Skip to comments.Fat Cells Are Sensitive to Sunlight
Posted on 02/01/2018 10:56:14 AM PST by nickcarraway
fatcells A study by University of Alberta researchers has shown the fat cells that lie just beneath our skin shrink when exposed to the blue light emitted by the sun.
When the suns blue light wavelengthsthe light we can see with our eyepenetrate our skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid droplets reduce in size and are released out of the cell. In other words, our cells dont store as much fat, says Peter Light, PhD, senior author of the study, who is a professor of pharmacology and the director of UAlbertas Alberta Diabetes Institute, in a release. If you flip our findings around, the insufficient sunlight exposure we get 8 months of the year living in a northern climate may be promoting fat storage and contribute to the typical weight gain some of us have over winter.
Light cautions the finding is only an initial observation and that pursuing exposure to sunlight is not a safe or recommended way to lose weight.
For example, we dont yet know the intensity and duration of light necessary for this pathway to be activated, he says.
However, he added the novel discovery opens up new avenues of future scientific exploration which could some day lead to pharmacological or light-based treatments for obesity and other related health issues such as diabetes.
Maybe this mechanism contributes to setting the number of fat cells we produce in childhoodthought to stay with us into adulthood, he says.
Obviously, there is a lot of literature out there suggesting our current generation will be more overweight than their parents and maybe this feeds into the debate about what is healthy sunshine exposure.
The researchers made the discovery while investigating how to bioengineer fat cells to produce insulin in response to light to help Type 1 diabetes patients.
It was serendipitous, says Light, adding that his name is an ironic coincidence since light was not his primary field of research. We noticed the reaction in human tissue cells in our negative control experiments, and since there was nothing in the literature, we knew it was important to investigate further.
Based on the finding, the fat cells we store near our skin may be a peripheral biological clock, says Light.
Its early days, but its not a giant leap to suppose that the light that regulates our circadian rhythm, received through our eyes, may also have the same impact through the fat cells near our skin.
He explains that the molecular pathway they discovered was first identified as being activated by the eye when exposed to the blue wavelengths in sunlight.
Thats why you are not supposed to look at digital devices before bed because they emit the same blue light the sun does, that signals us to wake up, he says. Well, perhaps that pathwayexposure to sunlight that directs our sleep-wake patternsmay also act in a sensory manner, setting the amount of fat humans burn depending on the season. You gain weight in the winter, and then burn it off in the summer.
This could be evolutionary process, supported by the fact that unlike many other mammals, our fat is spread out all over our bodies just underneath our skin, he says.
Our initial first observation certainly holds many fascinating clues for our team and others around the world to explore, he says.
The principal author of the Scientific Reports (by Nature) paper is Lights student Katarina Ondrusova and the second author is Lights research associate Mohammad Fatehi.
I know a few Polynesians who’d dispute this.
How is it that brain cells die, but fat cells live forever?
I don't think so, Tim...................
Is that why there are so many role-poly sun bathers?
I wonder if the red/blue shift as we approach and move away from the sun each year is detectable?
My guess is yes, but I’ve never seen any research on it.
I suspect our bodies can sense spring is coming from that. I swear I feel like I can.
What if you feel better in cold weather and shun the hot sun?
when exposed to the blue light emitted by the sunWell, that sounds easy -- but then I remember the words of Al Bundy, when confronted by a large woman who wants to get that all-over tan:
you're asking a lot of the Sun.
Al Bundy - at least I’m not him.
twerkin’ atop the ruins of western civilization.
Promoting fat storage in winter's probably a survival adaptation...
There are worse things out tonight than vampires.
“Light” would make this finding.
“This must be what my horoscope meant by ‘Kaboom!’”
Well peel my skin and call me Bean Pole. Sign me up!
Didn’t I see one of those lights on the back of a comic book ?
Now, now. You will get the FR chubbo lovers all excited. No need for “more cheesburgers” here.
then you build up fat cells to insulate you, and avoid the sun which would shrink them.
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