Irisin the Messenger Goddess of Brown Fat

Posted on January 12, 2012


Phew, Lady Sisyphus can stop now.  According to news reports, scientists have isolated an exercise hormone. Surely a pill (to be taken in lieu of exercise) is just around the bend!

Okay, it’s not that simple. But it is intriguing. (And it has to do with another mythological character, Iris!)

Scientists have known since 2009 that we possess both white and brown fat.  They’ve also known that people who possess more brown fat tend to be healthier and avoid heart disease and diabetes. Now they are closer to knowing why. The newly discovered hormone, Irisin, appears to turn our yucky no-good white fat into a more desirable calorie-burning brown fat.

What turns on the Irisin hormone? Exercise. As the theory goes, exercise prompts muscle cells to talk lazy white fat cells into becoming active brown fat cells. Irisin, is the messenger goddess of fat! Luckily, she only brings glad tidings.

Here’s a link to a blog by NY Times health reporter Gretchen Williams:

Until that exercise pill is available, I am off to get my Irisin on!