Scientists from the U.S. Johns Hopkins team have managed to turn bad white fat into good brown fat in recent experiments on rodents. This breakthrough could be a huge step in treating obesity if it were able to yield the same results in humans.
Brown fat is present in all humans during the infant years, but disappears as we age. Brown fat has been called the key to burning fat and could be a helpful way to control weight. When brown fat is lost in the body, it is replaced by white fat which has been called “bad fat” because it just sits. In their experiment, scientists were able to suppress an appetite stimulating protein called NPY. Through this suppression, the rodent’s appetite and caloric intake was reduced. This was the case even when they were fed a diet high in fat. An even more interesting development with this experiment was that the rodent’s bad white fat stores turned into good brown fat.
For those fighting obesity and harmful obesity related diseases like hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, this breakthrough could be very helpful. There is more research needed, but the preliminary results are promising. Some wonder whether injecting brown fat stem cells under the skin would help encourage weight loss and burn off white fat, but this possible solution does not address the behaviors involved that lead to someone becoming obese. If the future research does prove this to be effective, that’s something that would need to be considered.
May 17th, 2011