Fat cells are quirky little buggers…
They are distinctly different from many other cells in the body and metabolically speaking can do many different things. Fat cells can multiply (lipogenesis), increase in number (hyperplasia) and increase in size (adipogenesis). These are processes that cause an increase in fat. In terms of decreasing fat there are only two options- fat cells can breakdown and release their contents (lipolysis) and fat cells can die (apoptosis).
Apoptosis- how to kill your fat cells
I thought it would be interesting if today we focused our discussions on apoptosis or fat cell death. This seems like a great place to start as pretty much every client I have ever had has admitted to harboring homicidal thought towards their problem fat areas. Any person who has taken their body fat to low levels knows that fat cells are very resilient- once they have arrived pretty much the only way to get rid of them is to surgically suck them out with a hose. Only by dieting down to near starvation levels will fat cells roll over and play dead. As this is obviously not a practical solution we have to look to science for an alternative.
Recent research into fat cell death has provided some new hope for those of us who are interested in sending our fat cells into permanent retirement. In a German study, researchers looked into CLA and its impact on fat cell metabolism. The results were interesting. Researchers concluded that “the treatment of human preadipocytes and adipocytes with physiological relevant concentrations of CLAs resulted in an impairment of proliferation and differentiation and induction of apoptosis”. Yes, you read that correctly- CLA may KILL your fat cells. The research continues but it is well documented that CLA does aid in body fat reduction (either by lipolysis or apoptosis but either are acceptable).
CLA is contained within the foods many of us eat each day including beef and dairy products. It is important to note that grass fed cattle are a better source than their grain fed cousins. I recommend taking a supplemental form of CLA at a dose of 3-6 grams per day.
CLA is not the only game in town. In another German study researchers discovered that resveratrol (yes, the compound found in red wine) also induces fat cell apoptosis. Researchers studying the phytochemical noted for increasing lifespan and improving health found that it also contributed to fat cell death citing that resveratrol “primed fat cells for apoptotic depletion”. Call me crazy but I have a sneaky suspicion that you are really liking me right now…
Please dont think this justifies the bottle of pinot you had with dinner last night though. Remember, it is the resveratrol that caused apoptosis. Too much alcohol and sugar will definitely have a different effect. This is not to say that you can’t drink alcohol and still lose fat- you can if you do it the right way. I will show you how in an upcoming post. In the meantime, using a resveratrol supplement is the preferred method of delivery.
I wish there was more that could be said about permanently eliminating unwanted fat cells from your body but unfortunately the research is simply not there yet. For the time being we can only try incorporating the strategies mentioned above and then focus on the second (and most effective) way to lose body fat- lipolysis which is best achieved using diet and exercise.