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Decrypted energy supply: Cold does not help break down adipose tissue
In recent years, scientific studies have suggested that cold can help you lose weight because the body has to provide energy at cold temperatures to keep body temperature constant. But researchers from Austria have now refuted previous assumptions.
Can cold help you lose weight?
In recent years, various scientific studies have provided evidence that cold can help you lose weight. For example, Dutch researchers reported in the online magazine "Cell-Press" about a study in which subjects who were exposed to temperatures of 15 degrees Celsius for six days a day for six hours showed an increase in the "brown fat cells", which are able to produce heat through the oxidation of fatty acids and therefore, unlike "white fat", do not make you fat. However, scientists from Austria have now gained new knowledge and refute previous assumptions.
Certain fat cells act like "thermal power stations"
Cold burns fat: Researchers at Karl-Franzens University Graz (Austria) are on the trail of what many dream of in order to slim down. In order to maintain body temperature, certain fat cells act like "thermal power stations", according to a statement from the university.
However, if an important enzyme is missing, the fuel is obtained from other cells or the necessary energy has to be added at all.
The working group around Univ.-Prof. Dr. Rudolf Zechner from the Institute of Molecular Biosciences has gained completely new knowledge within the framework of a project of the research cooperation BioTechMed-Graz, which was recently published in the journal "Cell Metabolism".
Previous assumption refuted
With their publication, the scientists refute the previous assumption that the breakdown of fat by the fat-splitting enzyme adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL for short) in so-called brown fat cells is crucial in order to generate sufficient fuel and thus maintain the body temperature in the cold in the range of five degrees to be able to receive.
It has now been shown in the animal model that the lack of ATGL in the brown fat cells is compensated for by increased provision of energy from other fat deposits.
"However, if the ATGL is also missing in these, energy must also be supplied via food," explained Dr. Renate Schreiber, the first author of the study, which the Austrian researchers carried out together with colleagues from the universities of Maastricht (Netherlands) and Pittsburgh (USA).
The enzyme in the heart plays an essential role in ensuring the distribution of heat in the body. "If the ATGL is missing in this organ, it is fatal," says Assoz.-Prof. Simon Sedej from the Medical University of Graz.
A few years ago, brown fat cells, originally only described in newborns, were also identified as central “combustion machines” in adults.
"The current work makes an important contribution to understanding the physiological processes in these" thermal power stations ", which are essential for the development of therapeutic approaches in the treatment of obesity," said Schreiber. (ad)