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Researchers say that being exposed to cold temperatures for long periods could reduce the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes
08/16/2018 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Exposure to cold temperatures for long periods of time was found to reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. This link between temperature and obesity and diabetes risks is believed to be influenced by the way temperature affects the role of fat cells in the body.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo and Tohoku University in Japan carried out a study in mice that looked at how fat cells reacted to different temperatures.

Based on the results of their study, they found that long-term exposure to cold temperature caused white fat cells to produce brown-like fat cells.

White fat cells store energy, while brown-like fat cells burn energy. This finding is significant because brown fat cells are known to be healthier compared to white fat cells, which are typically linked to metabolic disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes.

According to the researchers, the process starts when the cold triggers a change in a protein called JMJD1A. When this altered protein is mixed with other proteins, it alters the way a gene works to produce heat. After that, a chemical process called thermogenesis is stimulated, which alters epigenetic patterns for white fat cells to transform into beige fat cells, which act like brown fat cells.

The researchers noted that the same white-to-beige fat transition can occur without exposure to cold temperatures. Therefore, developing a treatment that specifically focuses on amino acids within proteins could enhance health outcomes. However, before any fat cell treatment can be developed, further research in humans will be needed to confirm these findings.


"Our next experiments will look more closely at epigenetic modifications within thermogenesis signaling pathway so that we may manipulate it," said the researchers.

Diabetes prevention tips

Since diabetes is a chronic disease, prevention is essential. Here are some tips on preventing diabetes:

  • Limit consumption of sugar and refined carbs – Foods rich in refined carbs and sugar elevate blood sugar and insulin levels, which may eventually result in diabetes. Thus, it is important to limit or avoid consumption of these foods to reduce diabetes risk.
  • Exercise regularly – Exercising on a regular basis can increase insulin production and sensitivity, which may help protect against the development of diabetes.
  • Drink plenty of water – Drinking water may help control blood sugar and insulin levels, which in turn, lowers the risk of diabetes. Moreover, drinking water helps you avoid beverages that are high in sugar, preservatives, and other harmful ingredients.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – If you are overweight or obese, you may want to consider losing weight. Carrying extra weight, especially in the abdominal area, raises the chances of developing diabetes.
  • Do not smoke – Smoking has been known to cause or contribute to many health conditions, such as heart disease, emphysema, and many forms of cancers. Cigarette smoking has been linked to the risk of diabetes, especially in heavy smokers. Cutting the habit has also been shown to cut the risk of diabetes over time.
  • Follow a ketogenic diet – Adhering to a ketogenic or very-blow-carb diet can help protect against diabetes. Studies have shown that this type of diet lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, increases insulin sensitivity, and reduces other diabetes risk factors.
  • Increase your vitamin D levels – Vitamin D is essential for controlling blood sugar. In addition to sunlight exposure, vitamin D can be found in foods such as fatty fish and cod liver oil.
  • Avoid processed foods – Processed foods are linked to many health problems. In fact, research has shown that eating processed foods increases the risk of diabetes by 30 percent. Instead, eat beans, dark, leafy greens, citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, berries, tomatoes, fish, whole grains, and nuts. These foods are known to help prevent and stop diabetes.

Read more news stories and studies on preventing type 2 diabetes by going to DiabetesScienceNews.com.

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