What role does brown fat play in our lives and health?
In case you didn't know, we have white fat and brown fat. Dr. Michaela Bilic explains the role of each type of fat in the body.
“We don't like fat. Not on a plate, not on a silhouette. But not all fats are the same. There are 2 types of fat in the human body: white fat and brown fat, with different structures and functions.
—white fat it is made up of specialized cells called adipocytes. Their role? To convert calories from food into reserve fat.
White adipose tissue is the most important energy reserve of the body, 10-25% of the weight of an adult is represented by fat. White adipocytes store excess calories in the form of triglycerides when we eat too much. And they also provide energy in the form of fatty acids when we're on a diet.
-Brown fat also consists of adipocytes, only their role is not in the accumulation of fat, but produce heat. Brown adipose tissue protects us from the cold, is better vascularized and has more intense metabolic activity than white fat.
And at the anatomical level, there are differences: white adipocytes consist of one lipid vacuole and several mitochondria, while brown adipocytes contain small lipid vacuoles and many mitochondria. Or the mitochondrion is the cellular organ responsible for adding calories and converting fats into heat.
bottom line? White fat stores energy and predisposes to obesity, while brown fat releases energy and helps to lose weight. How to limit white fat production and increase brown fat production? Unfortunately, this does not depend on our will, the differentiation of fat cells is genetically determined.
- Remember that brown adipose tissue is better represented in young people than in adults, and in men than in women. Those who live in cold environments and people who exercise regularly have brown adipose tissue.
The solution to treat obesity may be to stimulate brown adipocytes, increase metabolism and increase burning through thermogenesis. Sport has been shown to be the best method by which we limit the development of white adipose tissue, and exposure to cold causes brown adipocyte activation. So walking in the fresh air, especially in the cold season, really helps to lose weight! ”Explains Dr. Mihaela Bilic.