brown fat cells, mainly in the back, spine and shoulders of adults, and they are more likely to be found in individuals who are not overweight or obese.
Brown fat cell numbers also become more prevalent when the temperatures drop, researchers say. They believe by activating brown fat cells, blood glucose levels could be controlled without oral medications or insulin injections.
According to scientists at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, brown fat cells have 10 times more glucose transporters than insulin, so activating those cells could be more effect at erasing excess blood glucose than using medications to increase insulin levels or encourage the body to better use existing insulin.
Researchers found that by mimicking cold exposure in brown fat, the cells produce large amounts of a protein that transports glucose into cells, acting independently of insulin, which also serves as a glucose transporter.
The research, which appeared in the Journal of Cell Biology, could lead to an innovative treatment to type 2, if the team can determine if obesity or diabetes do not have adverse effects on brown fat’s ability to regulate glucose.
In 2009, researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center also looked at brown fat’s ability to use energy while generating body heat, and said that calories burned in the process could lead to a drop in body weight that could also help reduce the symptoms of type 2.
“Brown fat is diabetes health magazine, diabetes, health, diabetes health, research report, type 2, type 2 diabetes, brown fat cells, not a cure for obesity,” said Joslin’s Dr. Aaron Cypess, “but burning off a hundred or more extra calories a day could add up.”