According to scientific studies over several years, our fat cells (the ones many of us are desperately trying to melt away by jogging, sprinting, swimming, or walking) actually boost our energy. In addition, an optimum number of fat cells enhances how long we live, and helps keep away several age-related disorders.
Let’s discover how.
Fat Cells and the Brain
Although most Californians (and other Americans…I guess) treat fat as things to get rid of, scientists are discovering how incredibly important they really are!
- The hormone leptin is produced by fat cells, and leptin’s job is to tell you when you have eaten too much.
- The hypothalamus region of your brain uses your fat cells to monitor your metabolism, Not only that, it also uses them to regulate how well you eat and sleep.
- Your fat cells contain several proteins that keep your 24-hour clock ticking and working the way it should.
- In addition, landmark studies are discovering that your brain uses your fat calls to battle Type-2 diabetes.
Our fat cells communicate with the hypothalamus located deep in your brain. Your hypothalamus is responsible for:
- Maintaining the energy levels of the body, and
- Regulating your heart rate, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and your sleep/wake cycle.
In other words, it is VERY busy!
Now…do you know what actually helps to optimize the functions of the hypothalamus?
Your Fat Cells!
They do this by an enzyme in your fat cell called the NAMPT (Don’t ask me to spell it out. I’d probably get it wrong.) We now know that adipose tissue (i.e. fat tissue) typically produces large quantities of NAMPT and some of it end up in the bloodstream and gets transported to the brain.
The NAMPT produces NAD, one of the energetic substances in each fat cell. NAD is responsible for making sure that the fat cell itself is working properly. Now… when there is a lack of NAMPT, your energy level actually drops. In addition, a rise in your NAMPT causes your hypothalamus to produce more SIRT1 protein, which has been linked to longevity in mice.
For diabetics, the NAMPT produced in your fat cells stimulates your pancreas to churn out more insulin, which is critical in fighting diabetes.
So… a certain amount of fat is absolutely necessary for your body to not only maintain itself, but also to survive.
In fact, scientists are beginning to believe we can benefit significantly from having a body mass index that skims the lower end of the range that is usually considered to be overweight.
In other words, ALL of us need fat to survive!
So How Much Fat is Good?
These discoveries will surely interest weight-watchers, and it is natural for them to wonder how much fat is good for the body.
Scientists do not yet have an exact answer to this question.
They are, however, quick to warn that their findings should in no way be interpreted as a license to go on a binge-eating spree, cancel the gym membership, or stop going for the morning jog around the park. Being on either end of the underweight-morbidly obese spectrum is bad for you.
So here’s the lesson. If you were trying to lose weight, keep at it. But don’t resort to fad diets, starvation, and obsessive exercising to attain an unhealthy body weight. Being a little overweight has long-term benefits. And it is not really surprising that this phenomenon, like many other processes in the body, is linked to the way our brain functions.
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