Brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat, is a special type of fat activated when you get cold. It produces heat, which helps maintain body temperatures during cold weather and other conditions.
This brown fat contains more mitochondria compared to white fat. Mitochondria are the source of brown fat that burns calories to generate heat. Brown fat is able to use regular fat as fuel. In addition to that, physical exercise may stimulate hormones that turn on the brown adipose tissue.
Differences Between Brown Fat and White Fat
Brown fat and white fat are two types of cells found in the body and are both made up of loose connective tissues. Some of the differences between these two fats are:
- Brown adipose tissue is a less common type of fat in the body that is thermogenic, while white fat is less abundant and non- thermogenic.
- White adipose tissue has a single lipid droplet, but brown adipose tissue contains small lipid droplets combined with a high number of irons containing mitochondria.
- Brown fat has more capillaries than white fat because it has a very high oxygen consumption.
- White adipose tissues are found under the skin and around the organs, while brown adipose fats are found in shoulder blades and under the skin.
- When one consumes too many calories, the body converts them into an energy reserve in the form of white fat. On the other hand, brown fat generates heat by burning calories.
Humans and other mammals with high levels of brown fat take longer to shiver compared to those with low levels. Research claims that newborns have the highest level of brown adipose tissues located on the upper half of the spine towards the shoulders.
Previously, it was thought that brown adipose fat was found in infants but later disappeared in adulthood. However, recent research has revealed that brown adipose tissue is present in a major subset of the adult population.
Brown Adipose Tissue and Obesity
Some clinical studies suggest that when brown adipose tissue is activated, it can manage some health conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Other studies have shown interest in increasing the mass of thermogenic brown adipose tissue. This can be relevant to obesity in that the activity and abundance of brown adipose tissue have been dramatically reduced.
With the discovery of brown fat and in that its mass as well as activity is lowered in both obese and diabetic patients, researchers found a promising treatment of obesity and its related disorders. Brown adipose tissue mass and activity change as a person gets old.
An increased mass of brown adipose tissue at birth is related to decreased accumulation of body fat during the first six months of newborns’ life. In adults, a reduced mass of brown adipose tissue and activities has been observed in them as age goes by and may impact the accumulation of body fat.
The results of transcriptomic studies have shown several brown adipose tissue molecular networks modulated in a time-dependent mode in response to a high-fat diet. These molecular networks work together with skeletal muscle development, regulation of iron transport, neurotransmitter secretion, the immune system and lipid metabolism.
An increase in brown adipose mass could emerge as the best strategy against obesity and related metabolic diseases.
Ways To Increase Brown Fat in the Body
Some drugs can help turn white fat into brown fat. Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) is a type of drug that can manage insulin resistance, leading to brown fat accumulation. TZD is primarily prescribed to diabetic people only. Also, they are associated with fluid retention, weight gain, and other effects.
Exposing your body to cool and cold temperatures might help build up more brown fat cells. Just 2 hours of exposure daily to temperatures around 19°C or 66°F can ensure so. Also, you can take a cold shower or ice bath, decrease house temperatures or go outside in cold weather.
During exercise, the body produces a protein called irisin, which might help browning of white fat. So, activities like walking, jogging, swimming or attending the gym can increase brown fat in your body.
2022: The World’s First Brown Adipose Supplement is Launched
In 2022, we saw the launch of the first product in the world designed to target low brown adipose tissue: Exipure. It is a natural proprietary formula manufactured in the USA at an FDA-registered and GMP-certified facility using the strictest and most sterile guidelines. The results have so far been mind-blowing: