Ripped & Thermogenic to the CoreBy Feature Contributor George L Redmon Phd.
Several studies have confirmed that humans show significant (mild) cold induced thermogenesis, without shivering. Tissues shown to be involved in adults are skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue (BAT). The most likely cellular mechanism in both tissues is mitochondrial uncoupling. Recently functional BAT has been rediscovered in adult humans. At the functional level, adipocytes can be subdivided into white and brown. The most important function of white adipocytes is energy storage, while the main function of brown adipocytes is heat production.
Wouter Van Marken Lichtenbelt, Ph.D.
Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
Thermogenesis in practical terms centers on the body’s ability to increase energy expenditure above its natural metabolic rate. Dr. Lichtenbelt’s comments above suggest that adult humans have the capacity to induce thermogenesis by increasing the metabolic activity of skeletal muscle and fat tissue researchers refer to as BAT, short for brown adipose tissue. His comments also inform us about the existence of white adipose tissue (WAT) that serves as the main storage reservoirs for triglycerides, simple fats or lipids. The question that begins to emerge here is how can BAT, as well as WAT tissue for that matter be up-regulated or re-programmed to move an individual beyond their normal thermo-genic or fat-burning potential?
Based on research over the last decade or so researchers have discovered the existence of proteins within BAT and WAT tissue known as uncoupling proteins. Originally uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) was thought to be the main control switch in BAT that turned on this tissues internal heat pump so to speak. It does so by burning fatty acids from white fat stores.
However, researchers have discovered the existence of new uncoupling proteins UCP-2/UCP-3 widely dispersed within muscle, immune and amazingly in white body fat.
Comparably, UCP-2 and UCP-3 have similar heat producing effects to UCP-1, however independent of ATP production. Incidentally, mitochondria cells are referred to as the power house or energy factories of the cell where energy is produced and fatty acids are burned. Nonetheless, brown and white adipose tissues have a number of similar abilities such as fat storage and adipokine (cytokines-cell signaling proteins) secreted by adipose (fat) tissue.
As a note here, adipocytokines informs other cells about the energy status of the body and helps them burn fat safely and more efficiently. However, from a physiological standpoint the energy or fat storing white adipose tissue has few mitochondria and a low oxidative capacity. The heat-producing brown adipose tissue on the other hand has a high concentration of mitochondria and a high oxidative capacity, meaning they are more efficient at fat-burning.
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