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Brown Fat (Skinny Mice); White Fat (Fat Mice).

Posted on December 4, 2014

Researchers in China believe they have found the dieting Holy Grail in a native plant extract that holds the key to burning fat without having to exercise – but it might not be entirely safe.

Berberine is a bitter-tasting plant alkaloid that has a long history of medicinal use in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. . . .

Guang Ning and his team at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine recently found that berberine  helps weight control in obese mice by both activating brown fat and helping turn ordinary white fat brown, reports New Scientist.

Brown fat, which was only first discovered in 2009, is a type of fat that burns calories by turning energy into heat. Since its discovery, researchers have been trying to find ways to increase brown fat activity so that people can lose weight without exercise.

Ning’s team gave the mice berberine every three days for a month. Scans of the mice showed that the brown fat between the shoulder blades burned more calories than  in the mice not given berberine. There were also signs that the white fat in their groin had begun to act like brown fat. As a result, the mice that were fed a high-fat diet actually had better control over their weight.

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