Why brown fat is good for your health decoded
Scientists have discovered how brown fat, also known as brown adipose tissue, may help protect against obesity and diabetes.
The recently published research adds to our knowledge about the role of brown fat in human health and could lead to new medications for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes.
People have a few grammes of it in areas including the neck, collarbone, kidneys and spinal cord, said researchers from Rutgers University-New Brunswick in the US.
When activated by cool temperatures, brown fat uses sugar and fat from the blood to generate heat in the body.
The study found that brown fat could also help the body filter and remove branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) from the blood.
BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are found in foods like eggs, meat, fish, chicken and milk, but also in supplements used by some athletes and people who want to build muscle mass.
In normal concentrations in the blood, these amino acids are essential for good health. In excessive amounts, they're linked to diabetes and obesity.
The researchers found that people with little or no brown fat have reduced ability to clear BCAAs from their blood, and that may lead to the development of obesity and diabetes.
The study also solved a 20-plus year mystery about brown fat: how BCAAs enter the mitochondria that generate energy and heat in cells.
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