So we’re all familiar with the research that shows us, that the fatter your body becomes, the harder it becomes to burn off that excess fat…right? As people eat more fat than they burn, the body stores this excess energy in various parts of the body, and as this storage increases, your metabolism changes.
The good news is, a recent study by researchers at the University of Cambridge, identified one of the proteins that contribute to this blockage of burning fat. The culprit, is called sLR11, and it was found to be blocking the functioning of brown fat cells — wait what? Brown fat cells? — which are responsible for generating heat to keep us warm. With this protein becoming more abundant, instead of burning fat to generate heat and keep us warm, it instead helps the body store fat more efficiently by preventing excessive heat generation. Booo!
Let’s take a look at our fat cells for a moment shall we?
There are two forms of fat cells — brown cells and white cells — and each type of cell plays a different role in our metabolism.
White cells are responsible for the storage of fat…or energy…ready to be released when ready. Brown cells help our bodies generate heat. Levels of brown fat are known to be high in children, however, recent findings are showing the repsence of brown fat in adults, which has now raised hopes in using them as targets to treat obesity.
According to these recent studies, obese people have less brown fat than lean people…and the same applies for diabetics. One researcher stated, “If you can increase the brown fat in obese and diabetic people, then you can improve their situation.” This has been known for some time actually, but making it a reality has been the challenge. The newly discovered sLR11 protein could provide that answer.
All Ahead Full
Let’s compare the protein sLR11 to the brake of a car. The protein functions to stop the body from accelerating its production of heat. Obese and people with diabetes have more of these brakes, preventing them from creating heat and therefore losing fat. During the study, doctors removed the gene that produces this protein from mice, and found that they were able to burn off calories faster. The researchers went on to examine the protein in humans and found that levels of the protein correlated with the total fat mass in a person. What’s more, they investigated levels in obese patients after they underwent bariatric surgery, and their weight loss was directly proportional to the decrease in levels of the sLR11 protein in their systems.
This makes brown fat cells an attractive therapeutic target for weight loss, and for anti-obesity and anti-type 2 diabetes therapies.
Upping the Brown vs White
A common focus to tackle obesity has been to accelerate the production of brown fat cells so people burn more calories, but this new insight could achieve the same but through enhancing the activity…and efficiency…of cells. The mice in the study became protected from obesity with increased browning of their white fat cells. So far, the researchers believe, that controlling energy storage will be a better approach to beat the obesity epidemic than controlling people’s eating habits.
In the short term, there isn’t going to be a magic pill that suppresses the sLR11 protein, as more research is needed to evaluate any clinical relevance…of course…but there is promise that we’re gaining ground on the war against obesity.
For now, you’re going to have to stick with the good `ol favorites….diet and exercise….which really aren’t so bad. Yes I get it that you’re not a kid any longer, and your schedule might not allow for physical activity like it once did, however, finding time to get out and get active is even more essential the older you get than it once was. Then you have to ask yourself, if convenience fast foods, are actually convenient, considering they’re full of added sugars, sodium, trans fats, saturated fats, and you’re going to need to up your treadmill time by a factor of five in order to burn them off.
Bottom line, let the researchers keep researching the metabolic battle against obesity using the suppression of proteins, while you concentrate on not falling off the elliptical, and enjoying some of the yummy recipes I’ve posted here on my site! In my next article on weight-loss and wellness, I’ll be sharing some of the best products I’ve found recently that will aide you in your fight to reduce your waistline, and increase your energy levels, and re-align your focus towards a better looking and feeling you.