Ten minutes of shivering in the cold burn more calories than an hour of exercising at the gym. This conclusion was made by researchers from the Australian Institute of Medical Research in Harwan (Sydney), who studied the role of so-called brown fat in the human body.
It is known that there are two kinds of fat in our body - white and brown. The first stores extra energy, which can be useful in extreme circumstances. The second, on the contrary, releases this energy to ensure a constant level of body temperature.
Newborns have the most amount of brown fat. It provides them temperature balance, while thermoregulation systems are not yet fully formed. Adults have much less, but still there is some. Scientists have been looking for ways to increase the amount of brown fat in the body of adults for long.
They hoped to switch on all the natural mechanisms of combating obesity and its attendant diseases - diabetes, infertility, cardiovascular disorders, etc. Previous studies have already shown that exercising helps to convert part of the white fat into brown.
However, those who tried to do this know how difficult it is. You need to train on a simulator or a treadmill for hours to lose at least a couple of excess pounds. Australian scientists have shown that staying in the cold for 10-15 minutes can be compared with the hourly training at the gym.
To do this, they placed lightly-dressed volunteers in a room with gradually decreasing temperature, their muscles began to tremble from the cold, struggling with the loss of heat. Special sensors on their body fixed the trembling and its intensity.
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The scientists decided to find out how this process happens by studying the hormones that are involved in the processes of burning calories. They discovered the hormone irisin in trembling muscles. This hormone was discovered in the same institute in 2012, and brown fat threw out the hormone FGF21.
In laboratory experiments, they proved that both these hormones forced white fat cells to produce heat, that means to burn the accumulated calories, thereby performing the role of brown fat. All these studies have made it possible to put forward the hypothesis that exercises simulate the processes occurring in the body under the cold load.
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