Rev Up Your Own Calorie-Burner.

9210628-563x853Carrying around a few ounces of brown adipose (fatty) tissue can burn up to one-fifth of your daily calories. While I’ve been writing about the benefits of this type of fat in utilizing stored fat for 20 years, three recent studies explain why it’s so important in the current obesity epidemic.

In one large study, women with higher levels of metabolically active brown fat, identified by PET scans, have lower body-mass indexes (or BMI). This research also reports that brown fat is more prevalent in younger people and in women.

Metabolically active fat is essential to health, since it protects our bodies and brains, reports the journal Neuroscience. No wonder people who live in cold climates or who have an overactive thyroid tend to have more brown fat.

These new studies also explain why infants, who are so utterly dependent on Mom for food and warmth, have more of the fat that so readily converts to energy. Not surprisingly, hibernating animals carry more brown adipose tissue to survive the winter.

Its darker color comes from the greater number of mitochondria, which function as tiny furnaces at the cellular level. Unlike white fat that ends up only expanding your waist or thighs, brown fat is located deep within the body, where it protects the organs, and provides padding for your collarbone, neck, and spine.

Activating brown adipose tissue—which may amount to as much as 30 to 40 percent of total body mass in some people—can make the battle of the bulge considerably easier. The good news is we don’t have to wait for Big Pharma to develop a drug to stimulate this kind of weight loss.

Back in the 1980s, researchers at the University of Montreal found that gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a safe, natural way to stimulate brown fat activity and burn calories. Even people who had been unable to lose weight with other methods lost on average a pound a week with brown-fat burning GLA.

Thanks to the pioneering research of the late David Horrobin, we now know that omega-6-rich GLA also fights inflammatory diseases like arthritis, helps relieve PMS, and is terrific for your skin.

While Dr. Horrobin’s research used evening primrose oil, we have even better forms of GLA available today. My fave is black currant seed oil, which also contains heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids.   To rev up brown fat, take two capsules of GLA-90, twice a day (preferably with meals). Fat Flushers swear by it, because GLA-90 keeps their skin moist even during weight loss. GLA also relieves eczema and psoriasis and is useful for anyone suffering from dry eye or diabetic neuropathy.

Sources:

http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2009/08/11/brown_fat_may_be_key_in_obesity_battle/

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/360/15/1509

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1890175,00.html

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