-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, July 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- People with higher
levels of brown fat have a reduced risk for obesity and diabetes, a
new study suggests.
Unlike white fat, which lowers insulin sensitivity, researchers
found that brown fat actually improves insulin sensitivity, blood
sugar control and fat-burning metabolism.
"This is good news for overweight and obese people," Labros Sidossis, a professor of internal medicine in the division of geriatric medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said in a university news release. "This is great news for people with insulin resistance and diabetes, and suggests that brown fat may prove to be an important anti-diabetic tissue."
Previous research has suggested that brown fat plays a role in
regulating body temperature, according to the U.S. National
Institutes of Health.
In conducting the new study, published recently in the journal
Diabetes, the researchers compared the resting energy
expenditure, blood sugar usage and insulin sensitivity of a group
of similar, healthy men with either high or low levels of brown
The men were exposed to either normal or slightly cold
temperatures for five to eight hours. During this time, the
researchers analyzed samples of their blood and breath to monitor
changes in their hormone, blood sugar and insulin levels. The
investigators also tracked their whole body oxygen consumption and
carbon dioxide production rates.
Brown and white fat tissue samples were also taken. The
researchers examined these samples for any differences in cellular
energy production and gene expression.
When exposed to slightly cold temperatures, brown fat can boost
energy expenditure and burn calories, the study revealed.
"We showed that exposure to mild cold raised whole body energy expenditure, increased glucose [blood sugar] removal from the circulation and improved insulin sensitivity in men who have significant amounts of brown [fat]," explained Sidossis. "These results support the notion that brown [fat] may function as an anti-obesity and anti-diabetic tissue in humans."
While the study showed an association between levels of brown
fat and a reduced risk for obesity and diabetes, it did not prove a
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.