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Exercise, Irisin & Fat loss

March 1, 2012

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified a hormone in muscle which may be responsible for the health benefits of exercise.

Irisin levels rise when you exercise with the result that white fat is converted into brown fat. While white fat is used to store energy (calories), brown fat seems to be more involved in burning it.

Irisin also ameliorates glucose tolerance and can affect insulin levels which may be useful in the treatment of diabetes.

Brown fat  seems to play a major role in maintaining normal weight. One study found that the more brown fat a person has, the lower their Body Mass Index (a measure of overall fat levels) is. In animal study  a genetic abnormality which eliminated brown fat showed that  obesity levels are higher even without overeating.

In infants, brown fat is an important regulator of body temperature, helping to keep the infant warm. Unlike white fat, when brown fat is metabolized (burned), most of its energy content is converted into heat. Adults don’t seem to need this system of keeping warm.

The studies at the Dana-Farber Institute focussed on injecting irisin into the muscles of sedentary adult mice that were both obese and pre-diabetic. Within 10 days of treatment, the mice showed better control of blood sugar and insulin levels and also lost a small amount of weight. The researchers suspect that longer therapy would have led to greater weight loss.

Exercise  releases irisin, which exits the muscle cell and carries its message to other cells of the body. Ultimately, some white fat cells are told to convert to brown fat cells and islet cells of the pancreas are told to produce more insulin.

“The key message for anyone wanting to control weight, cholesterol levels and to prevent chronic conditions like Diabetes is that exercise should play an integral part of a wider healthy lifestyle strategy.  Diet will help to complement a healthy lifestyle and functional drinks like InnOrbit’s UP&GO can support your exercise programme.” Dr A. Ward (InnOrbit)

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