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Long term, their discoveries could help reverse the nation’s twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Thus, doctors have used a biologic form to treat patients who have congestive heart failure. Autopsy studies inadvertently revealed that patients who had been given this treatment had unusually high levels of “brown fat.”A desirable, active type of fat that actually helps burn fat, brown fat is not like white fat, which is inactive. Richard Pratley, director of the Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute, in Orlando, and TRI investigator, is looking to see whether it holds true in humans. He is administering natriuretic peptides to 40 healthy volunteers: 20 lean and 20 obese. In other words, “Go paleo,” Collins said. “Cavemen didn’t have many carbs around.”Seeking comfort is only human, which is why few of us choose to be cold or hot if we have a choice.”We self select for comfortable climates,” Smith said. “In environments where our bodies are not trying to get warmer or cooler, we burn the fewest calories.”What’s more, being cold can wake up brown fat, studies show. A study published recently in PubMed, an online database of the National Institutes of Health, found that subjects who slept in a cool room increased their brown fat, compared with those who slept in rooms that were more moderate or warm.”When we’re cold, we activate the brown fat we have,” Collins said. “When we get cold, shivering is the first response. As people adapt, nonshivering mechanisms take over, and that involves the activation of brown fat, which goes into overdrive to keep the body warm.”What you can do now: Forget the sweater. If you feel a little chill, try to endure. Long term,
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their discoveries could help reverse the nation’s twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Short term, their findings can help consumers boost metabolism now.

A person’s metabolism determines how many calories he burns, and many factors affect it, said Dr. Steve Smith, scientific director for the Florida Hospital Sanford Burnham Translational Research Institute.

“If we can increase thermogenesis, or the body’s ability to burn calories and stored fat, we could stave off obesity and its many related ills,” Smith said.

One metabolism boosting secret may lie in a hormone the heart naturally produces, said obesity researcher Sheila Collins, a professor at the Institute.

Natriuretic peptides, which the heart muscle makes when it perceives high blood pressure and during exercise, appear to turn on the body’s fat burning mechanisms, Collins said.

These peptides also help the body excrete salt, which lowers elevated blood pressure. Thus, doctors have used a biologic form to treat patients who have congestive heart failure. Autopsy studies inadvertently revealed that patients who had been given this treatment had unusually high levels of “brown fat.”

A desirable, active type of fat that actually helps burn fat, brown fat is not like white fat, which is inactive. Everybody has some brown fat, said Collins, who, like others, is looking for ways to activate and make more of it.

Collins tested natriuretic peptides in mice and found the peptides boosted their levels of brown fat.

Taking Collins’ work from the lab to the clinic, Dr. Richard Pratley, director of the Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute, in Orlando, and TRI investigator, is looking to see whether it holds true in humans. He is administering natriuretic peptides to 40 healthy volunteers: 20 lean and 20 obese. He will then measure changes in their brown fat.
doc martens kids Scientists unlock secrets to boost metabolism