London: By manipulating the metabolic pathways in the body responsible for converting vitamin A, retinol, into retinoic acid, a team of researchers have discovered a way to turn foe to friend by essentially making white fat take on characteristics of brown fat.Brown seems to be the colour of choice when it comes to the types of fat cells in our bodies. Brown fat expends energy, while its counterpart, white fat stores it.The danger in white fat cells, along with the increased risk for diabetes and heart disease it poses, seems especially linked to visceral fat. Visceral fat is the build-up of fat around the organs in the belly.So in the battle against obesity, brown fat appears to be our friend and white fat our foe.The findings, by researchers led by Jorge Plutzky from Women`s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School, put medical science a step closer in the race to develop novel anti-obesity therapies.Retinoids, which are molecules derived from vitamin A metabolism, are responsible for many biological functions. One such function is the control of fat cell development and actions.
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