According to a current report, a new study by a research team at the Medical University (MedUni) of Vienna shows that cold ambient temperatures cause Vitamin A levels in humans and mice to rise. As a result, white to brown fat tissue is converted, which stimulates fat burning and heat production. This “fat transformation” is associated with increased energy consumption and is therefore considered a promising approach in the treatment of obesity.
Vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. Among other things, it is important for cell growth, the function of the immune system, the visual process and for the health of skin and mucous membranes. And it could contribute to weight reduction. Because according to researchers Vitamin A boosts fat burning during cold weather.
In humans and mammals, a distinction is generally made between at least two different types of fat depots, white and brown adipose tissue. White adipose tissue is much more common in the human body, stores fat and is found primarily on the stomach, buttocks and thighs.
New therapeutic option against overweight
In case of an increased energy demand the body can fall back on these depots. Brown fat, on the other hand, burns energy by releasing heat. With increasing age and overweight, however, the number of brown fat cells decreases, which is why the possibility of converting white fat into brown fat could be a new therapeutic option against overweight and obesity (obesity).
A research group led by Florian Kiefer from the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University Clinic for Internal Medicine III at MedUni Vienna, has now demonstrated in a study that moderate cold application in humans and mice led to an increase in vitamin A and its blood transporter, the “retinol-binding protein”.
More than ninety per cent of the vitamin A reserves are stored in the liver, whereby the cold should support a redistribution of the vitamin A into the fat tissue. According to the data, the application of cold also led to a transformation of white fat into brown fat (“browning”) with increased fat burning. The study, which also involved researchers from the USA, was recently published in the journal “Molecular Metabolism”.
When the scientists blocked the vitamin A transporter “retinol-binding protein” by genetic manipulation, both the vitamin A increase mediated by the cold and the “browning” of the white fat were inhibited: “The result was a decrease in heat production and fat burning, so that the mice were no longer able to protect themselves sufficiently against the cold,” explains Kiefer. The addition of vitamin A in human white fat cells, on the other hand, led to the development of brown fat cell characteristics with increased metabolic activity and energy burning.
“Our results show that vitamin A plays an important role in the function of fatty tissue and influences energy metabolism. This does not mean, however, that one should simply take unbridled vitamin A supplements, since it is above all important that it is transported to the right cells at the right time”, explains the MedUni Vienna researcher. “We have discovered a new mechanism by which vitamin A intervenes in heat production and boosts fat burning during the cold. This could help us in the future to develop therapeutic interventions that exploit precisely this mechanism”. (ad)
Vitamin A stimulates fat burning in cold weather
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.