Cold temperatures may help fight obesity, metabolic disease

Scientists theorize that reversing – known as addressing – this chronic inflammation could prevent the onset of obesity-related diseases including diabetes and may facilitate weight loss.

Can cold temperatures help you lose weight?

In a new paper published in Natural metabolismResearchers at Joslin Diabetes Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have found that exposure to cold temperatures helps to address obesity-induced inflammation while also improving insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in mice diet-induced obesity.


The team further revealed that this process relies on brown adipose tissue (fat) – sometimes referred to as “good fat” – to produce a natural molecule called Maresin 2 when stimulated by cold. Recognized as an active endocrine organ because it secretes molecules that communicate with other tissues and regulate metabolism, brown adipose tissue helps expend stored energy and has the potential to promote weight loss. and metabolic health.

“Available evidence indicates that Obesity and metabolic syndrome are associated with chronic inflammation leading to systemic insulin resistance, so disrupting inflammation in obesity may provide promising therapies for the associated disease. to obesity“, said co-author Yu-Hua Tseng, PhD, senior investigator in the Division of Integrative Physiology and Metabolism at the Joslin Diabetes Center and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“We discovered that Cold exposure reduces inflammation and improves metabolism in obesity, mediated at least in part by activation of brown adipose tissue. These findings suggest a previously unrecognized function of brown adipose tissue in promoting inflammatory resolution in obesity. ”

In two previous studies, Tseng and colleagues found that Cold exposure can activate brown fat to produce specific lipid mediators that regulate nutrient metabolism.. In the current study, researchers have identified a new role for lipid mediators generated from brown fat to address inflammation.

In this study, the scientists created a mouse model that became obese when fed a typical high-fat Western diet. When the animals were exposed to a cold environment (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit), the researchers observed that the animals’ insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism improved and their body weight decreased, compared with the animals. The control subjects were maintained in the tropics – an ambient temperature where the body did not need to produce heat to maintain its core body temperature. What’s more, the scientists also noticed a profound improvement in inflammation, as measured by a reduction in a key inflammatory marker.

“We found that brown fat induces Maresin 2, which helps address inflammation in the system and in the liver,” said co-author Matthew Spite, PhD, principal investigator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School. “These findings suggest a previously unrecognized function of brown adipose tissue in promoting the resolution of inflammation in obesity through the production of this important lipid mediator.”

Furthermore, these findings also suggest that Maresin 2 may have clinical application as a treatment for patients with obesity, metabolic disease or other diseases associated with chronic inflammation; however, the molecule degrades itself rapidly in the body. Tseng and colleagues searched for a more stable chemical analog for clinical use.

The team notes that a shortcut to improving metabolic health may already exist. Numerous human studies conducted in Joslin and elsewhere show that exposure to mild cold temperatures (50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit) has been shown to be sufficient to activate brown adipose tissue and improve metabolism. substance, although the mechanism is still not well understood.

Source: Eurekalert

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