Vitamin A stimulates fat burning in the cold
Vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. Among other things, it is important for cell growth, the function of the immune system, the visual process as well as the health of the skin and mucous membranes. And it could help in weight loss. Because according to researchers, vitamin A boosts fat burning during the cold.
According to a recent announcement, a new study by a research team from the Medical University (MedUni) Vienna shows that cold ambient temperatures raise vitamin A levels in humans and mice. As a result, there is a conversion of white into brown adipose tissue, which stimulates fat burning and heat production. This “fat transformation” goes hand in hand with increased energy consumption and is therefore considered to be a very promising approach in the treatment of obesity.
New therapeutic option against obesity
In humans and mammals, a distinction is generally made between at least two different types of fat deposits, white and brown adipose tissue. The white adipose tissue is much more common in the human body, stores fat and is preferably located on the abdomen, buttocks and thighs.
The body can fall back on these deposits when it needs more energy. Brown fat, on the other hand, burns energy while releasing heat. However, with age and overweight, the number of brown fat cells decreases, which is why the possibility of converting white to brown fat could be a new therapeutic option for overweight and obesity (obesity).
Converting white to brown fat
A research group led by Florian Kiefer from the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University Clinic for Internal Medicine III at MedUni Vienna, has now demonstrated in a study that moderate use of cold leads to an increase in vitamin A and its blood transporter, the “Retinol-binding protein” came on.
More than ninety percent of the vitamin A reserves are stored in the liver, whereby the cold should support a redistribution of vitamin A in the adipose tissue. According to the information, the application of cold also led to a conversion of white to brown fat (“browning”) with increased fat burning. The study, in which researchers from the USA were also involved, was recently published in the specialist journal “Molecular Metabolism”.
Increased metabolic activity
When the scientists blocked the vitamin A transporter “retinol-binding protein” by genetic manipulation, both the increase in vitamin A caused by the cold and the “browning” of white fat were inhibited: “The result was a decrease in heat production and fat burning, so that the mice could no longer adequately protect themselves against the cold, ”explains Kiefer. The addition of vitamin A in human white fat cells, on the other hand, led to a development of brown fat cell properties with increased metabolic activity and energy burning.
“Our results show that vitamin A plays an important role in the function of adipose tissue and has an influence on energy metabolism. That does not mean, however, that you should simply consume vitamin A supplements unrestrainedly, since the most important thing is that it is transported to the right cells at the right time, ”explains the MedUni Vienna researcher. “We discovered a new mechanism by which vitamin A intervenes in heat production and stimulates fat burning during the cold. This could help us to develop therapeutic interventions in the future that use precisely this mechanism. “(Ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
- Medical University of Vienna: Vitamin A boosts fat burning during the cold, (accessed: October 21, 2020), Medical University of Vienna
- Fenzl A, Kulterer OC et al.: Intact vitamin A transport is critical for cold-mediated adipose tissue browning and thermogenesis; in: Molecular Metabolism, (veröffentlicht: 28.09.2020), Molecular Metabolism
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.