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Do Brown Fat Cells Hold the Key to Eliminating Obesity and Diabetes?

By Editor, March 15, 2012

An article appearing in Science Daily reports that at the 93rd meeting of the Endocrine Society held in Boston, Aaron Cypress, MD, PhD, reported scientific findings which have lead researches to believe that brown fat in the human body may be helpful in treating obesity and diabetes.

Initially, it was believed that brown fat cells were only present in infant humans and small mammals. Further studies revealed that brown fat cells are found in most adult humans in an area extending from the front of the neck to the chest. However, the most recent studies have revealed that brown fat cells lie in areas of deep fat in other regions of the human body. Brown fat cells are not found in superficial fat in the human body. Superficial fat is made up of white fat cells. Brown fat cells are found marbled together with white fat cells in the deeper areas of fat found in the human body. The quantity of brown fat cells varies in each individual.

 

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Scientist were recently successful in removing brown fat cells from an individual having routine surgery. The cells were placed in a scientific dish in a laboratory and within two weeks those cells had multiplied significantly. Researches performed tests on those healthy brown fat cells and discovered that they burned more oxygen than did white fat cells. The higher rate of oxygen burn in the brown fat cells indicates that brown fat cells use more energy than white fat cells. Since calories are a measure of energy what is ultimately revealed is that brown fat cells burn more calories than white fat cells.

Obesity is largely the result of an individual either eating too many calories and/or not burning those calories efficiently. Type II diabetes is largely the result of an individual being over fat or obese. Thus, Dr. Cypress believes that increasing brown fat cells, which burn more calories in an individual, might prove to be an effective treatment option for obesity and Type II diabetes.

Dr. Cypress does warn that increasing brown fat cells in an individual will not be a cure for obesity or diabetes, but believes it may be part of a treatment plan. He reminds and emphasis that a healthy diet with proper caloric intake combined with adequate exercise will still be key in the treatment of obesity and diabetes.

Other research relating to brown fat cells has been conducted at a university in Quebec. Those researchers believe that it isn't the amount of brown fat that is most significant in protecting people from obesity and diabetes, but whether or not the brown fat cells one does have are stimulated and burning energy. They believe the important research is in finding ways to stimulate the brown fat cells.

Many scientists believe that having brown fat cells that are active and burning calories is a matter of life style. Their beliefs echo what we have all heard all along when it comes to warding off obesity, diabetes, and most other disease. That is, one must eat a healthy and largely plant-based diet that is free of processed foods. That one must get regular exercise in some enjoyable form and that one must find ways to reduce stress.

 

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