Manipulating Fat Cells

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Manipulating Fat Cell Receptors Naturally

Posted by George L. Redmon PH.D.N.D.

Unfortunately, adiposities (fat cells) possess numerous routes to ensure their continued growth and proliferation. These survival characteristics of adiposities explain why novel methods to promote fat loss generally produce little to no results.
The Adipocyte Life Cycle Hypothesis
McGill University Health Centre

As a committed bodybuilder and fitness enthusiasts one of the most frustrating aspects of putting in the time and the hard work it takes to build a lean muscular body is to have lost body fat creep back into the equation. Because of the unique physiological anomalies associated with fat cells as cited above by researchers at McGill University in Canada, and their impact on resistance training individuals, as well as contributing to the current obesity epidemic , the study of adipocyte development has become an area of intense research in recent years. Of major concern is the fact that accumulated data has shown that fat cells store fat and deposit it throughout the body, despite the up-regulation of various fat-burning activities. In fact, these guys have the ability to differentiate, mean they can split into carbon copies of themselves much like Agent Smith, the charismatic character and foe of Neo in the iconic movie The Matrix. From a physiological standpoint, this glitch makes fat cells a formidable opponent as these guys are so adept at accomplishing this feat that even when liposuction surgery is done, they find ways to come back fatter than before.

New Thinking New Ways to Fight Fat

From the above analogies it is easy to understand why sports medicine researchers have sought to find additional ways to address problems associated with fat storage. For example, Dr. James M. Ntambi Ph.D. of the University of Wisconsin Department of Nutritional Sciences states that long-term successful efforts in reducing fat storage are best accomplished by altering both the size and number of fat cells within the body, as well as by the limiting differentiation (development from one into many) of preadipocytes (young developing fat cells) which act as renewable sources of eventual full grown fat cells. Conversely, Dr. Laurie Barclay, M.D. from Princeton University cites an opposite and specific approach to control fat storage by reminding us that fat storage and breakdown are controlled by two sets of special receptors called alpha and beta receptors located on the surface of each fat cell. Beta fat receptors which are regulated by the hormone epinephrine promote fat breakdown (lipolysis) and increases fat burning while increasing the amount of blood flowing through fat cells. In opposition, alpha-adrenergic receptors prevent fat breakdown and promote fat storage while reducing the amount of blood flowing through fat cells.

You and Fat: Joined At the Hip

The premise behind exploring new research to fight fat could be compared to a concept known as the chaos theory, commonly referred to as the butterfly effect. This concept centers on the notion that the sensitive dependency on changing initial conditions in which a small change at one place in a pre-determined system can result in large differences in a later state, place or time. Forget the scientific jargon here, but remember that it is here where scientist are beginning to understand how to make small adjustments in mechanisms that can initiate system wide variations in fat deposition, breakdown, differentiation and its creation , versus strictly focusing on a specific fat-burning mechanism. This is one of the new emerging approaches to fighting fat as regrettably, the number of alpha and beta fat receptors is genetically predetermined, meaning that if you were born with an inordinate number of alpha fat receptors, as opposed to a smaller number of beta fat receptors, this could mean that your body will store fat more efficiently and fight all efforts to the death to hang around. Conversely, finding ways to manipulate beta fat receptors to burn more fat and increase blood flow to counter act or slow down signals of alpha fat storing receptors is becoming the new norm in fat management not only in sports medicine but conventional medicine.

In this report we will look at how you to can manipulate fat cells, their receptors, appetite hormones and fat burning mechanisms naturally and safely that serve as long term solutions to this problem versus quick and reoccurring fixes.

The Natural Fat Manipulators

*Adipomin - This herb form India in human studies has shown the ability to reduce overall body weight and fat loss paralleled with significant reductions in Body Mass Index numbers (a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women). For example, recently researchers at the Department of Internal Medicine at the ASR Academy of Medical Sciences in India reported that 900?mg/day in three divided doses of Adipomin in an 8-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed significant reductions in body weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), fasting blood glucose, LDL (bad) cholesterol ratios , and triglycerides. Furthermore, the participants in this study saw a 21.26% increase in adiponectin levels, as compared to placebo. Incidentally, adiponectin is the hormone produced by fat cells and acts as a feedback mechanism to modulate food intake to prevent accumulation of excess blood sugar and fats.

*Invingia Gabonenis (Wild African Mango) - This fat manipulator originates from an African tree called Irvingia and is commonly known as Wild African Mango. In a recent 10 week double blind placebo controlled study subjects who took Wild African Mango lost 28.1 pounds of weight as compared to1.5 lbs versus the placebo group, with a accompanying reduction of body fat by 6.3%., as compared to 1.9% in the placebo group. Also in a double blind randomized study at the Department of Biochemistry at The University of Yaounde in Cameroon, subjects over the course of one month at dose ranges of 1.05g of Irving gabonesis 3xday saw an 11.7 lb reduction of weight as compared to 2.9 lbs within the placebo group.

A Multi-Dimensional Fat-Regulator

Interestingly, this African herb fits the mold of having the butterfly effect and data indicates that the results cited above are a direct result of Irving gabonesis being an amylase inhibitor, meaning it reduces the amount of ingested starches and their conversion to sugar. Wild African Mango also accelerates the expression of adiponectin that regulates insulin sensitivity, as well as the suppression of a compound known as the adipogenic transcription factor which plays a key role in forming new fat cells and their differentiation. Additionally, this dynamic fat-regulator minimizes the amount of sugar that the body converts to fat by down-regulating the enzyme responsible for this known as glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, while also governing the actions of the hormone leptin which turns down appetite signals and promotes the burning of triglycerides, the chemical form in which most fat exists in foods as well as in the body.

*Melatonin - Well know for its ability to reset inborn biological clocks that impact natural sleep/wake cycles referred to as circadian rhythms, the hormone melatonin as you know has a dynamic impact on growth hormone secretion. In a new collaborative study appearing in the Journal of Pineal Research, scientists from the University of Granada in Madrid and the University of Texas Health Science Center revealed that melatonin via the removal of non-responsive tissue on the growth hormone secretagogue receptors turn up fat-burning switches to high in uncoupling protein 1(UCP1) found in energy producing mitochondrial cells. By the way, UCP1 proteins are responsible for burning calories and generating heat, which generally occur at a more rapid pace in what investigators refer to as brown fat. Metabolically, brown fat acts like muscle and burns calories, where as, white fat or beige fat that could be compared to a solid brick, thick and metabolically impossible to breakdown. Unfortunately, brown fat naturally declines during the aging process and can’t be regenerated by eating certain foods or performing specific exercises. However, what has gotten researchers so excited about melatonin is data showing that it has the ability to convert white fat into brown fat. Dr.Ken Fujioka, M.D. ,Director of the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego states that the accumulated research shows that blocking specific chemicals in the body that up-regulate levels of thermogenic (heat producing) proteins may be the key to obesity and fat regulation.

*Sphaeranthus Indicus Flower and Mangosteen Fruit (Garcinia mangostana) - Recently researchers identified six inborn metabolic pathways that negatively alter fat formation and breakdown. For example, the adipocyte differentiation-related protein (ADRP) pathway encourages fat accumulation and formation in fat cells. The adipocyte fatty acid binding protein 4 pathway transports fatty acids into fat cells for storage. The perilipin pathway produces proteins that coat fat droplets in adipocytes, which inhibit their fat contents from being broken down. The plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) pathway when overly expressed by adipose tissue, increase abdominal fat, body weight, and body mass index. The PPAR-gamma or peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma pathway triggers adipogenesis, the transformation of baby fat cells or preadipocytes into full grown fat cells. Lastly, the Beta-3-adrenergic receptor (3AR) pathway regulates lipolysis (fat breakdown). Researchers found that up-regulation of this pathway greatly increased fat cell energy expenditure burning up unused fat in the process.

Manipulating Adipocyte Pathways

Because fat cells tend to expand when the body ages researchers have sought to find ways to manipulate this physiological anomaly. Recent research data presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Bethesda,revealed that in human studies a combination of the herbal extracts Sphaeranthus indicus flower (S. indicus) and Mangosteen fruit (Garcinia mangostana) significantly inhibited adipogenesis and negative alterations of fat within the above multiple pathways. In fact, when subjects were administered a 800mg combination of this dynamic duo they realized a reduction of 4.05 inches of belly fat which was 2.0 times the amount lost by the placebo group. Conversely, there was a 2.05 drop in body mass index numbers, 3.9 times better than placebo, parallel by an 11.4% decrease in total body weight, 3.7 times over placebo. What was astounding about these results was the time length meaning these results occurred over an eight week period, however with weight and fat loss observed as early as 14 days. More over, when fat cells were treated with S. indicus alone, fat storage was inhibited by as much as 65%, as compared with controls.

*St John’s Wort - As stated earlier, when fat cells proliferate they grow in size and can divide and form new fat cells. Recently researchers at Louisiana State University looking for ways to minimize this process found that when fat begins to accumulate, that they accomplish the above via what researchers call critical adipocyte command regulating signals. These signals turn off mechanisms that control adipocyte gene expression (the process by which a gene's coded information is converted into the structures operating in a cell) and function, as well as by up-regulating insulin sensitivity. By heightening these processes, fat cells keep the body in a fat production and storing mode. New research data indicates that St. John's Wort slows down the process of adipocyte differentiation (formation of new fat cells) as well as adipogenesis (production of fat) and the normal deposition of fat and the conversion of carbohydrates or protein to fat by manipulating the hormones PPARgamma and adiponectin which limit differentiation of preadipocytes and insulin resistance in mature fat cells. As a point of reference here, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are responsible for the regulation of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.

The Enzyme Fat Reduction Connection

*acyl CoA: monoacylglycerol acyltransferase 2 - As you know for chemical reactions to take place they need a catalyst to initiate or jump-start it much like a car battery is needed to start an automobile. In the scientific journal Nature Medicine researchers at the Gladstone Institutes of Cardiovascular Disease, a biomedical research organization affiliated with the University of California discovered that an enzyme known as acyl CoA: monoacylglycerol acyltransferase 2( Mgat2) controls the absorption of fat as well as its reduction. While these researchers aren’t quite sure how this enzyme completely works, emerging data thus far shows that by down-regulating the activity of Mgat2 this allows the body to reroute and partition ( divide and break into parts) absorbed fat to muscle tissue where it can be burned up more efficiently.

*Lipase - This enzyme is secreted by the pancreas into the small intestines. It is responsible for the break down and digestion of fat throughout the body. Without adequate quantities of lipase fat accumulates and stagnates in the organs, arteries and capillaries. As I am sure you have surmised this mishap can greatly deter you from maintaining a lean muscular physique and can be a detriment to one’s health. In order to split and re-assemble fats, the liver requires its own lipase, and this is called liver lipase. Also, the more lipase you have in the blood stream helps keep blood vessels free of fatty deposits.


When you look at the new approach oncologist are using to fight cancer by looking at the patient’s genomic cellular profile and targeting specific cells that are causing the problem versus dropping a chemotherapeutic chemical bomb on the entire cellular system, correlates with this new approach to manipulating fat cells. Essentially, triggering a small minute action that triggers a large all encompassing reaction insures that the right mechanisms are up-regulated to override the ones causing the problem, a clear sign the butterfly effect is in effect. This appears to be physiologically the best way to stay lean, mean and healthy long term.


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George L. Redmon, Ph.D. Short Bio

Dr. Redmon has been associated with the vitamin and health industry for over 25years, having served as The National Product and Education Director for one of the country’s largest retailers of nutritional supplements. He has been widely published in many major bodybuilding, fitness and alternative medicine publications. He is the author of Natural Born Fat Burners, Energy for Life and is a member of The National Academy of Sports Medicine and The International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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