Winter Weather Can Improve Your Metabolism

Exposing yourself to cold temperatures can help you burn fat, improve your blood sugar and lose weight, according to new research.

A study published in the journal Cell found that cold weather caused shifts in the intestinal bacteria of mice, which enabled the rodents to experience beneficial outcomes related to their metabolism and weight.

"We provide compelling evidence that gut microbes play a key role in our ability to adapt to the environment by directly regulating our energy balance," said Mirko Trajkovski, senior study author from of the University of Geneva.

Gut microbes, Trajkovski said, allow humans to adapt to changes in temperature by harvesting energy from food appropriately - colder temperatures require more energy, which partially explains why fat loss was witnessed in the mice.

Brown fat and beige fat

Brown fat, which is considered a "good" fat, has been known to increase in colder temperatures, which allows the body to burn stored calories and protect against hypothermia.

Researchers found that implanting cold-induced gut bacteria into other mice who were not exposed to cold temperatures increased the formation of brown fat, improved glucose metabolism and promoted weight loss.

The study also found that after three weeks of cold exposure, body weight stabilized - suggesting that microbes respond to changes in the environment to regulate the energy balance in the body.

"We were surprised to see that gut microbes had such dramatic effects on the structure and function of the intestine," Trajkovski said.

Based on the findings, researchers suggest that certain bacteria may help to prevent obesity by changing the structure and function of the intestinal landscape.

Source: Cell Press

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