Constantly, experts are investigating new technologies to help reduce the effects of adiposity (being fat), henceforth achieving a fitter silhouette and most importantly, a healthier lifestyle. In this article, we will look at one of these new technologies: skin patches that will burn fat.
Brown fat vs. white fat: the human body has two types of fat cells: Brown fat and white fat. The differences between these two types of fat don’t end with their differences in color. They are also found in distinct regions anatomically and each one has completely different functions.
White fat adiposity (white or yellow fat cells) is found throughout the entire body. White fat cells are a main source of energy for the body and are used as thermal insulators for our body.
However, when this type of adiposity increases beyond the recommended normal levels for the individual’s age and sex, it can cause metabolic alternations that can cause serious diseases, such as the following: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides) and cardiovascular diseases.
White fat cells are considered to have a low metabolic rate. But on the other hand, the brown fat cells have a high metabolic rate because of receiving an abundance of blood flow.
Brown fat cells are widely found in babies but in adults, they can only be found in very small amounts. They are often located around the neck and shoulder area and down around the kidneys and down the spine.
The main function of brown fat cells is in regulating our body temperature. In theory, the white blood cells are for storing energy and the brown fat cells are for burning energy.
Skin patches and how they burn fat
Investigators from the University of Columbia and the University of North Carolina have developed a patch that turns white fat cells into brown fat cells. By doing this, they are able to reduce a certain fatty part of the body. As you recall, brown fat is degraded (“burned”) by creating heat and direct heat can change the fatty tissue such as the unwanted white fat cells, so they can quickly disappear.
Skin patches have microscopic grid points or needles that supply certain fat burning medicines directly to the white blood cells or the adiposity areas that you desire to eliminate (example: applying to the abdomen).
By this way, the drugs will solely concentrate on a located region of the body and will be only absorbed by the located fatty tissue that you desire to reduce. It is not spread throughout the entire body. For this reason, there are less secondary effects or risks.
Rodent study of the affects of rosiglitazone and CL316243
These skin patches have not been tested on humans yet, but they had extremely positive results when tested on rodents. However, these results are exciting for the future of treating obesity and other metabolic diseases.
The patch contains two drugs: rosiglitazone and CL316243 (beta-adrenergic receptor agonist). Both drugs are known for converting white fat into brown fat. This was proven when applied to obese rodents.
In this study, they divided the rodents into two groups. The first group replaced the drug-containing patches on the rodent’s skin every 3 days and the second group received a non-drugged patch every 3 days. At the end of four weeks, the group that received the drug-containing patch showed a 20% weight loss reduction and a notable energy increase.
What other weight loss options are available today?
There are many drugs that can assist in converting white fat tissue into brown fat but they must be administrated via injections or taken orally. However, this exposes the entire body to the secondary effects of the drugs.
On the other hand, skin patches could be a safe alternative and a noninvasive alternative to liposuction, which is surgical procedure that removes the localized fat but has a high risk of complications.