By Claire Wiggins
Obesity is becoming a growing problem worldwide, but especially in the United States. Packing on these excess calories has been linked to numerous diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
As the traditional diet plans are statistically ineffective, researchers have been investigating new ways for effective weight loss. A team of researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany has recently made leaps towards this goal, discovering a new way to burn energy by stimulating brown fat.
There are two main classes of fat in animals: white fat, which swell as excess weight is added, and brown fat, which work to provide heat to the body, burning up excess calories. According to Professor Alexander Pfeifer from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University Hospital Bonn, "If we are able to activate brown fat cells or to convert white fat cells into brown ones, it might be possible to simply melt excess fat away."
The key to this new study is the use of adenosine: a signaling molecule that is typically reduced when the body is under stress. When the researchers induced the production of brown fat A2A receptors in white fat cells, they started turning into brown fat cells when exposed to adenosine. Even though clinical applications are still far off, this study is a promising beginning to a potential treatment of obesity in the future.
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