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Possible Answer To Why Age Affects Weight Loss, Animal Study

Last updated Sept. 22, 2015

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Scientists have concluded that the change in our bodies relies on the amount of active white and brown fat an individual has.

As we age, losing those pounds accumulated through the holiday season becomes increasingly difficult. Today, scientists have concluded that the change in our bodies relies on the amount of active white and brown fat an individual has.

There are two types of body fat in an individual’s body – brown fat and white fat. Brown fat helps the individual’s body to generate heat by boosting the metabolism. This is especially crucial for babies who tend to lose heat faster than adults. It has been theorized for years that, as we age, the amount of brown fat in our bodies diminishes from our shoulder blades and our white fat accumulates in the areas of our stomachs and thighs.

A new study from Japan’s University of Shizuoka have concluded that brown fat persists into adulthood; however, the thermogenic activity in the brown fat reduces. This means the brown fat is less active and burns less white fat in the body.

Editor-in-Chief of the journal Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Dr. Gerald Weissmann said, “A common complaint is that older people have to work twice as hard with their diets and exercise to get half of the results of younger people.”

The researchers also found a possible metabolic switch that could reactivate brown fat. This discovery could be the target for obesity-related conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.

The investigators studied two groups of mice. The first group had the platelet-activating factor receptors (PAFR) gene knockout, making them obese. The second group was the control group and had no genetic alterations. The PAFR-deficient mice developed a more severe obese state characterized by higher body mass (about 25%) epididymal fat mass (about 55%) with age than that of the control mice.

Many people worry about the extra abdomen inches that have accumulated throughout the year. Hopefully, this is a way to help people fight diseases that increase the risk of heart problems.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Jan. 6, 2014
Last updated: Sept. 22, 2015