Can shivering lead to weight loss? - New York News

Can shivering lead to weight loss?

Posted: Updated:
When temperatures drop, you shiver to stay warm – a reaction that mimics some of the effects of exercise, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

During exercise, your muscles produce the hormone irisin, which stimulates an increase in brown fat in the body's tissues. Brown fat, which is dispersed within the body's white fat stores, feeds off food or white fat to produce energy. It is considered to be a "good" fat for the body.

In a new study published in Cell Metabolism, researchers observed a group of 10 healthy volunteers while they exercised at maximal aerobic capacity, measuring their energy expenditure and taking blood samples. They then had the subjects rest in bed covered with cooling blankets and lowered the blanket temperature to 53.6 F, which, for the majority of participants, triggered a shivering response to warm the body.

Overall, the researchers found that the levels of irisin produced when study participants exercised were comparable to those seen when participants were shivering.

"Shivering is as effective as very strong exercise, from the perspective of the release of irisin," researcher Francesco S. Celi, chair of the division of endocrinology and metabolism at Virginia Commonwealth University, told FoxNews.com.

Researchers also tested the effects of irisin on adipose tissue (white fat) cultures and found that exposure to the hormone stimulated the production of proteins that are characteristic of brown fat, further confirming their initial experiment's results.

These findings allowed researchers to better understand how irisin production occurs in the body and could someday lead to pharmacological substances capable of stimulating irisin production.

However, researchers said further research is needed into the long-term effects of irisin on a person's overall health and metabolism. He also cautioned that weight loss intervention through exercise alone is often ineffective because people tend to eat more, which cancels the effects of physical activity.

"It's a bit too early to jump to conclusions that this is a cure for obesity," he said.

Still, Celi noted that continued research into how brown fat and irisin affect metabolism could benefit public health. For example, for people with diabetes, the activation of brown fat through irisin could potentially allow them to better control glucose levels. Energy expenditure, or moderate exercise, has been shown to improve glucose control for diabetics, even in the absence of actual weight loss. Since brown fat generates energy, it may lead to similar effects.

"As physicians… we're really interested in studying the metabolic consequence of [these] effects," Celi said.

Didn't find what
you were looking for?

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • New York's microbrew industry growing

    New York's microbrew industry growing

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:25 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:25:22 GMT
    Local and small beer brewing companies have something to toast. The Brewers Association says microbrew sales grew in the first half of this year; up 18 percent over the same period last year. This comes at a time when overall domestic beer consumption is flat.Ethan Long, one of the owners of the Rockaway Brewing Company in Long Island City, started brewing beer two years ago.
    Local and small beer brewing companies have something to toast. The Brewers Association says microbrew sales grew in the first half of this year; up 18 percent over the same period last year. This comes at a time when overall domestic beer consumption is flat.Ethan Long, one of the owners of the Rockaway Brewing Company in Long Island City, started brewing beer two years ago.
  • 2 U.S. marshals, 1 NYPD detective wounded; fugitive killed in Manhattan

    2 U.S. marshals, 1 NYPD detective wounded; fugitive killed in Manhattan

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:58:41 GMT

    Two deputy U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were seriously wounded in a shootout with a fugitive sexual assault suspect in the West Village in Manhattan, officials said. The shootout happened in smoke shop called Smoking Culture on West 4th Street near Jones Street.


    Two deputy U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were seriously wounded in a shootout with a fugitive sexual assault suspect in the West Village in Manhattan, officials said. The shootout happened in smoke shop called Smoking Culture on West 4th Street near Jones Street.


  • Mayor de Blasio, Bratton seek to improve police-community relations

    Mayor de Blasio, Bratton seek to improve police-community relations

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:47 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:47:07 GMT
    Back from vacation, Mayor Bill de Blasio is addressing the allegations of police choke holds. Standing next to his police commissioner and standing by him, de Blasio declared police community relations will improve by Bill Bratton's call for retraining of officers. The mayor did say that police choke holds are not acceptable.
    Back from vacation, Mayor Bill de Blasio is addressing the allegations of police choke holds. Standing next to his police commissioner and standing by him, de Blasio declared police community relations will improve by Bill Bratton's call for retraining of officers. The mayor did say that police choke holds are not acceptable.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices