Do you want to know how to get fat? No? Probably not…What about how to increase brown fat? You should because it has a lot of health benefits and it’s not like your regular slabs of white fat around your waistline.
All Fat is Not Bad
Yes, did you know that your adipose tissue is made up of brown fat and white fat? There’s also beige fat.
This blog is about enhancing human life through Body Mind Empowerment so I researched this topic more deeply.
In this article, I’m going to tell you how to increase brown adipose tissue and become a fat burning beast.
What is Brown Fat?
Our adipose tissue serves as a massive pantry for storing calories. Storing fat is actually one of the most important functions of our bodies because otherwise, we would die.
- Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) or just brown fat is a part of the adipose tissue and its main role is thermoregulation. BAT produces heat by shivering muscle as well as non-shivering thermogenesis. It’s especially abundant in newborn babies and hibernating animals but it’s also found in adult humans.
- White Adipose Tissue (WAT) wat… or just white fat is also a part of the adipose tissue and its main role is to just store energy – that fat bastard. It also acts as a thermal insulator that helps to maintain body temperature. Leptin – the satiety hormone – and asprosin – a protein hormone that releases glucose into the bloodstream – get manufactured in fat cells of the white adipose tissue.
When Brown adipocytes contain a lot of smaller lipid droplets and a much higher count of mitochondria, then white adipocytes have only a single droplet, which reduces the ability of white fat cells to produce energy. Instead of having many nuclear reactors, they have only one.
The mitochondria are your cells’ power generators that convert oxygen, calories, and heat into energy. They’re also the ones that give brown fat its brownish beige color.
Types of White Fat
For a healthy well-functioning body you’d want to have both white and brown fat.
However, white fat is also divided into 2 categories
- Subcutaneous fat is the fat directly underneath your skin and its not necessarily dangerous for your health. It’s this thermal insulator that acts like one giant cushion.
- Visceral fat is the fat surrounding your organs and this is the harmful one. You can’t see visceral fat with your eyes and you may even be skinny but still have this unhealthy fat inside your body.
Funny enough, losing subcutaneous fat – the fat around your belly – won’t improve your biomarkers.
In a study done in 2004 some patients had a liposuction surgery and instantly lost 30 pounds of subcutaneous fat. However, their cholesterol, blood sugar or triglyceride levels did not improve.
Visceral fat is responsible for diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure much more than body mass index (BMI).
- It means that an unhealthy lifestyle, in general, causes your organs to become obese even when you may look generally fit.
- It also means that if you’re already overweight and have some belly fat, then you also have a lot of visceral fat. There is no „I’m fat but fit“ – you’re just lying to yourself.
White fat isn’t bad and you need some of it. However, it’s safe to say most people have way too much of it. The idea is to burn off most of your unhealthy white fat and convert it into the more useful and empowering brown fat. You have to turn into BAT-man…I just had to…god…I just had to make this pun…Brown-Adipose-Tissue-BATMAN!
Benefits of Brown Fat
Research has shown that brown fat has many benefits:
- Improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity[i]
- It’s important for bone density and health[ii][iii]
- Cold exposure activates brown fat and increases adiponectin levels, which are proteins that are associated with increased lifespan in centenarians[iv]. High concentrations of adiponectin is also linked with lower levels of C-reactive protein and better metabolic indicators[v]
- BAT activation through cold exposure also upregulates fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF-21) production in humans, which improves longevity [vi]
- Cold exposure increases irisin[vii], which improves insulin sensitivity, quality of bone mass, and helps to convert white fat into brown fat[viii]
- Improves heart health thanks to lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It’s also thought that brown fat can take up the triglycerides circulating the bloodstream and burn them off as fuel
Brown fat works almost like muscle tissue – it burns more calories than white fat, produces energy, generates heat and even burns subcutaneous fat for fuel at times.
There’s also something called ’BEIGE FAT’ which is white fat that has been transformed into fat that looks and behaves similarly to our BATMAN fat. It’s like the dying grace of your visceral fat that went over to the Darkside. Oh my god…the Dark Knight is real…I’m sorry…no I’m not.
Okay, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this.
Where Is Brown Fat Located?
- Brown fat is found the most in between the shoulder blades, surrounding the kidneys, the neck, upper chest and along the spinal cord.
- Beige fat is distributed throughout the entire adipose tissue.
It’s distributed in varying degrees throughout the entire body but stimulating those regions directly will make you convert more brown fat.
How to Increase Brown Fat
Here are some ways to increase brown fat:
- Cold Exposure – You might have guessed it by now…Cold forces your body to generate more heat to maintain a stable temperature. BAT fat literally starts burning calories to keep you warmer. That’s why you start shivering when you’re cold because otherwise, you would freeze to death.
- You should start wearing fewer clothes overall so you could improve your body’s inner thermoregulation and burn some fat while you’re at it.
- Taking a cold shower for at least a few minutes is also an amazing daily habit for your health and mindset
- Ice baths or cold pools should also be done as a regular thing. It’s going to boost your immune system and make you feel empowered
- Winter swimming is next level and you shouldn’t do it without supervision but it’s going to TURN ALL OF THAT FAT INTO BATFAT
- Exercise – Being physically active can also increase brown fat activity but it also has a positive effect on the other hormones that improve your body composition. Both aerobic and anaerobic training improve mitochondrial density, leading to better energy production. Going for a run with the cold would be a great combination.
- Get More Sleep – Not sleeping properly makes you gain weight and increases blood sugar levels. Melatonin – the sleep hormone – can also affect brown fat. In one study, rats who had higher melatonin also had more activated brown fat[ix]. You should definitely improve your sleep hygiene by blocking out blue light in the evening and establish a habitual waking up cycle. (Get my Wake Up Empowered Free E-Book)
Given that brown fat and the mitochondria are so closely connected, you have to increase your mitochondrial density and avoid damaging your cellular power plants.
What to Eat to Increase Brown Fat
Brown fat increases your body’s ability to produce its own energy. This means improved burning of your own fat stores and better metabolism.
One key ingredient to this is LEPTIN
Leptin is the hormone that controls your hunger signaling.
- Eating should release leptin and send a satiety signal to your brain, telling that you’ve received enough calories
- Being overweight increases leptin levels so that you would start eating less
- If you have less body fat then the brain gets lower amounts of leptin, thus making you more hungry
However, you can also develop leptin resistance, which means the brain doesn’t get the warning message that it’s time to stop eating. You’ll continue to overeat because your body doesn’t know whether or not you already have enough fat.
Improve Leptin Sensitivity
Leptin resistance is closely related to insulin resistance, which stops your cells from taking in glucose from the bloodstream.
- Excess sugar consumption leads to leptin resistance
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and table sugar especially are very prone to cause leptin resistance
- Eating a very high fructose diet with over 60% of your calories coming from fruit can also cause leptin resistance[x]
- Reducing your lectin consumption will improve leptin sensitivity[xi]. Lectins are protective compounds found in plants that can cause gastrointestinal issues, inflammation, and autoimmune conditions. Foods high in lectins are beans, grains, and nightshade.
Instead, to promote leptin sensitivity, you can consume some ursolic acid – It can improve glucose tolerance while increasing brown fat. Foods that contain ursolic acid include cranberries, blueberries, plums, prunes, and herbs. Apple skins, but not the flesh, in particular, seem to have a ton of ursolic acid.
Ketogenic Diet and Brown Fat
Insulin counteracts brown fat activation and makes you store the calories you eat as white fat. On the other hand, low levels of insulin and blood glucose make you burn more of your own body fat through ketosis.
It should tell you that no matter what diet you’re doing – you don’t want to have elevated levels of insulin and blood glucose all the time. The majority of your day should be spent in mild ketosis so you could improve your leptin and insulin sensitivity.
Secret Ways to Increase Brown Fat
Based on that, I’m going to share with you some ways to increase brown fat that aren’t directly linked to this but still very much related with BAT activation.
It’s been found that the deacetylation by the SIRT1 protein causes the browning of white adipose tissue.
- Sirtuins regulate stressors and longevity of the cells
- SIRT1 is downregulated by insulin resistance
- SIRT1 stimulates autophagy the cells’ inner cleaning mechanism
How do you increase SIRT1 expression?
- Reservatrol increases SIRT1 activity[xii] but not directly[xiii]. Foods high in reservatrol are the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries and red wine.
- Quercetin can also trigger sirtuins. Quercetin is the medicinal component of many medicinal plants and it’s found in foods like capers, lovage, onions, citrus fruit, apples, green leafy vegetables, and berries.
- DHA and omega-3 supplementation has been shown to reverse the reduction of SIRT1 genes in rats with brain injury[xiv]
- Caloric restriction activates sirtuins and increases lifespan. Intermittent fasting puts you into ketosis and makes you directly burn fat for fuel. This can help you convert WATFAT into BATFAT. WTFFAT?
Become a Self-Empowered BATMAN
As you can see, it’s not just all fat as the same. And it’s not that you can be healthy with just focusing on increasing brown fat.
Your body is a huge superorganism with its different functions and processes being all connected with each other.
- What you eat determines the composition of your adipose tissue
- What activities you do influence how you’ll be using that fat
- How you treat your physiology affects the state of your psychology
And it all starts from the micro level – the mitochondria are very tiny but yet they control almost everything that goes on inside you.
If you want to learn more about how to increase brown fat, become a brown-fat-burning-BATMAN who is doing other self-empowering and life-enhancing activities then you should definitely get my Body Mind Empowerment Handbook. It teaches you how to start taking cold showers, how to exercise, how to sleep and what to eat.