When it comes to body fat, there’s one thing most of can agree on: We want less of it.
But in recent years, researchers have discovered something surprising about one type of body fat. Doctors call it brown adipose tissue. The common name is brown fat.
Unlike regular white fat, it’s good for you.
It generates heat to regulate your body temperature. More importantly, it speeds your metabolism, so you burn more calories and stay at a healthy weight.
And there’s evidence brown fat also fights diabetes. It boosts insulin sensitivity and improves blood sugar control.
But a study shows that one of America’s most prescribed drugs robs you of brown fat.
The discovery was made by an international group of researchers. They were led by Professor Christian Wolfrum of ETH Zurich, a university in Zurich, Switzerland. They found that statins reduce brown fat.
The researchers looked at scans of 8,500 patients at the University Hospital Zurich. They found that patients not taking statins were six times more likely to have significant amounts of brown fat than those who were on the cholesterol drugs.
They backed up the findings with a separate clinical study looking at hospital patients. It also showed that statins reduce brown fat.
Professor Wolfrum has been studying brown fat for many years. He and his colleagues had previously researched how unhealthy white fat becomes healthy brown fat. They discovered the biochemical process for that transformation produces cholesterol.
Statins, which lower cholesterol, may inhibit this process.
Separate studies have found that statins raise the risk of diabetes by as much as 50%. The reduction of brown fat may be the mechanism behind this dangerous statin side effect.
How to Activate Your Brown Fat
Everybody, whether they take statins or not, can benefit from more brown fat and activating the brown fat they already have.
Here’s how to do it…
Everybody has more white fat than brown. Brown fat is found in the sides of the neck, the collarbone area, along the spine, and in the shoulders and upper arms.
There are two types of brown fat. The kind we’re born with is called “constitutive.” The other kind is called “recruitable.” White fat can be “recruited” to become brown under the right circumstances, such as when you…
- Exercise. Our bodies produce a protein called irisin. Studies show that irisin helps turn white fat cells into brown. People who are active produce more irisin than those who are sedentary. Aerobic exercise, especially high intensity interval training (HIIT) is best for boosting irisin. Learn how to do HIIT here.
- Keep it cool. Studies suggest that exposure to temperatures of 66 degrees or lower for two hours generates brown fat.
- Eat apples. Ursolic acid is a substance that is found in apple skins. A study at the University of Iowa found that ursolic acid raised levels of brown fat cells in mice.
Are statins robbing you of crucial brown fat?
If you are taking statins and have issues with weight and blood sugar, talk to your doctor about whether it makes sense to continue taking them. And take the steps above to optimize your healthy brown fat.
Editor’s Note: Unlike much of the mainstream media, we don’t accept advertising from Big Pharma. That’s why you can count on us for unbiased medical information.
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