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Shiver And Shed Pounds, Study Suggests

February 4, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A study conducted in the U.S. discovered how brown fat communicates with muscle via specific hormones. During exposure to cold – and especially when shivering for about 15 minutes – the hormone levels rise about the same amount as when exercising moderately for an hour. The hormones stimulate conversion of energy-storing “white fat” into energy-burning “brown fat”. About 50 g of white fat stores more than 300 calories of energy a day, while 50 g of brown fat burns 300 kilocalories a day. Transforming white fat into brown fat – by exercising or shivering – “could protect animals against diabetes, obesity and fatty liver”, the researchers said. And glucose levels are lower in humans with more brown fat.
Paul Lee et al., "Irisin and FGF21 Are Cold-Induced Endocrine Activators of Brown Fat Function in Humans", Cell Metabolism, February 04, 2014, © Elsevier Inc.
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