Fat-Busting Cells Only Work If You're Not Obese

Not good news for people trying to lose weight

Well, this is just frustrating; a research team at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland has found that immune cells iNKT help to regulate body weight and metabolism, meaning your immune system is working to keep you heatlhy. That's the good news.

The bad news? iNKT cells are lost when humans become obese, the researchers say, which might explain why it's harder to lose weight.

Of course, if you do succeed at weight loss, the iNKT cells are replenished; after bariatric surgery in a group of obese patients, iNKT cells were replenished. So basically, iNKT cells are only there to maintain weight; gain weight and they're gone.

Luckily, the team also discovered that a certain lipid called alpha-galactosylceramide (aGC) does help metabolism, weight loss, and fatty liver disease, but diet and exercise might be your standard best bet. When examining a group of mice, researchers found that after maintaining a normal diet, obese mice lost weight and replenished their fat-kicking immune cells.

"Similar to the human subjects we had previously studied, the animals lost their iNKT cells when they became obese," study author Lydia Lynch said. "Once we took them off this diet and put them back on a normal standard-fat diet, they lost the weight — and their iNKT cells increased." Doesn't mean it's easy, but it can be done.