Tags: cold | burns | fat | diet | ephedrine

‘Cold’ Burns Fat Better Than Pills

Thursday, 07 June 2012 01:35 PM

Diet pills that contain the drug ephedrine don’t help obese people shed pounds, but a type of "good" fat found in the body that promotes weight loss appears to be activated by cold temperatures, new research shows.
Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center have found cold helps stimulate “brown fat” that, when activated, burns calories and can help in the battle against obesity.
The finding, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, could lead to new drugs or treatment approaches that are more effective than existing diet pills.
"We propose that agents that work similarly to cold in activating brown fat specifically can provide promising approaches to fighting obesity while minimizing other side effects," said lead researcher Dr. Aaron Cypess, a physician at Joslin. "At the same time, we now know that ephedrine is not the way to do it”
Brown fat occurs naturally in humans and consumes calories to generate heat. Prior studies have suggested brown fat is affected by cold and researchers have been working for years to find ways to activate it as a way to promote weight loss naturally.
Ephedrine, a decongestant and bronchodilator, has been used as a weight loss drug because it helps the body burn calories. But such pills carry negative side effects and have been found to be ineffective in promoting significant weight loss.
For the new study, the Joslin team tested 10 study subjects. Each participant was given injections of ephedrine, an inactive saline shot and made to wear "cooling vests" that had water cooled to 57 degrees pumped into them. After each treatment, researchers measured the brown fat activity in the participants by using PET/CT scans.
They found that brown fat activity was the same following both the ephedrine and saline injections. But after wearing the cooling vests for two hours, the participants’ brown fat activity was stimulated significantly.
The findings may help companies come up with agents and products that stimulate brown fat to help people lose weight, Cypess said.
One method may be simply to design cooling vests people can wear to help them lose weight. Cypress said researchers will now test the effects of wearing the vests for several weeks to see what happens.
"Will they get the same health benefits they would have seen with several weeks of exercise? That's the billion dollar question," he said.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

© HealthDay

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Cold temperatures are found to activate a type of 'good' fat that promotes weight loss.
Thursday, 07 June 2012 01:35 PM
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