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Fish oil helps transform fat cells from storage to burning

Research shows how fish oil can improve fat metabolism in mice

Date:
December 17, 2015
Source:
Kyoto University
Summary:
Fish oil transforms fat-storage cells into fat-burning cells, which may reduce weight gain in middle age, new research shows. Fish oil activates receptors in the digestive tract, fires the sympathetic nervous system, and induces storage cells to metabolize fat.
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Kyoto University researchers have found that fish oil transforms fat-storage cells into fat-burning cells, which may reduce weight gain in middle age. Fish oil activates receptors in the digestive tract, fires the sympathetic nervous system, and induces storage cells to metabolize fat.
Credit: Eiri Ono/Kyoto University

Researchers have found that fish oil transforms fat-storage cells into fat-burning cells, which may reduce weight gain in middle age.

The team explains in Scientific Reports that fish oil activates receptors in the digestive tract, fires the sympathetic nervous system, and induces storage cells to metabolize fat.

Fat tissues don't all store fat. So-called "white" cells store fat in order to maintain energy supply, while "brown" cells metabolize fat to maintain a stable body temperature. Brown cells are abundant in babies but decrease in number with maturity into adulthood.

A third type of fat cell -- "beige" cells -- have recently been found in humans and mice, and have shown to function much like brown cells. Beige cells also reduce in number as people approach middle age; without these metabolizing cells, fat continues accumulating for decades without ever being used.

The scientists investigated whether the number of these beige cells could be increased by taking in certain types of foods.

"We knew from previous research that fish oil has tremendous health benefits, including the prevention of fat accumulation," says senior author Teruo Kawada. "We tested whether fish oil and an increase in beige cells could be related."

The team fed a group of mice fatty food, and other groups fatty food with fish oil additives. The mice that ate food with fish oil, they found, gained 5-10% less weight and 15-25% less fat compared to those that did not consume the oil.

They also found that beige cells formed from white fat cells when the sympathetic nervous system was activated, meaning that certain fat-storage cells acquired the ability to metabolize.

"People have long said that food from Japan and the Mediterranean contribute to longevity, but why these cuisines are beneficial was up for debate," adds Kawada. "Now we have better insight into why that may be."


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Kyoto University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Minji Kim, Tsuyoshi Goto, Rina Yu, Kunitoshi Uchida, Makoto Tominaga, Yuriko Kano, Nobuyuki Takahashi, Teruo Kawada. Fish oil intake induces UCP1 upregulation in brown and white adipose tissue via the sympathetic nervous system. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 18013 DOI: 10.1038/srep18013

Cite This Page:

Kyoto University. "Fish oil helps transform fat cells from storage to burning: Research shows how fish oil can improve fat metabolism in mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151217081435.htm>.
Kyoto University. (2015, December 17). Fish oil helps transform fat cells from storage to burning: Research shows how fish oil can improve fat metabolism in mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151217081435.htm
Kyoto University. "Fish oil helps transform fat cells from storage to burning: Research shows how fish oil can improve fat metabolism in mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151217081435.htm (accessed July 25, 2016).

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