Scientist at John Hopkins School of Medicine have uncovered a way to turn bad fat in our body’s into fat that can burn off more weight and calories. This research is ground breaking as it may set a path for the future of human obesity. Led by Dr. Sheng Bi, an associated professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at john Hopkins School of Medicine, the team found that switching off the protein in the rats brain, common white fat or belly fat was produced into energy burning brown fat. Dr, Bi was quick to point out that, “if we could get the human body to turn ‘bad fat’ into ‘good fat’ that burns calories instead of burning then, we could add a serious tool to tackle the obesity epidemic in the U.S.
It has been known that most newborns are born with a heavy amount of brown fat tissue that is suppose to generate heat to keep the new born warm. Although many think that as we grow older we lose this brown fat and completely disappear when we reach adulthood. Although recent research has shown that an adult can retain a particular quantity of this brown fat. By upping the amount of brown fat a person can store one can utilize this as a powerful weapon against obesity.
The fist study was on the brain protein known as the neuropeptide Y, which regulates a person’s appetite. They set to confirm their suspicion that by suppressing the protein, they would cause the rats to consume less food. They tested out their theory by dividing the rats into two groups, with one serving as a control group. The other group was treated with a virus to inhibit the neuropeptide Y. It was shown that after five weeks, the virus treated group had eaten less and had also lost more weight that the rats on the control group. A test there after revealed that when both groups were given foods high in fat, the virus treated group also gained less weight than did the control group. They also discovered that the virus treated rats generated more heat when exposed to cold for six hours that the control group. After dissecting the rats the scientist found that the rats white fat had been replaced with brown fat in some areas of the bodies of the virus treated rats.
The disappearance of brown fat from our bodies may be that the stem cell remain intact and thus scientist have hypothesized that by altering the level of neuropeptide Y in the brain of the rats, brown fat stem cells which are stored in the white fat tissue were activated and evolved into brown fat. One way to stimulate weight loss would be to inject the brown fat stem cells under ones skin, noted the researchers.
The quest to learn more about how brain signals can set off the transformation of white fat into brown fat will continue and many hope that there will be hope of developing methods for targeting these molecules as a cure for obesity.