Cold Conditions Boosts Vitamin A; Helps Fat Burning
Researchers at MedUni Vienna’s Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism report that cold ambient temperatures increase vitamin A levels in both mice and humans. The scientists report that this helps convert (bad) white adipose tissue into (good) brown adipose tissue that stimulates fat burning and heat generation.
In a report featured on Science Daily and published in the journal Molecular Metabolism they note that this fat transformation is usually accompanied by enhanced energy consumption. The researchers explain that this offers a promising approach for the development of obesity therapeutics.
The scientists explain humans have both white and brown fat tissue. During obesity development, excess calories are mainly stored in white fat. In contrast, brown fat burns energy and thereby generates heat.
The report explains that more than 90% of the body fat depots in humans are white which are typically located at the abdomen, bottom, and upper thighs. They postulate that converting white into brown fat could be a new therapeutic option to combat weight gain and obesity.
MedUni Vienna researchers demonstrated that moderate application of cold increases the levels of vitamin A. They explain that most of the vitamin A reserves are stored in the liver. Cold exposure seems to stimulate the redistribution of vitamin A towards the adipose tissue. The cold-induced increase in vitamin A led to a conversion of white fat into brown fat with a higher rate of fat burning.
They note that this is not an argument for consuming large amounts of vitamin A supplements unless not prescribed. Vitamin A must be transported to the right cells at the right time,” explains Florian Kiefer from the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine III at MedUni Vienna. “We have discovered a new mechanism by which vitamin A regulates lipid combustion and heat generation in cold conditions. This could help us to develop new therapeutic interventions that exploit this specific mechanism.”
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