Published on June 3, 2021
It surprises a lot of people to know that we have fat cells in our bone marrow. In fact, bone marrow fat cells comprise the largest population of cells in the bone marrow cavity, and is considered to be the third largest fat depot, after subcutaneous fat (under the skin) and visceral fat (stored in a person’s abdominal cavity and also known as “active fat” because it influences how hormones function in the body).
Bone marrow fat (adipose tissue) develops steadily after birth and accumulates rapidly during puberty such that, by the time we reach adulthood, it can comprise up to 70% of bone marrow volume—representing over 8% of total fat mass!
Bone marrow fat acts as a metabolically active organ and plays an active role in energy storage, endocrine function, bone metabolism, and the bone metastasis of tumors.
Men have higher bone marrow fat than women, but it increases with aging for both sexes and with menopause.