A person’s brown fat – formally known as brown adipose tissue – acts as the body’s heat generator without causing shivering, according to findings from a new study.
In a study by Canadian researchers of six healthy men under controlled cold exposure contitions, each person in the study displayed energy generation in brown fat when exposed to the cold but not in neighboring skeletal muscles or fat just under the skin.
The study involving nine experts was led by Veronique Ouellet, of Universite Laval in Quebec Canada.
Whether that fat contributes to cold-induced nonshivering heat generation (thermogenesis) had not been proven.
The researchers tracked brown fat’s effect with a PET body scan using a fatty acid tracer.
They measured brown fat’s effect on the body’s metabolism as well as glucose and unsaturated fatty acid turnover.
The study showed cold-induced energy generation in brown fat, but established a link between brown fat and shivering.
“We found an inverse relationship between BAT activity and shivering,” the study’s authors said. “
“In sum, our study provides evidence that BAT acts as a nonshivering thermogenesis effector in humans.”