No matter how many crunches you crank out for flat abs, it’s impossible to ‘spot train’ certain muscle groups to achieve the results you want.
But could scientists’ new creation allow you to zap away your most-hated flabby areas with the application of a little skin patch? The inventions application in mice looks promising.
Researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center ran a study that focused on turning white fat — the most common type that creates those curvier areas — into brown fat which is more akin to muscle.
This transfer would turn energy-storing fat into energy-burning fat, which would naturally increase your body’s metabolism.
Li Quang, one of the study’s leaders, explained in a press release that the drugs used to “promote browning” of fat aren’t new, they’re currently only available as pills of injections.
“[Traditional methods] exposes the whole body to the drugs, which can lead to side effects such as stomach upset, weight gain and bone fractures,” Quang explained. “Our skin patch appears to alleviate these complications by delivering most drugs directly to fat tissue.”
The patch works as the “browning” drugs are put into nanoparticles, then loaded into a centimeter-square patch that contains dozens of microscopic needles. These needles will painlessly pierce the skin when the patch is applied, releasing the drug to the targeted tissue around the midsection.
So far, though, the patch has only been tested in mice, so the version for humans may work a bit differently.
To test the invention, researchers loaded the patches with two different drugs and applied them to obese mice on one side of their bodies. In the end, mice who were patched with either drug had a 20 percent reduction in fat on the side with the patch.
Though the patched still have a way to go before you see them on the market, Quang and the research team understand the excitement that comes from this less invasive fix for eliminating stubborn fat.
"Many people will no doubt be excited to learn that we may be able to offer a non-invasive alternative to liposuction for reducing love handles," he said.
Until then, you’ll have to stick to the old fashioned methods of diet and exercise.