Nearly 35% of Americans are considered obese, according to the CDC. Obesity causes cancer, diseases, diabetes and potentially death. Researchers are racing to find a solution to help people manage their weight. From diet pills to the “Biggest Loser”, people are looking for a quick, long-lasting fix to lose the weight for good. Hemp extract may be able to help by turning your white fat cells into brown fat cells, which can help burn more calories.
What is White Fat?
Call it your muffin top or love handles, white fat is essential for your overall wellbeing. White fat cells are composed of a single lipid droplet and far less mitochondria and blood vessels, giving white fat its color. As the largest energy reserve in the body, white fat acts as a thermal insulator and a cushion for our organs.
Normally, men should carry 15 to 25 percent body fat, while women carry around 15 to 30 percent body fat. This white body fat will help you stay alive on a desert island, as one pound of stored fat contains roughly 4,000 calories, says Dr. Pam Peeke in a Women’s Health article. If a person needs 2,000 calories a day to live, and has about 20 pounds of body fat, the person would last about 40 days without food — just to give you a general idea. That’s because your body uses the stored fat as energy. With that said, consuming more calories than you’re using will be stored as white fat for safe keeping. Excessive white fat can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
What is Brown Fat?
Now that you understand your worst enemy for weight loss (white fat), meet your best friend, brown fat. Unlike its counterpart, brown fat is made up of several small lipid droplets and a multitude of iron-containing mitochondria. The mitochondria in brown fat uses energy, or calories, to generate heat.
As we age, your brown fat levels decrease since adults have higher metabolic rates and increased muscle mass allowing us to shiver and be warm. Brown fat is activated in hibernating animals and babies because they cannot shiver when they are cold, like adults can. As an adult, only a small portion of brown fat exists in your neck and upper back region. Derived from the muscle tissue, more brown fat is found in lean, metabolically healthy individuals and can burn up to 5 times more calories than other types of fat. In essence, we love brown fat, but we don’t have a lot of it.
The Cold Turns White Fat to Brown Fat
Since nearly 35% of Americans are considered obese, researchers are looking for ways to decrease white fat. They have found that white fat cells can turn brown with the exposure to cold temperatures. As a warm-blooded mammal, the hypothalamus located in your brain regulates your body’s temperature, finding a perfect balance. When you dip into a freezing lake, your hypothalamus says to your muscles, “Shiver.” The brown fat protects you from the cold by generating heat throughout the body to stabilize your body’s temperature.
Researchers have found that mice exposed to cold show a temporary “browning” of some of their white fat. This browning helps generate heat and burn calories, using the body’s excess fat stores for fuel. In addition, browning helps deprive other fat cells of calories or energy to prevent fat accumulation. Responsible for regulating temperature without shivering, brown fat can help you burn more calories when introduced to the cold.
CBD Encourages Browning
Now, what if you could activate your brown fat and burn more calories without being frigid cold? You can with the help of CBD! In your body lies the endocannabinoid system, a natural part of our physiologies. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is directly connected to energy storage and the transportation of nutrients. This means the ECS can regulate everything from temperature and inflammation to mood and sleep.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to help reach homeostasis, the perfect balance. CBD can also help activate browning by regulating the mitochondrial activity in both brown and white fat cells. By turning on the mitochondria, more white fat cells turn brown. The brown fat cells are then activated to burn stored energy from your muffin top, love handles, or anywhere excess fat is. Therefore, CBD may be able to help regulate weight and promote weight loss through the browning of white fat cells.
Maybe You Don’t Have to Take A Polar Plunge
We’ve found that cold exposure can help you burn more calories. That’s probably why polar bear plunges are so popular right now. Rather than dunking your whole body in ice every day, CBD is an alternative solution to turn white fat to brown fat. Activating the same process as being cold does, CBD may be able to help you regulate your weight better without taking the polar plunge. You can try CBD as a gummy, tincture or a superfood greens drink like Natural Recovery Greens to aid your weight loss journey.