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Brown Adipose Tissue: How To Activate BAT and Thermogenesis

Brown fat adipose tissue (BAT) represents a breakthrough in science for weight loss and the potential treatment of obesity.

Obesity has now been recognised as an epidemic. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015-16 obesity statistics classified 39.8% of the entire population of the USA as being obese (1).

The problem is; it has simply become too easy to gain weight. In an age of ever increasing poverty and inflation, humans are faced with working longer and longer hours just to make ends meet. I mean who has time for meal prep?

Fast food is ultra-convenient, designed to be super tasty, and loaded with calories. That is, not wholesome nutritious calories, but largely ‘empty’ calories that spike insulin and promote fat storage and weight gain.

For example, according to a recent article on how to lose weight fast, published on; drinking just 1 can extra of sugar-sweetened beverage per day, every day, for a year, could result in a weight gain of up to 15.6 lbs of fat!

Needless to say, if you want to lose weight, cutting out sugar-sweetened beverages is a must.

So today you are going to learn all about brown fat adipose tissue (BAT) and how it is used in thermogenesis to burn body fat fast.

But before I uncover this little known secret weight loss tip, let’s first take a look a look at what adipose tissue actually is, and what its purpose is.

What is adipose tissue?

Adipose tissue is the anatomical name that we use to refer to body fat. There are 2 types of body fat and they each have a different purpose. The standard type of body fat is white adipose tissue (WAT), the other type is known as brown adipose tissue (BAT). Adipose tissue is made from many individual fat cells known as adipocytes or lipocytes.

What is white fat adipose tissue (WAT)?

White adipose tissue (WAT) is significantly different from brown fat adipose tissue (BAT). WAT’s main purpose is to function as a store of energy, and it also provides insulation to internal organs where it is known as visceral fat.

The build-up of too much white fat can lead to obesity and is bad for you. Too much white fat, especially when concentrated around your midsection, can lead to an increase in the risk for various diseases including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiac disease, and other diseases.

White fat has very few mitochondria, meaning that in order for you to burn your excess WAT stores, your WAT has to first release fats in the form of triglycerides. These circulating triglycerides are then subsequently oxidised (burned) by your skeletal muscle tissue to provide energy to fuel physical exercise.

What is brown fat adipose tissue (BAT)?

Brown fat’s main purpose is is to keep you warm and to help regulate your body’s core temperature. It is like an in-built safety mechanism that warms you up when you get too cold.

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) contains a large amount of mitochondria and also produces a unique protein called uncoupling protein (UCP1). It is the UCP1 protein that redirects, or “uncouples” oxygen used for the generation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in respiration to then be used by your BAT to oxidise its store of fats. This thermogenic process then creates heat and helps to regulate your body temperature.

BAT burns calories from fat to create heat without the need for exercise.

How to activate brown fat in your body?

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is something that everybody has; when you were born you had around 5% brown adipose tissue, as all babies do (2). However, it is also possible under certain conditions, that you can up-regulate the amount of brown fat you have.

When you activate BAT you increase your energy expenditure. Therefore, you could potentially lose weight without having to exercise.

Here are some ways how to get brown fat (BAT).

1. Have a regular sleeping schedule

As the late Benjamin Franklin said; “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”.

However, he forgot to mention the part about how sleeping uninterrupted for 7-8 hours optimises melatonin production. Melatonin is your master hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm; more commonly known as your sleep-wake cycle.

Melatonin is secreted in your brain by your Pineal gland and is light sensitive. When the sun sets and darkness arises your melatonin is activated. Scientists now know that melatonin activates BAT (3).

2. Take thermogenic fat burning supplements.

There are various brown fat activation supplements that are available in pill form. For example, capsicum which is the ingredient found on chilli peppers and other foods, is known to increase energy expenditure through the activation of BAT (4).

This is why extracts of foods such as cayenne pepper and black pepper are popular ingredients in fat burning supplements.

3. Sleep cool.

Brown fat’s primary role is to increase your body temperature through thermogenesis. Your body will generally only activate your BAT if it needs to be warmer. When sleeping at night your melatonin levels peak. Melatonin activates your BAT. If you also sleep cool you will activate even more brown fat which will help to increase your energy expenditure and burn even more fat.

Can brown adipose tissue (BAT) help with conditions like diabetes?

It appears that brown dispose tissue has various therapeutic potential that we are still learning about. For example, brown fat activation could be used as a possible weight reduction treatment by increasing energy expenditure in obese patients who have become too heavy to workout. Furthermore, brown fat may also offer the potential to treat diabetes because of its ability to enhance glucose and lipid disposal (5).


Further research is needed before brown fat activation is honed into clinical treatments for obesity and other diseases such as diabetes. However, the potential of brown fat is amazing and you can use these 3 tips listed in this article to naturally increase your brown fat to lose weight.



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Written by Nat Sauteed

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