July 12, 2013
Put On The Scarf Or Die Of A Heart Attack
It’s the middle of winter and you want to run to the store for a quick snack. Just as you are about to step out of the door, your mom, wife, or even your unconscious yells at you to put on the scarf. You hesitate, but then realize you might as well do it since it is really cold outside. Without realizing it, you just helped yourself to prevent a possible future heart attack.
For the longest time, scientists, doctors and nutritionists have studied our bodies and how fat works within our bodies. One of the interesting things they have found is the process our body goes through when we become really cold. Our bodies store what we call white fat that we just store. It wasn’t until recently that we realized that part of this fat is turned into what scientists are calling “brown fat,” that then breaks down, and as it does, it releases heat into our bodies when we feel cold. When first discovered, everyone considered brown fat to be a good thing, since it appeared to represent having great potential for weight loss; but now scientists are having their doubts and are starting to believe brown fat could be a double edged sword.
A group of Yihai Choa colleges, and Yihia Choa himself, decided to tackle brown fat and try to discover as much as possible from it. They took a couple of mice and divided them in two groups. Group A of mice were kept at regular room temperature; the other group of mice, group B, were kept at 4 degrees Celsius. The results were astonishing. From their experiments, they learned that as the temperature dropped, the amount of brown fat burned increased, and so did the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or commonly known as “bad” cholesterol. These high levels can lead to clogged arteries that can later turn into a heart attack or a heart stroke. In a study conducted in 2010, by Krishnan Bhaskaran and his colleagues, across England and Wales for a span of years, showed that 200 more people had a heart attack for every degree that the temperature dropped.
Doctors and scientists are both saying we don’t know enough about brown fat to be messing with it. They say that the best tactic of defense against its terrible effects is to stay indoors and to keep as warm as possible during those harsh winter months. So, the next time it is freezing cold and you want to step outside without a jacket or something to protect you from the elements, think about your heart and your life. Adding that extra layer could be what saves you from a life threatening heart attack.
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