What is brown fat and what is its role in our weight?

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In some areas, current scientific knowledge allows us to know many things about the organism of human beings and the way it functions. If the brain or the stomach still have a lot to reveal to us, other elements are however quite documented. This is particularly the case with the various fatty tissues that can constitute the body. In recent years, we have indeed heard a lot about brown fat (among others), and its role in the body. What is behind this name, which may seem a little sketchy at first glance? Is it necessarily “bad”? So what is the role of this type of fat in the body?

The different types of fatty tissue

Before we begin, let’s clarify a few essentials. By the somewhat familiar designation that the term fat may constitute, we actually mean adipose tissue. Just as there are many types of cholesterol, there are good and less good fats at all mammals, which influence health to a greater or lesser extent. There are therefore several types of adipose tissue. Note first the white adipose tissue, then the beige, but the best known are undoubtedly white and brown. In all cases, they allow store energy necessary for the human body.

White fat

Broadly speaking, white adipose tissue constitutes 15 to 25% of the human body depending on the sex or the build of a person. Most of the white fat is white adipocytes : these are cells that are specialized in storing lipids. If it is found mainly at the level of the abdomen and viscera, it will be more towards the buttocks and hips in women and in the region of shoulders at men’s. Its main role is to store fat and calories, to better supply them to the body in case of distress of the organism. But at the same time, it does not eliminate them.

What exactly is brown fat?

As with white fat, this is mainly made up of brown adipocytes. But unlike the first, brown fat is mostly found in infants and fetuses. In the animal kingdom, animals that hibernate are those who have the most. Because cold activates brown fat : the latter allows warm the body and to produce saving heat for animals that live in the cold, and for babies who do not yet have the physical capacity to shiver.

But do adults have any? It was long believed that brown fat disappeared after a year of life. A recent study by the University of Laval, however, refuted this claim by finding that each human being – adult – possessed approximately 200 grams of brown fat, located at the top of the abdomen and at the neck.

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The conditions for activating brown fat in the body

We understand, the cold plays a leading role in activation of brown fat. Faced with its counterpart which is white fat, it constitutes a track under study among scientists looking at the weight. Since we know that brown fat is present in smaller quantities than white fat in our body, is it possible to transform the latter (in brown fat, therefore)?

Therefore, avenues have been studied to see if the activation of brown fat could lead to weight change or the distribution of fat in the body. The first being its close connection with the cold of course, since more than being a source of heat, brown adipose tissue could have a role in the elimination of calories and the regulation of sugar levels !

How to activate it?

We now know that the cold gives him the role of fat Burner, unlike white fat which is “simply” content with store. But from there to spending the winter in short sleeves and voluntarily exposing yourself to the cold, there is still a margin not to exceed ! Give priority to cool showers and do not overheat certain rooms such as the bedroom (not more than 20 ° C for example) is a good start. But these gestures do not exempt from physical activity and an appropriate diet.

And in view of the many fat burners are already accessible in the form of food supplements, we can only say that scientists have already been able to develop processed products which testify to the importance of brown fat. In fact, we should not hesitate to compare fat burners to navigate more easily and possibly adapt your physical activity.

What scientists think

Especially since there are other ways to activate it, especially so that it has a role in people who would like to reduce their overweight. This is precisely what Mirko Trajkovski, professor at the Department of Cell Physiology and Metabolism at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), is working on.

He and his team are currently looking at other means than the cold to activate brown fat, in particular by focusing on the microbiota. According to the scientist, “The microbiota can regulate the positive effects of exposure to the cold, by activating brown fat, browning white fat, […] and by reducing general obesity in mice ”. A hypothesis that remains to be confirmed or not.

On the other hand, scientists also seek to know more about thepossible role of appetite suppressant of brown fat via experiments on mice. It remains to be seen where these experiments will end.

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