Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Brown Fat & Happy

Being (brown) "fat" can be environmentally conscious /or/  metabolically warming.

Brown Fat, Triggered by Cold or Exercise, May Yield a Key to Weight Control [NYT - 1.25.12]

It is brown fat, actually brown in color, and its great appeal is that it burns calories like a furnace. A new study finds that one form of it, which is turned on when people get cold, sucks fat out of the rest of the body to fuel itself. Another new study finds that a second form of brown fat can be created from ordinary white fat by exercise.

Of course, researchers say, they are not blind to the implications of their work. If they could turn on brown fat in people without putting them in cold rooms or making them exercise night and day, they might have a terrific weight loss treatment. And companies are getting to work.

Brown fat helps to maintain body temperature by burning up chemical energy to create heat. It's found in small mammals like rodents throughout their lives. Human infants have it when they're born, but we lose brown fat as we age. By adulthood, researchers thought, our brown fat was essentially nonexistent. However, it's been difficult to actually measure brown fat.

Brown fat, Dr. Carpentier and Jan Nedergaard, wrote in an accompanying editorial, “is on fire.” ...

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