Keep it cool! Colder temperatures might help prevent obesity

Keep it cool! Colder temperatures might help prevent obesity ...

Obesity can cause and worsen many health problems, including asthma and cancer. But it's notoriously difficult to treat, as losing weight can seem near impossible.

According to a press release issued on Monday by the Joslin Diabetes Center, exposure to cold temperatures resolved obesity-induced inflammation while increasing insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in obese animals.

Obesity and metabolic disorder are linked to chronic inflammation.

"Extensive evidence suggests that obesity and metabolic syndrome are linked to chronic inflammation that leads to systemic insulin resistance, so disrupting inflammation in obesity might provide promising therapies for obesity-related illness," said Yu-Hua Tseng, PhD, a senior investigator in the Joslin Diabetes Center and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

"We found that cold exposure reduced inflammation and improved metabolism in obesity, mediated at least in part by the activation of brown adipose tissue."

Brown fat is being activated by activating it.

The study isn't entirely new. Two previous studies had demonstrated that cold exposure could very well activate brown fat, thereby regulating nutrient metabolism. However, in the current study, the researchers identified a new and improved role for a lipid mediator created from brown fat to alleviate inflammation.

Researchers tested a mouse model that became obese when fed a high-fat Western diet. When the animals were kept in a cold environment (around 4.44 degrees Celcius (40 degrees Fahrenheit)), their insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism improved, and their body weight decreased.

In addition, the animals displayed an increase in inflammation, as measured by reduced levels of a major inflammatory marker.Meanwhile, the animals kept at a thermoneutral zone did not experience those benefits and were more susceptible to obesity.

"We discovered that brown fat produces Maresin 2, which helps to manage inflammation both in the body," said Matthew Spite, PhD, a senior investigator at Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

"These findings suggest a previously unrecognized role of brown adipose tissue in promoting the resolution of inflammation in obesity via the production of this crucial lipid mediator."

The causes of these actions are still unknown, but the research suggests thatMaresin 2 may be useful for obesity, metabolic disease, or other chronic inflammation therapies. Could cooler temperatures provide some much-needed treatment options for the obese?

Is there any possibility that the research will lead to new and improved strategies to lose weight? More work is needed, but the present findings are promising.

Nature Metabolism is a peer-reviewed research.

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