You may recognize serotonin as a chemical in your brain and fat as excess energy stored in places like your midsection. However, these descriptions don’t cover the full scope of how serotonin and fat, particularly brown fat, affect your body. In recent years, both serotonin and brown fat have been put under the microscope by researchers, with surprising results. One study has even found that serotonin can “turn off” brown fat, causing obesity, diabetes and other serious health problems.
There are actually 2 types of serotonin; the more widely known kind is found in the brain and helps regulate mood and appetite. The other type, making up 95% of the total serotonin in your body, is found in the bloodstream and serves as a way of inhibiting metabolic activity and how brown fat functions.
Why does having active brown fat matter? Well, like serotonin, fat is not all the same. White and brown fat are both in your body, but brown fat has some beneficial properties science has only recently begun to understand. Located mostly under the skin and around the collarbone, brown fat plays an important role in helping our bodies stay warm. Studies have shown, for example, that people with less brown fat will begin shivering in a cold environment before those that have more brown fat.
Beyond its traditional role, though, brown fat has been found to be an important part of keeping your metabolism up. With more brown fat, we naturally burn more calories, meaning we can lose weight more easily and keep it from coming back with greater efficiency.
Published in the journal Nature Medicine, scientists from Canada’s McMaster University conducted a study in which laboratory mice were given a high fat diet, like the Western diet, that included an enzyme meant to block production of the serotonin in the bloodstream.
While the enzyme didn’t disrupt the serotonin found in the brain, it did leave the mice with more active brown fat in the body. This is turn helped prevent obesity, fatty liver disease and pre-diabetes while improving Insulin Efficiency in the body.
Scientists think this understanding of serotonin may lead to better treatments for obese patients.
While this recent study may point at a possible way of treating obesity, the best method is still the most straightforward: the right exercise and nutrition. It may seem too old hat, but there are lots of new discoveries that can make the time spent working out and meals you eat more effective, even with a Western diet.
Olumia Life creates a cohesive, customized plan using your diet, exercise and sleep habits to bolster each area’s individual results for greater overall benefit.
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