Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Are There Any Good Fats in Our Body?

Too many fats accumulated in our body are bad for our health. This is because too many fats could lead to overweight or even obesity. More importantly, many medical complications like diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, etc. could be developed because of overweight or obesity.

Scientists have known that fat that buries in the abdomen (known as visceral fat) can raise a person's risk of diabetes and heart disease, but people with fat deposits in the buttocks and hips, are less prone to these disorders.

In finding out why fat located in different parts of the body have different risks of metabolic disease such as diabetes, researchers from the United States have found a surprising result: a type of fat that accumulates around the hips and bottom may actually offer some protection against diabetes.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston announced on May 6, 2008 in the journal Cell Metabolism that subcutaneous fat, or fat that collects under the skin helped improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar.

A series of experiments were conducted on mice where the researchers transplanted subcutaneous fat from donor ice into the bellies and under the skin of mice. Those mice getting subcutaneous fat transplanted into their bellies started to slim down after several weeks, even though no changes in their diet or activity levels was made. Their blood sugar and insulin levels were also improved compared to those mice, which underwent a sham procedure.

This no doubt is an important finding, as it not only states that not all fats are bad but also highlights a special aspect of fat that would require further research.

The researchers are working hard to find the substance produced in subcutaneous fat that offer the benefit. Once these substances are found, they hope to convert them into drugs or use them as guides to help develop drugs.

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