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Brown neck fat helps burn white belly fat

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As most people resolve themselves to lose weight this New Year, here's why it seems to get easier and easier to pack on unwanted pounds: New research published in the Jan. 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal, shows that as we age, the thermogenic activity of brown fat is reduced. Brown fat is a "good" fat located in the backs of our necks that helps burn "bad" white fat around our bellies. Looks like eating more salads and lean proteins or drinking juices from green leafy vegetables might help as we age, as might possibly be more exercising for some people.

Brown fat is a "good" fat located in the backs of our necks that helps burn "bad" white fat around our bellies. Additionally, the researchers also discovered a possible metabolic on/off switch that could reactivate brown fat.Scientists explain age-related obesity: Brown fat fails, says the new study, "Antiobese function of platelet-activating factor: increased adiposity in platelet-activating factor receptor-deficient mice with age."

Recent research in The FASEB Journal suggests that platelet-activating factor receptors cause increased adiposity and weight gain, and regulating these receptors could lead to treatments for metabolic diseases, according to the new study, "Antiobese function of platelet-activating factor: increased adiposity in platelet-activating factor receptor-deficient mice with age." The study is published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal (The FASEB Journal), in the January 2014 issue. You can check out the study's abstract.

As most people resolve themselves to lose weight this New Year, here's why it seems to get easier and easier to pack on unwanted pounds. New research published in the January 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal, shows that as we age, the thermogenic activity of brown fat is reduced.

Age-related obesity explained in new study: Our brown fat stops working as we age

"Future studies on how PAF/PAFR signaling controls UCP1 levels through beta3-AR production in the BAT of animals and humans may reveal new therapeutic targets to treat metabolic disorders associated with obesity," said Junko Sugatani, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Pharmaco-Biochemistry at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Shizuoka in Shizuoka, Japan, according to the January 2, 2014 news release, "Scientists explain age-related obesity: Brown fat fails."

To make this discovery, scientists analyzed two groups of mice. The first group had the platelet-activating factor receptors (PAFR) gene knocked out. The second group was normal. PAFR-deficient mice developed a more severe obese state characterized by higher body and epididymal fat mass with age than that of wild-type littermates.

Brown adipose tissue (fat) malfunctions: What causes it to dysfunction leading to obesity and degenerative diseases? Aging

Brown fat stops working as we age. Findings from the PAFR-KO genetic model reveal that PAFR-deficiency causes brown adipose tissue (BAT) dysfunction, which converges to induce the development of obesity, due to impaired thermogenic activity of BAT. This study could elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying the PAF/PAF receptor-mediated anti-obesity, leading to the development of new targets for the treatment of obesity and related disorders, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, infertility and ulcers.

"A common complaint is that older people have to work twice as hard with their diets and exercise to get half of the results of younger people," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, according to the news release. "Now we have a much better idea why this is the case: Our brown fat stops working as we age. Unfortunately, until a way to turn it back on is developed, we'll have to be prepared to eat more salads and lean proteins, while logging more miles on the treadmill than our younger counterparts."

Authors of the study are: Junko Sugatani, Satoshi Sadamitsu, Masahiko Yamaguchi, Yasuhiro Yamazaki, Ryoko Higa, Yoshiki Hattori, Takahiro Uchida, Akira Ikari, Wataru Sugiyama, Tatsuo Watanabe, Satoshi Ishii, Masao Miwa, and Takao Shimizu.

Foods That May Increase Your HDL 'good' Cholesterol Levels

Actually, you want to increase your LDL particle size which is more important than increasing your HDL levels, although both goals are fine. Just realize that when the LDL particle size is large and fluffy, it won't tend to clog arteries, at least not as much as those with small LDL particles.

Increase the monounsaturated fats in your diet. Monounsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, or grape seed oil and in the fats found in peanut and/or almond butter may be able to increase HDL cholesterol levels without increasing the total cholesterol.

Add soluble fiber to your diet. Soluble fibers are found in pectin powders, oats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and result in both a reduction in LDL cholesterol and an increase HDL cholesterol. For best results, at least two servings a day should be used, according to the article, "How to increase your HDL levels."

Cranberry Juice. Certain lower-fructose, lower sugar fruit juices may help. Cranberry juice has been shown to increase HDL levels. Fish, certain purified fish oils, krill oils, calamari oils, and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids also may increase HDL levels. In postmenopausal women (but not, apparently, in men or pre-menopausal women) calcium supplementation can increase HDL levels, but always use a balance of magnesium, vitamin D3 and perhaps vitamin K-2 (MK-7) with any calcium. Otherwise you might end up with calcium deposits all over your body or calcium in your bloodstream instead of in your bones.

Find out whether any calcium you're taking actually is being absorbed. See the articles, "13 Ways To Raise Your HDL Naturally: The Methuselah Syndrome," and the article on the health benefits of cranberry juice and cranberries, noting studies, "Cranberries." It's published at "The World's Healthiest Foods" website.

Enjoying a daily 8-ounce glass of low-calorie cranberry juice may significantly increase blood levels of cardioprotective HDL cholesterol, suggests a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition (Ruel G., Omperleau S, et al.), according to the article, "Cranberries." Also see another article discussing that study at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health site. Check out this cranberry study summary of research on health benefits. Also see an article discussing the study, "Elevated Cholesterol 5: Recent research studies confirm the importance of eating healthy foods on healthy cholesterol levels."

In this trial, 30 abdominally obese men, averaging 51 years in age, drank increasing amounts (4 ounces, 8 ounces and 12 ounces daily) of low-calorie cranberry juice during three successive 4-week periods. While no changes in the men's HDL were noted after drinking 4 ounces of cranberry juice each day, a large increase (+8.6%) in circulating levels of HDL was noted after the men drank 8-ounces of cranberry juice daily, an effect that leveled out (+8.1%) during the final 12-ounce phase of the study.

After drinking 8 ounces of cranberry juice daily, the men's triglyceride levels also dropped, while their levels of total and LDL cholesterol remained unchanged, which means that overall, their overall lipid profile significantly improved.

The researchers chose abdominally obese men because, in other research (Farnier M, Garnier P, et al., Int J Clin Pract), abdominal obesity, high triglycerides and being male, have been strongly linked to low HDL and cardiovascular disease.

Abdominal obesity, high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol are also key symptoms of the metabolic syndrome, a condition which greatly increases one's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And type 2 diabetes is well known to be a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which remains the leading cause of death not only in the U.S., but throughout the developed world.

So, the subjects in this study were men whose health was greatly at risk. Isn't it wonderful that something as simple, affordable and delicious as a daily 8-ounce glass of cranberry juice offers such potential beneficial impact on our health? Instead of buying the "low-calorie" cranberry juice, which is usually sweetened with aspartame or comparable chemicals, look for unsweetened cranberry juice or similar concentrate without added sweeteners. You also can sweeten any juices with a tiny bit of stevia.

If you're apple shaped, which means gaining weight in the front of the abdomen instead of on your hips and thighs, perhaps you have metabolic syndrome

In Sacramento, Kaiser Permanente and other HMO's often hand out lists naming the five signs of metabolic syndrome. To find out whether you have metabolic syndrome, you're doctor is the best person to ask.

To give you some idea of what to suspect, look for the following five signs of metabolic syndrome in yourself. Your HMO in Sacramento also may offer classes in what foods are of benefit to cut down the symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome.

Give yourself one point for each of the five following 'clinical' features of metabolic syndrome. If you have 3 symptoms or more, than it's time to ask your doctor whether you have metabolic syndrome. You can have yourself tested for any of the symptoms. If you have even one symptom--abdominal obesity or the tendency to gain weight in your abdomen, talk to your doctor and find out whether a change in diet will help correct the symptoms you can correct.

If with genetic predisposition, there are ways through food and lifestyle activity to help your health issue. Here are the five signs of metabolic syndrome. Any three symptoms or more should give you information on what direction to take in finding out why you have these symptoms and whether a change in food can help.

Do you know the symptoms of metabolic syndrome to watch out for and report to your health care team?

The symptoms include bellyfat and wide waist size (gain weight mainly in the abdomen and not on hips or thighs), high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, small LDL particles, high blood pressure, high insulin levels after eating, and/or high blood glucose levels

1. Abdominal obesity. You don't necessarily have to be overweight. Thin people also may have inherited the genes for gaining weight primarily in the abdomen. This could happen if you have one parent who is overweight and one thin parent. In such a case, you've inherited the thin body from one parent, but the genes for abdominal obesity from the overweight parent. On the outside you're thin, but on the inside, you have inherited the high blood pressure gene variant from the parent with metabolic syndrome or hypertension and abdominal obesity.

Some women also gain weight in the abdomen and are genetically born with thin legs and thin arms, narrow hips, small breasts, but gain weight, including when pregnant in the abdomen and not on the hips or thighs or only slightly there. They primarily gain weight around the waist and in the abdomen, which may protrude forward as if from around the navel. When older, post-menopausal, weight gain is in the abdomen, while the arms and legs remain thin.

With men, they may be obese or thin, but weight gain, in either case, is from the belly. Males may have what's called "beer bellies." The more sweets they eat, the more the abdomen protrudes forward and the waistline also increases if the waistline is measured at the level of the navel, not just below the rib cage. Waistline measurements can be taken just above the hip bone, putting the measuring tape around the torso at the level of the belly button.

2. Elevated triglycerides. Fat from foods may be in the form of triglycerides. Don't eat more calories than your body can burn off. Your liver turns excess 'fuel' into triglycerides. In some people fatty meats are stored as fat, but in others fatty meats are burned off as fuel. It's genetic as to whether your body stores meat more as fat or fuel. Fat cells fill up with triglycerides, creating flab.

Worse yet, your liver produces huge amounts of triglycerides each time you eat fructose. Some doctors will tell you to eat less sweets, particularly foods containing fructose. Other doctors will also tell you to add some purified fish oil. Talk to your health care team, and cut down on the fructose. The more fructose you eat, usually the higher your triglycerides get, but again, talk to your health care professionals. There's a book explaining how fructose causes your triglycerides to rise, The Sugar Fix, by Richard J. Johnson, M.D. (with Timothy Gower.) See, The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout That Is Making You Fat and Sick.

How Do You Know When You Have High Triglycerides?

Your fasting triglycerides should not be high. They should be less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). If you're triglycerides are 150 mg/dl or higher, you may have high triglycerides. Many women going through menopause walk into their doctor's offices with triglycerides of 200. That's too high. Cut out the fructose and then measure your triglycerides.

That may mean cutting out certain types of fruit, ice cream, high fructose corn syrup, and various sweets, plus anything with plenty of fructose for two weeks to get your enzymes working better again to lower your triglycerides.Then test your triglycerides again when you see your doctor. See whether the triglycerides have lowered. Sometimes fish oils help. For example, one Sacramento woman's 200 mg/dl triglycerides dropped to 54 after a few months on a small amount of purified fish oil and stopping eating frozen yogurt made with fructose. If you're already taking medicine to lower your triglycerides, you obviously have high fasting triglycerides.

3. Low HDL Cholesterol

Another symptom of metabolic syndrome is low HDL, the 'good' cholesterol. If you're male, your HDL should be higher than 40 mg/dl. If you're female, your HDL should be higher than 50 mg/dl. Ideally, you should strive for 60mg/dl, which is supposed to be a 'healthy' HDL level. It's also genetic. Some people have very high HDL, which is good. The 'bad' LDL cholesterol works to form blockages in the arteries.

The 'good' HDL cholesterol carries the 'bad' LDL cholesterol away from your arteries and takes the stuff back to your liver, where it is disposed of. High levels of HDL may protect you against heart disease and various vascular problems caused by blockages of the 'bad' cholesterol or 'plaques' formed in arteries. If you are taking prescription drugs to increase your HDL level, then you obviously have too low an HDL in the first place. See the article,"How to increase your HDL levels." See how you can increase your HDL levels, which are genetic in the first place with various foods. There is some help available through nutrition and lifestyle changes.

4. High blood pressure. If your doctor tells you your blood pressure is too high or you have hypertension, you need to lower it. Foods that may help are foods that are low in fructose. Did you know that fructose can increase your blood pressure? In biology experiments, rats are fed sugar to raise their blood pressure. That's not just fructose, but plain table sugar as well can raise blood pressure. But fructose is more powerful even than plain old glucose to raise blood pressure. Here's why. Carbs in food break down into glucose and other sugars. Although they are fuel for the body and brain, you don't have to actually eat sugar to give your brain a glucose boost that it can get from starches.

5. Elevated Fasting Blood Glucose Levels

If you have insulin resistance, which in some cases could precede the onset of type 2 diabetes, cells can't absorb glucose from the blood. If your blood glucose levels are chronically elevated, it's one sign of insulin resistance.

Have your glucose levels measured after you've fasted for 12 hours, or at least fasted overnight for 8 hours. If your fasting blood glucose levels are 100mg/dl or higher, you may have insulin resistance. Talk to your doctor, and cut out those sweets, including fruits for two weeks and see what your fasting blood glucose levels are after you've been off of any fructose, such as fruits for a few weeks.

7. High insulin levels

Even though your fasting glucose levels may be normal, have the insulin levels tested to see how high they surge and spike after eating your usual meal.

8. Small, dense LDL cholesterol particles instead of large, fluffy LDL particles

What you want to aim for when you change diet and lifestyle are large, fluffy LDL cholesterol particles that don't clog arteries. You don't want to eat foods that encourage the development of small LDL particles that get stuck in your arteries and organs. Genetically, you're born with naturally large, fluffy or naturally small, dense LDL particles, but you can alter the size of the LDL particles to some extent with changed in diet and lifestyle.

Don't overload with fructose

Be aware that by overloading with fructose found in processed foods, and even from a variety of ice cream or frozen dessert brands that you may think are healthier because they are non made from dairy products, you could be getting too much fructose. Sugar acts differently on the body than fructose. Be aware of this difference.

You can reduce your intake of sugar and fructose without substituting artificial sweeteners that may have other effects. Your goal is to prevent metabolic syndrome, that also can be increased by exposure to chronic stress and the wrong balance of foods for your body. Explore the links between eating a lot of sugar and fructose and low HDL levels. You're going to get a lot of sugar, high fructose corn syrup from not only fruit juices but also from different sodas and soft drinks.

Even a container flavored yogurt may contain 7 teaspoons of sugar. So be aware. If you need to raise your HDL levels, see whether cutting out sugar and fructose will help, and then have your blood tested once more to find out if your HDL levels are better. You also may find one more benefit--you'll perhaps have less cavities in your teeth. Instead of artificial sweeteners, try doing without or using a bit of stevia.

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