(NaturalPath) According to a study out of the Department of Biochemistry at McGill University published in the journal Genes & Development, researchers have uncovered a new molecular pathway for stimulating the body to burn fat, which in turn could help fight obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The study focused primarily on a protein called folliculin and evaluated how it regulated the activity in fat cells.
When the researchers took some mice and eliminated that gene that produced folliculin in fat cells, a series of biomolecular signals were triggered that switched the cells from storing fat to burning it.
There are two different kinds of fat — brown and white. The brown fat is a sign that a cell is in metabolic overdrive because its role is to burn energy to produce heat, while the white fat serves as an energy-storage tissue. More recently a new type has been found – beige fat. It serves as a sort of melding between brown and white fat.
“Conversion from white fat cells to beige or brown fat cells is a very desirable effect in the obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome indications, since excess energy in the body is not stored in fat tissue but is burned in brown or beige fat tissue,” the main researcher said.
Through an experiment, the researchers compared regular mice with those bred to not produce folliculin. Those mice deficient in folliculin were burning more fat than their counterparts. The extra energy they were producing made them better at tolerating cold temperatures too.
The main researcher went on to talk about potential applications. “Since that mechanism involves a class of proteins that can be targeted by drugs that are readily absorbed in the body, one implication is that a drug could be developed to stimulate the activity of beige/brown fat cells and thus help manage obesity and other metabolic disorders.”
The applications of this research could be impactful and far-reaching.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.