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What Is Brown Adipose Tissue?

Brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat, is a kind of adipose tissue among mammals. This brown fat is found in abundance among babies and hibernating animals like the polar bear and field mouse. The most important rimary function of brown fat is to keep the body warm. The fat is brown because it has more capilliaries, which have lots of mitochondria, which in turn contain iron. It has more capilliaries because it needs more oxygen.

Brown is special because it gives off more heat than other cells do. This is especially important for babies because they can’t move away from cold objects on their own and they do not shiver easily. Also, their nervous system is yet to fully develop to respond appropriately to cold. Furthermore, they don’t have as many ways of keeping warm as adults do, like piling on more blankets or moving somewhere warmer. They need extra heat insulators, which come in the form of brown adipose tissue.

In adults, brown fat usually disappears, and was thought to turn into white fat, or white adipocytes, but recent studies show that brown fat is actually more closely related to skeletal muscle. There is some left in the upper chest and neck.

Brown fat eats calories from normal fat and burns it, so scientists are now finding a way to use it as a method of weight loss. Some data that has been found to support this theory is that people who are extremely over weight have less brown adipose tissue then those who are fit.

Sometimes, abnormalities occur with the brown fat like when it keeps growing and becomes a tumor called hibernoma.

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