How To Get Your Fat Cells To Open Up and Release Your Stored Fat (and get smaller)
By Kevin DiDonato MS, CES--Level 1 Certified Precision Nutrition and Certified Personal Trainer
Fat cells are pretty amazing and, I know this will surprise you, but they can be your best friend!
That's right - you should start to embrace your fat cells right now.
Previously, you learned what fat cells are (its an endocrine organ), and what exactly a sick fat cell is (dysfunctional fat cell), but you also learned how your body splits and burns fat cells (lipolysis) obliterating them forever.
But there is more to it! Let's see how an adipocyte releases a fat cell to be processed in the first place.
If you want to give your metabolism a boost (your metabolism is a KEY to losing weight and keeping it off), two things, and just two things, MUST happen.
First, you need to be able to stimulate your fat cells to releases hormones. These hormones may fat acids to be released, enabling them to be split and sent to the bloodstream to be used for energy.
And second, once these fatty acids are released into your blood, the fatty acids are shuttled into muscles and other cells to be used for energy.
You also know that epinephrine and norepinephrine, once produced, bind to the surface of your cells. But what do they bind to? Answer: β-receptor cells.
β-Adrenergic Receptor Cells
The stimulation of lipolysis in the adipose tissue requires communication from a lot of different parties.
As you have learned in the past, lipolysis is the breakdown of fatty acids that starts with the help of many different processes.
First, your body produces epinephrine and norepinephrine that causes a reaction to occur in the body. This causes blood to be rerouted from non-essential organs to your muscle tissue.
When this occurs, it stimulates the release of both sugar and fatty acids that ultimately get shuttled into your muscles.
You may also see a slight increase in your blood pressure and heart rate, which is a response by the fight-or-flight system on your body.
When this system is activated, massive amounts of nutrients (sugar and fat) are released from your liver, fat cells ,and of course, your muscle.
The epinephrine binds to the surface of your cell, which then stimulates the β3 receptor cells. This leads to a production of adenylate cyclase, which may increase intracellular levels of cAMP which increases the PKA levels in your cell.
Simply put, the binding of epinephrine and norepinephrine creates a cascade of events that eventually leads to the start of lipolysis.
Now, when it comes to the B-cells, there is something you need to understand: They are NOT found on your fat cells.
Instead, they are found in the bladder, gallbladder, and on brown adipose tissue!
These B-cells may stimulate vasodilation (relaxation), which could allow for more blood and nutrients to flow to areas of the body that need it the most.
The main job or function of the B-cells is to start the process of lipolysis and thermogenesis in both brown and white fat cells.
Brown Adipose Tissue and Thermogenesis
When you were a baby, you had a lot of brown adipose tissue (otherwise known as brown fat). The main responsibility of brown fat is to maintain the internal temperature of muscles through shivering and non-shivering thermogenesis.
This type of tissue is unique--and quite a bit different--from adipose tissue due to its makeup and some other special things it can do.
Brown adipose tissue also has β-adrenergic cells in its makeup.
However, brown fat also possesses more mitochondria, which may help trap and burn fatty acids for energy.
Brown fat also has a greater capacity for utilizing fatty acids because it lacks the storage capacity for fatty acids! Less fat storage=more fat used=more fat lost!
One other function of brown fat is to keep the body warm through the process of thermogenesis. How is this different?
Well, most cells use ATP in order to fuel most cellular functions. But brown fat does not require ATP due to its unique cellular makeup.
Since there are a lot of mitochondria found in brown fat, they fatty acids are able to move straight in the brown fat (and associated mitochondria) in order to increase thermogenesis and burn more fat calories!
Citrus Aurantium and Stimulation of β-cells
There is a type of extract commonly derived from citrus fruit that studies have shown may boost your weight loss.
The extract just happens to be citrus aurantium! Now, remember when ephedra was the weight loss supplement of choice?
Well, it just so happened that ephedra carried some nasty side effects and was then pulled by the FDA for safety reasons, only to be released a few years later (but hasn’t done very well since).
During the time when ephedra was off the market, people were looking for an alternative to boosting metabolism and weight loss without the side effects.
That’s why citrus aurantium become popular!
Citrus aurantium is considered a natural beta adrenergic agonist, which means it could stimulate your β-cells to do its job. This powerful nutrient has many adrenergic amines which can increase metabolism, stimulate lipolysis, and allow more amino acid to be used by skeletal muscles.
However, bitter orange and blood pressure has been one area of concern. One side effect of ephedra was a noticeable increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
And a component in bitter orange, synephrine, just so happened to closely matched ephedra in chemical structure.
People started to fear that there would be a similar increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Therefore, supplements were running into the same problems that ephedra faced.
However, to put your mind at ease, research done by Seifert et al. determined bitter orange does not raise blood pressure or heart rate, but instead, did increase resting metabolic rate and fat oxidation (breakdown) in certain populations.
Recent research found similar conclusions as Seifert! Research done by Stohs et al. determined bitter orange containing p-synephrine (Advantra Z), appeared to be safe and had no adverse reactions linked to its use.
Also, the study authors mentioned millions of people consume citrus-related products which contain synephrine (Advantra Z) with no reported adverse effects to date.
So how does it work?
When β-adrenergic agonist is introduced, it stimulates cells to begin the process of lipolysis. Research by Fisher et al. determined prolonged exposure to β-agonists increased fat oxidation and adipocyte activation, but it also increased energy expenditure through brown adipose tissue.
The theory behind the brown adipose tissue happens to be the increased activation of a specialized molecule found in the mitochondria. By increasing the activation of uncoupling protein 1, it may uncouple oxidative phosphorylation, therefore boosting energy expenditure.
They also determined acute exposure to β-agonists results in increase lipolysis and elevated metabolic rate.
To sum it up...
β-adrenergic cells are activated by hormones, which can be secreted by adipose tissue and adrenal glands, starting the process of lipolysis. β-cells are found in adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue in both adults and infants. Both tissues, when stimulated, begin the process of breaking down fatty acids for increased metabolic rate and lipolysis (adipose tissue) and increase energy expenditure, which increases thermogenesis (brown fat) in the body.
Citrus aurantium (Advantra Z) can increase metabolic rate, thermogenesis in brown fat, and adds appetite suppression, leading to feeling full and satisfied after a meal. Citrus aurantium is safe and effective for losing weight and increases metabolism with no reported increases in blood pressure and heart rate.