Brown fat burns calories

Brown fat burns calories

Brown fat could be the key to combating obesity, as researchers have discovered that it has the ability to burn calories.

The specialised tissue known as brown adipose tissue has long been known for burning calories to produce body heat in rodents and newborn human babies. However, it has been found that adults also have the fat.

A study at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute found that hormones produced by heart - known as cardiac natruiretic peptides - can cause regular fat cells to take on properties of brown fat cells in vitro.

In mouse models it was found that upgrading white fat to brown fat could increase energy usage and combat obesity.

It is hoped that exploiting this knowledge will help the UK combat its obesity epidemic.

Currently it is estimated that 22 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women in England are obese.

Some 30,000 people die prematurely every year from obesity-related conditions, BBC Health claims.

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