Purpose: Brown adipose tissue (BAT) contributes to the regulation of non-shivering thermogenesis and adiposity. Increasing BAT has recently attracted much attention as a countermeasure to obesity. Animal studies have shown that prolonged catechin treatment increases uncoupling protein 1, a thermogenic protein in BAT. On the other hand, supportable evidence in human is lacking. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine whether BAT increases after catechin ingestion in humans.
Methods: Twenty-two healthy young women were given either a catechin-rich (540 mg/day; catechin) or placebo beverage every day for 12 weeks in a double-blind design. BAT density was measured using near-infrared time-resolved spectroscopy (NIRTRS), visceral fat area were measured using magnetic resonance imaging, extramyocellular lipids (EMCL) using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and body fat mass using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans.
Results: BAT density was significantly increased (18.8 %), and EMCL was decreased (17.4 %) after the 12-week ingestion. There was a significant negative correlation between the changes in BAT density and those in EMCL (r = -0.66, P < 0.05). There were no notable changes in other parameters.
Conclusions: In conclusion, prolonged ingestion of a catechin-rich beverage increases the BAT density in parallel with a decrease in EMCL.
Keywords: Brown adipose tissue (BAT); Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS); Noninvasive.