'Good fat' could help manage diabetes
Brown fat, nicknamed the ‘good fat’ because it warms up the body in cold temperatures, burning up calories in the process, could also be used to manage Type 2 diabetes, finds research.
Melbourne: Brown fat, nicknamed the ‘good fat’ because it warms up the body in cold temperatures, burning up calories in the process, could also be used to manage Type 2 diabetes, finds research.
Brown fat absorbs excess sugar in the blood and therefore if brown fat cells can be activated, blood glucose levels could be controlled without the need for daily insulin injections, a researcher pointed out.
Located on the back, the upper half of the spine and the shoulders, younger people are more likely to have brown fat than people who are overweight or obese or diabetic.
“In theory if we can find out how to stimulate brown fat into action, we could use it, not only to manage obesity, but type 2 diabetes too,” said lead researcher Masaaki Sato from the Monash University in Australia.
“Brown fat was discovered in adults a few years ago and now research is taking place world-wide to understand why some adults have it and others don’t,” Sato added.
By observing cells, the team found that following application of a drug that mimics cold exposure, brown fat produces large amounts of a protein that transports glucose into cells, and importantly does so independently of the way insulin transports glucose into these cells.
Closer analysis showed brown fat cells produced 10 times the amount of glucose transporters than insulin.
Potentially the research could lead to a completely new medicine to treat Type 2 diabetes, offering an alternative to daily insulin injections.
The study appeared in The Journal of Cell Biology.