Meet Irisin: The Fat-Burning Exercise Hormone!

We’ve already heard diet and exercise are the way to keep weight in check, but to be specific, your WORKOUT may be the real game changer when it comes to shredding extra fat.

A hormone called Irisin has been dubbed the “exercise hormone” because it’s released during moderate aerobic endurance activity  when your cardiorespiratory system is engaged and you’re exerting your muscles.

How Does Irisin Burn Fat?

Research published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism showed irisin activates certain genes and a protein that transforms calorie-storing white fat into active, more desirable brown fat. Second, irisin appears to prevent fatty tissue from forming in the first place.

When the researchers tested fat tissue samples, they found irisin had the ability to decrease the number of mature fat cells by 20 to 60% when compared to a control group.

Researchers compared fat cells collected from female study participants both before and after exposure to irisin and found that five times as many of the irisin-exposed cells contained a protein known for its ability to torch fat.

Increase Your Irisin Levels

The results from this research further illustrate the importance of exercise for managing obesity. Simple lifestyle changes, such as adding a brisk daily walk or biking instead of driving to do errands, could be the key to staying trim while improving heart health. A more intense exercise regimen (regular spin classes, for example) could be your ticket to taking fat metabolism to a new level.

And with that, I'm off to kickboxing class to create some irisin :)


Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods



Yang et al. Irisin exerts dual effects on browning and adipogensis of human white adipocytes. Amer J of Phys - Endocrinology and Metabolism. Published 19 August 2016 Vol. 311 no. 2, E530-E541.

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