Our fat cells, technically referred to as adipocytes, play an essential role in regulating energy balance in our body.
Our fat cells, technically referred to as adipocytes, play an essential role in regulating energy balance in our body. “Adipocytes are not merely an energy storage for times of deprivation, but they also release hormones into the blood, regulating our metabolism as well as feelings of hunger and satiety through the brain and other organs. Nevertheless, too much of a good thing causes harm.” explained Professor Klingenspor, Chair of Molecular Nutritional Science at the TUM Else Kröner-Fresenius Center.
WHITE, BEIGE OR BROWN – THE COLOR OF FAT CELLS AFFECTS OUR HEALTH
There are different types of fat tissue in our body, which can be categorized according to color. White fat cells are primarily responsible for energy storage. Brown and beige fat cells can convert nutritional energy into heat. This process is referred to as non-shivering thermogenesis – a principle that small mammals and human newborns use to maintain a stable body temperature.
The occurrence and activity of brown and beige fat cells vary among individuals. There is some evidence suggesting that people with a high number of thermogenic fat cells possess a lower risk to develop obesity and associated metabolic disorders. Especially the growth of beige fat cells within white fat tissue may have particular health benefits.
BROWNING ABILITY OF WHITE FAT IS GENETICALLY DETERMINED
“We want to understand how thermogenic fat cells develop; so how beige fat cells grow inside white fat tissue,” stated Klingenspor. By “browning” the white fat tissue, an energy-storing organ could be partially transformed into an energy-dissipating organ, thereby improving metabolic health.
Read more at Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Image: Portrait of Professor Dr. Martin Klingenspor; Chair of Molecular Nutritional Medicine; TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan. (Credit: M. Jooss/TUM)