Researchers Find That Unhealthy Fat May Be Turned Into ‘Good Fat’ To Keep People Thinner And Youthful
The human body is an amazing thing. So amazing, in fact, that it actually has three different types of fat known as brown, beige, and white fat adipose tissues. But more than that, it’s the newfound ability that this fat has to turn one into the other, which could actually produce a major revolution in metabolic disease prevention.
A new study from the California Davis University and Copenhagen University, they’ve found that by turning a particular number of genes off in white fat cells, they turned into pluripotent cells, which can then become cells for a variety of tissues and organs in the body, in particular, they turned white fat into brown fat.
When it comes to brown fat, it’s quite useful for the body because it burns tons of calories to create heat in a process called thermogenesis . However, because of the nature of modern life, people tend to have very little brown fat.
Although the thought of having more fat, regardless of what kind, may seem unbeneficial for creatures other than marine mammals that need it to keep warm in cold water, the more brown fat someone has, the less risk they have to obtain particular diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, as well as ‘all the other modern hallmarks of the standard American diet.’
During the study, the researchers managed to return white fat cells to a state of embryonic pluripotency. They managed this by using the Yamanaka Factors, which are a set of four genes discovered by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, who won a Nobel Prize due to these particular efforts.
By changing the other epigenetic switches, with epigenetics being explained as ‘adaptations to genetic expression developed through environmental stressors,’ they managed to successfully convert the white fat into brown fat. Then after they cultivated those brown fat cells in a lab, they injected them into sheep that were overweight who then used the brown fat to burn away the white fat.
Amazingly, the process actually cured the sheep’s diabetes and metabolic disorders, which was considered a huge moment in the research field.
At the University of Copenhagen, the scientists have already been experimenting with a possible drug that could work to stimulate the calorie-burning activity of brown fat by ‘activating genetic switches in the same way that exposure to cold stimulates it.’ However one issue with this is that it also produces stress and high blood pressure since the body believes its fighting to remain warm, which for some people, can be dangerous for their health.
The researchers were able to identify the GPR4, which is a cell surface receptor, that doesn’t have to get messaging molecules to activate it, while also being plentiful on the brown fat cells’ surface. Moreover, it also increased their self-signaling while also increasing the rate of how quickly the brown fat managed to chew through calories as well.
Human infants happen to be born with a lot of brown fat, however this number gets less as people get older. White fat, on the other hand, increases as people get older, creating inflammation that’s associated with the other numerous indications of aging. In fact, it’s main purpose is to store excess sugar and carbs as glycogen, which is a form of energy. People don’t add on white pounds by eating fat in the form of triglycerides, but rather because of their lifestyle choices – such as a lack of exercise, movement, and a poor diet that tends to be high in refined vegetable oils.
Studies show that cold exposure is actually the best way to increase the adipose tissue in brown fat. Aside from creating brown fat – which was found to generate heat ‘at a rate of 252 calories per day compared to 78 calories from those who had no detectable brown fat’ –it was also found to be able to absorb more glucose from the bloodstream than the insulin-stimulated glucose uptake than that of regular muscle tissue.
What researchers believe is that by finding cost-friendly yet safe ways to increase people’s amount of brown fat may actually reverse the obesity crisis in the country in a better and more natural way.