February 1, 2017
So fat is fat, and all fat is bad, right?
“Not all fat is equal,” says Professor Alexander Pfeifer from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University Hospital Bonn. Apparently, according to recent research out of University of Bonn, researchers have found a way to use what is called “brown fat” to burn energy from food and stimulate weight loss.
Humans actually have two different kinds of fat: white fat (which is the bad fat that makes our “love handles” that we want to get rid of) and brown fat which acts like a desirable heater to convert excess energy into heat. In essence, white fat stores energy, while brown fat helps the body burn energy through heat. In adults, people with higher amounts of brown fat have lower body mass, and according to studies, increasing brown fat by as little as 50 grams could lead up to a 10 to 20 pound weight loss in one year.
Using adenosine, a new signaling molecule typically released during stress, researchers at University of Bonn have discovered a way to activate these brown fat cells, and even turn white fat cells into brown fat cells, a process called “browning.”
More recently, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes identified an FDA-approved drug that can help create more of this brown fat. “Introducing brown fat is an exciting new approach to treating obesity and associated metabolic diseases, such as diabetes,” said study first author Baoming Nie, PhD, a former postdoctoral scholar at Gladstone.
Such a method of treating obesity is still in the research phase, and may not likely become a commonly accepted practice for some time yet. There are several potential side effects that may arise from taking the drug, and more development is necessary before human trials can be explored. Nonetheless, it is an exciting direction in the field of obesity treatment that healthcare professionals should keep a close eye on.
In the meantime, weight management is still an urgent need for so many across the country. For healthcare providers, there are already many effective ways to begin treating obesity. Learn more about how to start a weight management program, or if you are a dieter, connect with a provider who can get you started on your weight loss journey today. Need more inspiration? Listen to some success stories of dieters who have lost more than 200 pounds by starting a medically supervised program.
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation