Most of us wish our adipocytes were, in fact, out of sight, even though, truthfully they serve an important purpose. Adipocytes are lipocytes, otherwise known as fat cells.

adipocyteThey group together and form the adipose tissue that is under your skin and around your organs. Their specialty is storing energy in the form of fat and they really have your best interest in mind when they congregate in groups in the various parts of your body that you tend to complain about. 

Adipose tissue is Fat. Very few other words in the English language generate such an emotional charge. As much as we fear being fat we also consume massive amounts of unhealthy fats but balk at buying things like full fat milk. It's a quandary really. Mostly because despite what you may think; the amount and size of the fat cells in your body, both brown and white, is dependent upon so many variables it's actually mind-boggling. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that whether you have excess fat or not enough is a matter of simply calorie in calorie out and whether or not you get enough of the right kind of exercise.

It's also dependent on things like hormonal balance and stress levels; which are not only impacted by your lifestyle but also by the additives and chemicals in your foods and water. Did you know that eating food and/or drinking water that has been stored in plastic that contains "bisphenol A" (BPA) can actually contribute to an increase in your fat cells. This happens when the bisphenol A compounds combine with insulin in your system. It also contributes to other types of hormonal imbalance and which in turn, again can impact your fat cell increase. Sadly, even though these results are being demonstrated and replicated in a variety of studies, it doesn't stop the addition of these and other health zapping nasties to things you consume.

So maybe instead of outright condemning the fat on your body it could be useful to find out more about it and check into the various ways you may be accidentally adding to the adipose community.

adipose brownwhiteAdipose tissue comes in two different categories; brown adipose tissue and white adipose tissue. There is a distinct difference between white and brown fat cells. The white are called ‘unilocular’ which basically means single-chambered. They are a single cell containing triglycerides and cholesterol. Contrary to popular belief they are not just hanging around your thighs trying to make you look bad. Your adipose tissue actually serves a purpose by secreting various chemicals that result in the regulation of quite a wide variety of functions in your body. For example, the hormone leptin is secreted by your adipose cells and it is a critical component in feeling satisfied and turning off your hunger signals. Then there is the peptide apelin, which helps in the regulation of fluids and also plays a role in the satiation of hunger (among a bazillion other things). White adipose tissue also stores certain nutrients.

Brown adipose tissue is known as multilocular, which basically means, you guessed it, multi-chambered. Brown fat tends to congregate around your internal organs, mostly because it is a heat generating fat. The brown fat in your body is the same composition as the fat that can be found in hibernating animals. It’s also the same fat as baby fat; which is very necessary to keep baby healthy while their nervous system is still developing the ability to regulate body temperature and respond to cold. In a way brown fat and white fat work together to keep you well.

adipose babyAnother great example? Did you know that if you don’t consume enough fat in your diet when it’s wintertime, you could actually be stimulating an increase in the fat cells in your body? The white adipose cells attempt to store energy and nutrients so the brown adipose cells have enough to work with to keep you warm and well. (This is another reason that eating with the seasons is really in your best interest) White fat stores energy and brown fat can access and utilize that stored energy in extreme situations.

Currently, there is research being conducted at a variety of Universities on things like how to turn your white fat into brown fat and stimulate weight loss. I think this is super interesting, but I also think, maybe it could be a good thing to actually get to know your body, recognize that the adipose tissue you’re carrying around isn’t some evil invader. Initially, it begins as an attempt to do the best thing for your survival. It could be worth asking if you are working in partnership with your adipose tissue and giving your fat cells the best resources for their wellness and in turn, your wellness. Do you get enough sleep? Do you manage stress in healthy ways? Do you move your body enough (which doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym), Do you eat a wide variety of whole foods to insure you are getting appropriate nutrient density? Give your body the tools it needs to be well and it won’t let you down.