Brown Fat

Brown Fat Cells Act Like ‘Fat Burners’ Ramping Up Thermogenesis, Improving Blood Sugar, Weight Loss

by Mike Mutzel


As you age the quantity of a protective type of fat, known as brown fat, declines leading to a worsened in blood sugar control, weight gain and inflammation.

In today’s show we dive into emerging science linked with preserving this protective type of fat.




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Time Stamps:


01:00 The thermogenic capacity of your brown adipose tissue declines as you age. Brown fat has metabolic protective effects

01:56 In children, brown adipose declines under the age of 10, inversely correlated with metabolic syndrome in children.

02:08 Brown adipose tissue function and quantity are declined in people with cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.

03:30 Berberine potentially supports metabolic health by increasing the formation of beige adipocytes. It also improves ketone levels.

04:40 As you age, you become more insulin resistant, losing your tolerance to handle glucose and you become more chronically inflamed.

04:50 You may be able to beige your white fat cells by taking cold baths/showers, exercising, eating a low carb/ketogenic-style diet and taking natural compounds like resveratrol, berberine and spermidine. This may prevent age related decline in function of your brown fat cells.

05:15 Ageing is tightly associated with insulin resistance, low grade chronic inflammation and the decline in the thermogenic adipose tissue activity.

05:25 Thermogenesis: Brown fat cells can take stored energy through an uncoupling process through the mitochondria and use it to generate heat. This is metabolically protective.

06:10 Brown fat cells release anti-inflammatory signaling properties that quell the age-related increase in inflammation.

08:00 If we do not stimulate brown fat, thus we lose the adaptation.

08:30 Beige adipocytes are recruitable. Subcutaneous fat can be changed to behave like brown fat, becoming beige fat. It becomes enriched in mitochondria, proteins and increases expression of uncoupling proteins and genes.

09:35 Brown adipose is involved in utilizing glucose to create heat through wasting energy. You want muscle to be metabolically efficient, but you want your fat cells to be uncoupled and metabolically inefficient.

10:30 The beiging of fat cells can help you prevent age-related weight gain and improve lipid and glucose homeostasis.

11:00 Your ancestors got cold. We do not. Prolonged cold exposure helps to brown white adipose tissue.

12:15 Your fat cells lose the ability to undergo adipocyte thermogenesis as you age.

12:45 There are circadian changes in adipose tissue thermogenesis. Poor sleepers have a decline in adipocyte thermogenesis during the night.

14:19 PPAR gama biochemical pathway increases when we fast and when we exercise. It is an intracellular switch. If your liver enzymes and triglycerides are low, this pathway may be seen as balanced.

15:00 Stimulating PPAR gama may cause you white fat cells to behave more like brown fat, taking glucose and lipids from circulation, aiding in glucose clearance and relieving the demand for insulin secretion. Detectible brown adipose tissue is linked to lower fasting glucose.

17:10 Acute and chronic cold exposure in animals has been shown to increase oxygen consumption, stimulate brown adipose tissue and begin the uncoupling of proteins.

18:23 Compounds that can help with brown fat activation and the beiging of white fat: Capsaicin, resveratrol, cinnamon and berberine, butyrate, bile and propionate Fish oil has been shown to upregulate brown adipose tissue function in animals. Melatonin induces white adipose tissue browning in rats.

20:25 When you move your muscles, the compound irisin is released from your muscles and stimulates the browning of fat cells.

20:40 Lactic acid has been shown to signal your fat cells to cause them to behave more like brown fat.

21:00 Vitamin A and ketones, beta hydroxybutyrate, been shown to cause the increase in the release and transcription of genes that cause your fat cells to behave like brown fat.

21:30 Gut hormones which aid in the favorable behavior change of fat cells, are released during mindful low stress eating. GLP1 gut hormone’s decline and dysfunction precedes the onset of insulin resistance. GLP1 stimulates brown fat.

24:50 Fish oil stimulates different molecular switches, like GPR 120, a gut peptide that stimulates brown adipose tissue activation and beiging of white fat.

25:40 Brown adipocytes have endocrine, paracrine and autocrine functions, acting like an organ. It influences the behavior of other tissues and organ systems in the body.

26:29 The habits and health of a mother can play an important part in the development of brown adipose tissue in a newborn. Excessive body fat in the mother is linked with a sub-optimal level of brown adipose tissue in the children. Breastfeeding helps in the formation of brown adipose tissue in the infant.



Lettieri-Barbato, D., & Aquilano, K. (2020). Aging and Immunometabolic Adaptations to Thermogenesis. Ageing Research Reviews, 63, 101143.

Czech, M. P. (2020). Mechanisms of insulin resistance related to white, beige, and brown adipocytes. Molecular Metabolism, 34, 27–42.


Dragoo, J., Shapiro, S. A., Bradsell, H., Joint, R. F. J. O. C., 2021. (2021). The essential roles of human adipose tissue: Metabolic, thermoregulatory, cellular, and paracrine effects. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases.


Yu, Q., Huang, S., Xu, T.-T., Wang, Y.-C., & Ju, S. (2020). Measuring Brown Fat Using MRI and Implications in the Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

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