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Brown Fat Weight Loss Using Mild Cold Exposure

September 26th, 2013

Brown Fat, White Fat, Good Fat, Bad Fat

Brown Fat Weight Loss – Is it real?

A breakthrough in brown fat weight loss research has been called the “holy grail” of weight loss treatments by Fox News. In January of 2014, scientists published research about a using MRI’s in measuring brown adipose tissue in humans. Until now, researchers have had limited ways of seeing brown fat in the body. Studies have relied on PET scans that are expensive and only see brown fat that is active. The location and size of brown fat that has not been activated could not be seen by a PET scan.

The author of the study on brown fat measurement with an MRI, Thomas Barber, a professor and endocrinologist at Warwick Medical School and UHCW NHS Trust, was quoted as saying: “[interest in brown fat activation for weight loss] is in the fact that this potentially can represent a completely novel mechanism whereby someone can lose weight… the key is to work out ways of activating the brown fat reserves you have.” The research was published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Methods in January.

With the MRI method of measuring brown fat, researchers will be able to study how much brown fat people have before it is activated and measure how much impact methods like wearing a weight loss cooling vest will have. Dr. Barber estimates that just a sugar cube size of brown fat that is activated for one year would burn up to 8.8 pounds of fat.

He was also quoted as saying that: “….enhancing brown fat activity … which is like taking an exercise pill … to enhance metabolic activity … burning off excess calories and releasing heat in the process, without actually doing exercise [is] almost like the holy grail [of weight loss therapy].

Brown-fat-weight-lossBrown fat weight loss is an exciting new field, but it already is an area where quick fix promises are being made not based on real research and accurate representation of the science. Brown Fat a/k/a “good fat” has become a focus of research in recent years for its importance in regulating metabolism. The human body at infancy has active brown adipose tissue, brown fat, that is important to maintain body temperature. Rather than store energy like white adipose tissue, white fat, the brown fat burns glucose calories to generate heat and maintain core body temperature in mild cold conditions. In colder conditions, below approximately 60 degrees fahrenheit, our body begins to shiver to generate heat for warmth. Shivering is uncomfortable and when you are that cold you are not activating brown fat: the body is focusing on firing major muscles to keep you warm. So scientists have been focused on turning on brown fat by triggering activity with mild cold such as sitting in a chilled room or wearing a cooling vest for BAT activation. Only this non-shivering thermogenesis is going to result in a higher fat burn by triggering the brown adipose tissue furnace. No cool fat burner or freeze away fat designed to be ice cold where the shiver response is triggered will provide the brown adipose tissue activation that burns fat. It is mild cold exposure that provides brown fat weight loss, and acute cold exposure is very uncomfortable in addition to being ineffective to activate good fat for weight loss. (“The participation of brown fat-derived thermogenesis in the response to acute cold is clearly optional, i.e., brown adipose tissue will be used if the capacity already exists, but if not, the animal will use other means (shivering) for the same purpose.” Brown Adipose Tissue: Function and Physiological Significance

One proven way to activate brown fat is with cold like the coming COOL BURN™ cooling vest for brown fat weight loss.  Measurement breakthroughs are going to be important to learning the best methods of using cooling to activate brown adipose tissue to treat obesity.

Knowing this it causes you to think about climate and the modern human condition of living in perfectly conditioned air, and not getting outside to the extent that we are even deficient in vitamin D unless we get it in our diet. There is an excellent read on this: The most overlooked public health intervention may be your thermostat!

In one of the latest studies in the field out of Japan, researchers studied not just the recruitment of brown adipose tissue by cold but also the effect on body fat. Fifty-one people in the study stayed in a cold room (19 degrees centigrade which is not cold enough to trigger the shivering response) for two hours per day for just six weeks. At the end of the six weeks the body fat mass of the cold room subjects showed a significant reduction from week zero. There was a direct correlation between cold activated good fat and the reduction in body fat mass.

brown fat weight loss

Results of the study of good fat activation by cold

So what are the best solutions? Look for obesity treatments that will activate brown adipose tissue with mild cold therapy as part of an overall program of diet and exercise. Nothing has changed with the equation of calories-in versus calories-out for achieving a healthy weight, but the effects of future products like the Hyperwear CoolBurn™ can accelerate that “calories-out” part of the equation as part of a properly designed weight loss program.

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