Summer is a pretty sexy time, but there’s nothing like getting it on when the weather turns cold to bash away those winter blues. Now, according to a new study published in Nature Medicine, there’s another reason to cuddle up when it’s cold outside, and it has nothing to do with staying warm.
By analyzing the the DNA methylome and RNA sequencing of the sperm from male mice and the CT scans of 8,400 adults, researchers were able to find that those who conceived in colder weather had offspring that were more metabolically healthy than those conceived in the summer months. The primary reason for this is that, in both mice and humans, there seems to be a link between exposure to the cold and the enhanced formation of brown adipose tissue (BAT), which is better known as brown fat.
Unlike white fat, brown fat is often known as “good fat” since it helps us burn calories rather than store them. Unlike white fat, it also doesn’t contribute to heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. There’s not a whole lot of it in the human body, and most of it resides under the tongue, around the collarbone, and along the spine. Newborns possess more brown fat than adults, but it decreases after infancy. By producing more brown fat in our offspring at conception, we stand a chance of giving birth to kids that find it easier to maintain a low BMI for their whole lives.
“Taken together, our results indicate that in humans and in mice, seasonal or experimental CE induces an epigenetic programming of the sperm such that the offspring harbor hyperactive BAT and an improved adaptation to over-nutrition and hypothermia,” the study concluded.
If you don’t want to go the sex route, you can also generate more brown fat by getting a good night of sleep, exercising, or being exposed to the cold. Which is one of the many reasons that working out in the wintertime is so good for you.
While further research needs to be conducted on the subject, the results are promising. Especially since the findings corroborate with previous research that found that people who live in colder climates tend to have more brown fat.
“Until now, the assumption was that this had something to do with the temperatures people experienced during their lifetime. But our observations suggest that temperatures prior to conception might also affect later levels of brown fat,” Christian Wolfrum, an Associate Professor of the Institute of Food Nutrition and Health at the ETH Zurich and one of the authors of the study, said. He also added that prolonged exposure to the cold is likely necessary for your child to reap the genetic benefits of being conceived in a chillier climate.
“Taking a plunge in cold water or spending a short time lying on a block of ice probably won’t be enough,” he said.
For more fascinating coverage of your body, know that This Is Where Fat Goes When You Lose Weight.
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