Of late, obesity has become one of the threatening issues in our modern life. It is the threshold for diseases like high blood pressure, heart ailment etc. Earlier, it was common among older people but nowadays it is affecting youngsters also including children. One data reveals that India is the second nation in the world to have more number of obese children. To put it precisely, a period of six months ago, the count was 1 cr and 44 lakhs children in India affected by obesity. The main culprit is ‘fat’. Fat only helps our body to function; at the same time, it causes obesity with the excess of it getting stored in different parts of the body, thus changing our very appearance.
Research findings state two types of fat – one causes obesity and the other is responsible for controlling the fat content in our body. It is known as ‘Brown Fat’ about which the Physiotherapist Ramya talks at length as under.
What is Brown Fat?
In general, there are two types of fat available in our body. One is yellow colour fat and the other one is brown colour fat. The latter is known as Brown adipose tissue (BAT) of Brown fat. The yellow colour fat is obtained from food and getting stored everywhere in the body. In the case of women, it will get deposited in their hip and stomach regions while in the case of men, it will get deposited in the stomach region. Basically, this yellow colour fat gets converted as energy and will stay in our muscles.
The brown fat exists in our body naturally since birth. Normally, it will be in the parts of neck and shoulder. During childhood stage, it will function very effectively. It will control the body heat. It will also burn the energy obtained from our food. When we shift from childhood to manhood stage, it will cease to function; rather, it will become dormant in our body. It will start heating up our body when chillness increases and that is why the children hardly tremble in cold weather.
Researches are on for increasing and inducing the brown fat to function in our body. Doctors use Pet scan method to find out the availability of brown fat in our body. However, it is a costly preposition. Normally, pet scan method is used to find out the cancer cells in our body with the help of radio-active materials. When this method is used the colour of the cancer cells undergoes changes and this determines the existence of cancer disease in our body.
Similarly, the Radioactive Sugar Molecules will be injected at the time of administration of this pet scan method in order to find out the availability of brown fat in our body. When this is done, the sugar molecules would be absorbed by the brown fat. That is how the existence of brown fat is determined. Inducing the brown fat in our body, it is possible for the weight reduction according to some research studies. Inducement can be done by physical exercises.
This apart, there is one more method known as ‘Cool Therapy’ to induce the brown fat for reduction of the excess fat in the stomach region. In this method, the patient lies down with both the chest and below the waist part duly covered in a room which is made to cool minus degree temperature. Under this cool therapy method, the brown fat is induced to dissolve the yellow fat in the stomach region, thereby reducing the body weight.
So far the research studies have not come out with the specific food items to increase the brown fat; rather only the physical exercise will be able to increase the brown fat. Hence, the Physiotherapist Ramya concludes that it is essential to ensure that the brown fat in our body is not allowed to remain dormant and that is enough to keep our body weight under control.
Dermatologist Revathy opines that by dissolving the white fat under our skin by means of machineries, we can reduce the weight of the body to some extent. She further states that there is another active fat known as Visceral Fat in our body and by reducing the visceral fat in our stomach region by means of diet and exercise, we can achieve weight reduction in our body. Palleo diet does this only in reducing the weight. When we do not directly take carbohydrate in our food, the inner body mechanism itself will convert the food into carbohydrate. In this process, the excess fat in our body is getting dissolved and the overall weight is reduced. However, this requires very strict diet and physical exercise to be observed for long.
Brown fat in our body is considered good fat which contains iron more and hence it is dark red in colour. Brown fat will absorb more oxygen and it stays around our shoulders like a shield. When this is induced to work, it reduces the white fat and increases the body weight. This basically helps human beings and animals in the cold regions to sustain the body temperature. The brown fat will be very active in the case of babies. If the brown fat is active in our body, we will not become obese and if it is sleeping in our body, we will tend to become fat. Above all, this brown fat will help the newly-born babies (short of ten months) overcome the disease of hypothermia.
Status of recent researches:-
Varied researches are being conducted to examine the possibility of reducing the body weight and one among them is with the help of brown fat. However, there has been no specific finding to increase the brown fat in our body.
One research study confirms that under cool therapy method, when the brown fat is induced and activated, more calories are being burnt in the body. But this is yet to be considered in the form of treatment widely. Researches cover the possibility and scope of using brown fat to dissolve the white fat in our body.
Dr.Revathy finally shares that the day is not too far to find out and confirm that weight reduction is certainly possible using the function of brown fat in our body.
(This article originally written in Tamil by K Sridevi has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)