T Nation

Fat Cells

Yo,

I know i could answer this using the internet but thought i would ask you guys.

Here goes this girl told me that you never actually lose fat cells they only shrink and thats why people appear slimmer when they lose weight. Is there any truth to what she says? I think she’s full of S!*t but need some ammo to prove her wrong.

She is right actually. You can gain fat cells but the existing fat cells do not go away but they do shrink.

Yeah, apparently. However, it may not be impossible to lose fat cells either though.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Yeah, apparently. However, it may not be impossible to lose fat cells either though.[/quote]

Unless you get them sucked out, they are with you for life. That is one reason you should avoid obesity in the first place. The body usually only gains new fat cells during childhood, possibly during puberty, or due to an EXTREME increase in body weight and fat gain. Other than that, few should be worried about gaining new fat cells and more worried about filling out the ones they have. A fat cell is nothing but a storage bag for fat. If there is less fat on the individual, the cells are more empty and take up little space. If that same person gains 30lbs of fat, all of the fat cells they have are more filled out.

Well, there is research going on in this area, but I don’t know if or when it might be relevant to the general public…

The following summary discusses the role TNF-alpha plays in modulating adipocytes including induction of apoptosis (in humans).

http://journals.endocrinology.org/joe/177/0351/1770351.pdf

Here’s a summary which talks in general about cytokines, including TNF-alpha and their role in adipose regulation (again, primarily in humans).

http://hermia.ingentaselect.com/vl=5795629/cl=35/nw=1/rpsv/cgi-bin/cgi?body=linker&ini=nlm&reqidx=issn=0029-6651vl=60is=3yr=2001mn=Augpg=349

So, theoretically, I’d say that adipocytes can die off, but that they don’t seem to do so very often under normal circumstances. Can we safely encourage them to do so? Maybe via something that is topically administered on areas with subcutaneous fat pads? I have no idea as of yet.

This is a job for someone with a much bigger brainpan than I.

You know, I can’t help but think maybe sprinters have found a way to do this… given the levels of musculature and leanness they exhibit.

Perhaps the body recognizes the need for maximal speed and exertion (being chased by predators for example) and there is a survival advantage in such cases if fat stores can be reduced.

Maybe we can put that damned survival mindset to advantage for a change!

Heh, just letting my “scientific curiosity” run rampant… :wink:

[quote]vroom wrote:
You know, I can’t help but think maybe sprinters have found a way to do this… given the levels of musculature and leanness they exhibit.

Perhaps the body recognizes the need for maximal speed and exertion (being chased by predators for example) and there is a survival advantage in such cases if fat stores can be reduced.

Maybe we can put that damned survival mindset to advantage for a change!

Heh, just letting my “scientific curiosity” run rampant… ;)[/quote]

dream on… Have you ever competed? The leaness has nothing to do with ‘speed and survival’.

it’s true, fat cells are like muscle fibers

you’re born with a set number of them, and they only get larger or smaller

that means you might NEVER go under 5% bodyfat or you may never have huge arms

[quote]vroom wrote:
Well, there is research going on in this area, but I don’t know if or when it might be relevant to the general public…

The following summary discusses the role TNF-alpha plays in modulating adipocytes including induction of apoptosis (in humans).

http://journals.endocrinology.org/joe/177/0351/1770351.pdf

Here’s a summary which talks in general about cytokines, including TNF-alpha and their role in adipose regulation (again, primarily in humans).

http://hermia.ingentaselect.com/vl=5795629/cl=35/nw=1/rpsv/cgi-bin/cgi?body=linker&ini=nlm&reqidx=issn=0029-6651vl=60is=3yr=2001mn=Augpg=349

So, theoretically, I’d say that adipocytes can die off, but that they don’t seem to do so very often under normal circumstances. Can we safely encourage them to do so? Maybe via something that is topically administered on areas with subcutaneous fat pads? I have no idea as of yet.

This is a job for someone with a much bigger brainpan than I.[/quote]

I skimmed through much of that, but apoptosis through the targeting of the tumor necrosis factor has not yet been specified to individual cells even though I believe they are very close as far as cancer research. What I mean is, technology like this would be targeted at CANCER long before it is used to get rid of fat cells. It may happen in the future given the advancements of science in that area, but as of now, you can’t go to the doctor and get your fat cells targeted to die off.

vroom I thought you were a computer guy… what the hell are you doing reading journals?! lol

TNF is not something you want elevated, as it’s uber catabolic to muscle and causes insulin resistance. In other words: BAD STUFF.

If you want hardcore theoretical science for fat loss, check out IL-6 (related to TNF).

Cheers

Heh, but that’s where the info is! :wink:

Seriously though, unless it was dangerously unhealthy, I suspect a lot of fat or former fat people would sacrifice a couple pounds of muscle to dump a sizeable quantity of fat cells.

Anyway, thanks for the pointer, I’ll go PubMed’ing for a while. It would be even better to find a way to zap those bastard fat cells (through nutrition or other means) without having to suffer negative consequences.

HMMMM, Now once i talk to her about this I’m going ot feel like a complete idiot. HAHA I should’nt have spoken so soon.
This explains why people that are severely overweight who lose a ton of weight still have all that excess skin right?? Does the Skin ever shrink back or is that the same concept as the fat cells??

[quote]Drewdown wrote:
HMMMM, Now once i talk to her about this I’m going ot feel like a complete idiot. HAHA I should’nt have spoken so soon.
This explains why people that are severely overweight who lose a ton of weight still have all that excess skin right?? Does the Skin ever shrink back or is that the same concept as the fat cells?? [/quote]

Skin shrinkage has to do with the age of the individual and exactly how much weight was lost. Lee Priest would regularly gain over 80lbs over his contest weight and had no problems with his skin. If he had gained an extra 50-100lbs on top of that, he MAY have had problems there and then mostly if he was over the age of 35 and didn’t take very good care of himself. Skin elasticity decreases with age.

Drewdown, Prof X nailed it… just explain the concept of shrinkage to her… :confused: