What is "Brown Fat" and How Does It Help Diabetics?

Did you know that not all body fat is created equal? Brown adipose tissue, also known as 'brown fat', is actually a good type of body fat.

Types of Body Fat

White fat usually makes up the largest amount of body fat. This is your stored energy. It also produces hormones that are secreted into your blood stream. This hormone (adiponectin) helps insulin work on your liver and muscles. Too much fat, however, decreases the production of adiponectin.

Brown fat is the kind of fat that keeps you warm. Thin people have a much higher amount of brown fat than obese people, and children have more than adults. Other than warmth, brown fat was thought to be useless-- up until recently.

New Discoveries

As it turns out, brown fat is more like muscle. When properly stimulated, it helps burn white fat.
Even more amazingly, brown fat is highly effective in transporting glucose. When brown fat is activated, it produces 10 times more glucose transporters than insulin does.

What the Future Holds

This promising new research shows that by increasing brown fat in obese or diabetic people, scientists can help people burn off more weight and lower blood sugar levels. Researchers are looking into developing medications or treatments that may help increase brown fat in those who need it.

Photo: Peer Fit