Patches placed on the body are an innovative, effective way to disperse medicinal treatment into the body. Some of the oldest existing records of man expressed use of transdermal patches to treat ailments and promote healing. Now, scientists are experimenting with patches that may actually dissolve fat!

Feel the Burn

Researchers have been experimenting with safe ways to treat the effects of obesity in a variety of ways. Horrifically, in 2015, more than 700 million people were classified as obese, with over 2 billion reported grossly overweight. Obesity leads to cardiovascular disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.

Obese and overweight bodies contain pockets of unhealthy, white fat. A process, called browning, converts white fat to brown fat. Browning happens when, for example, the fat is exposed to very cold temperatures. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have conducted experiments on mice using medicated patches to convert pockets of white fat into brown.

The Benefits of Brown

Brown fat cells produce heat and burn energy. White fat cells store calories and create unhealthy pockets in many places around the body. “Love handles” are basically a pouch of white fat cells.

Brown fat is pretty recognizable in babies. In adults, it’s difficult to detect the brown cells because they often mix-in with the white; however, those with lower BMI’s (body mass indexes) tend to have more visible mitochondria-packed, brown fat cells.

Brown fat has the ability to burn calories and increase metabolism. It’s for these reasons scientists have been trying to find various ways of drawing upon these particular fat cells to combat obesity. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have recently designed a skin patch that converts white fat cells to brown.

Fat-Reduction Experimentation

This particular study out of Columbia University, published in the journal ASC Nano, was conducted on mice. Medicated patches placed strategically on white-fat-cell areas “browned” most of the cells. The fat in the intended areas (where the patch was placed) burned the white cells and transformed them. This is a remarkable step in the possibility of manipulating cell transformation.

The not-so-positive take-away from this experimentation is that, quite often, animal study results are not often replicated in human studies. Co-leader and cell biology expert LiQiang explained that there are already drugs that promote browning. The problem is that they affect the entire body, not just the intended area. The side effects from these injections can cause bone fractures and even weight gain. Focusing on the specific areas of accumulated white fat cells is the key. A patch may the most effective and safe form of browning implementation.

Regardless of the promising success this patch may have, it is still incredibly important to self-monitor food intake. The quantity and quality of the foods and drinks we ingest affect our overall wellbeing. An unhealthy diet increases our risk of heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even premature death.

For tips on leading a healthy lifestyle (which includes clean eating), check out our other reported research on!