Instead of sitting idly by, waiting for a famine or a jog, fat cells continuously send dozens of potent chemical signals to tissues throughout the body, including the brain, liver, muscles, reproductive organs and immune system. These chemicals orchestrate a host of activities which may increase our risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and premature death.
In recent studies, evidence has shown that fat tissue -- far from being a dormant storage depot for surplus calories -- is actually an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body with profound and sometimes harmful effects to your body. Fat seems to have an infinite capacity to make more of itself.
Scientists are reporting discovery of 20 new hormones and other previously unknown substances secreted into the blood by human fat cells. The new findings could pave the way for a better understanding of the role that hormone-secreting fat cells play in heart disease, diabetes and other diseases, in addition to other body-regulating mechanisms.
Among those hormones is leptin, which controls appetite, and adiponectin, which makes the body more sensitive to insulin and controls blood sugar levels.