Cold for the treatment of obesity and metabolic diseases - healing practice

Cold reduces inflammation associated with obesity

Obesity, ie severe overweight, is a complex metabolic disease that causes chronic inflammation, which increases the risk of many diseases such as diabetes. According to a recent study, cold could be used as a treatment to eliminate inflammation caused by obesity.

Researchers from the Joslin Diabetes Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital (USA) recently presented a new therapeutic approach to the consequences of obesity in the famous journal "Nature Metabolism". Cold exposure is said to counteract inflammation while improving insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.

The percentage of the overweight population is increasing

In the United States, more than 40% of the adult population is already considered obese. In Germany, too, the proportion of overweight adults is constantly growing. At the same time, obesity increases the risk of common diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Obesity triggers chronic inflammation

Previous studies have shown that obesity is associated with the development of chronic inflammation. These are mainly due to an accumulation of immune cells in the insulin-sensitive fatty tissue.

One approach to preventing the adverse effects of obesity is therefore to resolve chronic inflammation in order to avoid the complications of obesity. The working group proposes in this study that the targeted use of cold could be suitable for this purpose.

Cold improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance

In obese mice, cold treatment was able to eliminate obesity-induced inflammation while improving the animals' insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.

Brown fat is activated by cold

The team was also able to decipher the mechanisms underlying this process. In addition to white fat, humans also have brown adipose tissue, sometimes referred to as "good fat."

Brown adipose tissue actively participates in metabolism

As the researchers point out, brown fat is an active endocrine organ. This means that this type of fatty tissue communicates with other tissues and secretes chemical messengers that are actively involved in the regulation of metabolism.

In this way, brown fat helps break down stored energy. Previous studies have already suggested that brown adipose tissue is a promising target for supporting weight loss and promoting metabolic health.

Cold stimulates brown adipose tissue

According to the current study, a natural molecule called maresin 2 is increasingly produced in brown adipose tissue under the influence of cold. “We found that brown fat produces maresin 2, which inhibits inflammation in the body and liver,” confirms study co-author Professor Dr. Matthieu Spit.

"These results suggest a previously unrecognized function of brown adipose tissue in promoting the resolution of inflammation in obesity through the production of this important lipid mediator," the professor said.

course of the study

In the current study, the working group fed mice a high-fat diet typical of industrialized Western countries. The animals then became obese and developed chronic inflammation.

When the animals' ambient temperature was lowered to around four degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit), the animals' insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism improved. Additionally, the mice's body weight also decreased more rapidly over time.

These improvements were not observed in a control group of animals kept at normal room temperature.

New Approach to Treating Obesity and Inflammation

According to the researchers, the effect of cold is due on the one hand to the increase in energy requirements necessary to maintain the body's core temperature and on the other hand to the activation of brown adipose tissue, which has a positive effect on metabolism.

The messenger substance maresin 2, which is increasingly released when it is cold, is therefore a promising target for clinical applications against obesity, metabolic diseases and chronic inflammation. (vb)

Author and source information

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


Sugimoto, S., Mena, HA, Sansbury, BE et al. MaR2 derived from brown adipose tissue contributes to the resolution of cold-induced inflammation; in: Nature's Metabolism (2022). , nature.comJoslin Diabetes Center: Cold temperatures may help fight obesity and related metabolic diseases by reducing inflammation, researchers say (Published: 6/27/2022),

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.