The Temperature of Your Shower Can Help You Lose Weight & More…
By TLB Contributor: PAUL FASSA
The Temperature of Your Shower Can Help You Lose Weight & More…
Have you heard the good news? Cold showers activate brown fat or BAT (brown adipose tissue). Research indicates that cold showers are an easy and inexpensive way to convert static white fat or stored body fat into dynamic, thermogenic brown fat, which exists solely to burn calories for heat energy. Surprisingly and thankfully brown fat doesn’t require muscular activity to burn calories, only short exposures to cold temperatures are needed to set it off.
FORGET BIG PHARMA
As I write this, Big Pharma is scurrying to patent an expensive, no-doubt side-effect laden pharmaceutical that can increase brown fat concentrations in humans and act as a treatment for obesity, diabetes, diseases of aging and much more. Forget Big Pharma, you can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home. Studies suggest the most natural way to increase our brown fat stores is via cold showering.
A COUNTER-INTUITIVE APPROACH TO WEIGHT LOSS
A COLD CASE STUDY
Ray Cronise didn’t set out to investigate the effects of cold on weight loss—he just wanted to find a way to drop pounds, fast. Caloric restriction and cardio had worked for him in the past, but Cronise was getting impatient with his usual methods. Here’s how he added cold to his diet regimen and lost 27 pounds in six weeks, tripling his previous rate of weight loss. —Katie M. Palmer
THE BAT EFFECT
Scientists are beginning to understand how cold affects metabolism, but they’re still not sure which mechanisms really kick your calorie-burning engine into overdrive. One variable is brown adipose tissue, which converts energy from food directly into heat. After a chilly dip in a pool, two people with different levels of active BAT will both get a metabolic boost—but the person with higher levels typically burns even more calories, as shown here. —K.M.P.
When exposed to cold for two hours, a man with relatively little active BAT burned 35 more calories per hour than usual. (If you keep up that rate all day, staying cool could net you an extra burger or a skipped workout.) In people with little or no BAT, this extra burn likely comes from skeletal muscle, which produces heat both before and after you start to shiver.
But a man with a lot of active BAT increased his energy expenditure even more after cold exposure, burning an extra 68 calories per hour (two burgers!). The more BAT you have, generally the more calories you’ll burn when exposed to cold, as the tissue’s mitochondria convert caloric energy into heat instead of energy that can be stored as fat. – Illustration: Christoph Neimann
According to a 2014 article posted at ABC Australia entitled, Cold shower may be secret to burning fat, research reveals:
“One of the researchers, endocrinologist Dr Paul Lee from Sydney’s Garvan Institute has been taking cold showers for six years as part of his work on brown fat.
While white fat stores excessive calories which can lead to obesity, brown fat burns energy off.
Both are in our bodies and white can be converted into the good brown fat.
Dr Lee has just returned from two years at the National Institute of Health in Washington which delved into the theory that cold exposure increases brown fat activity.”
BROWN FAT VS WHITE FAT
Brown fat is abundant in newborns and infants, but it gradually declines with age probably due to insufficient cold stimulation. Interestingly, women have twice as much brown fat as men.
Too much white fat results in obesity and increases the risk factor for serious disease. In contrast, brown fat is a dynamic fat that burns calories in order to heat and maintain body temperature, which can boost weight loss. Activating brown fat could potentially prove to be very beneficial for those with metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
WHAT MAKES BROWN FAT UNIQUE
Brown fat is richly composed of specialized fat cells that contain high concentrations of mitochondria, which is the key to cellular energy production. The mitochondria convert glucose via oxidation to an energy source or fuel that cells can utilize. This conversion process is known as cellular respiration; the end product is ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), a specific and unique molecule that cells require for energy.
But the mitochondria story doesn’t end there. They are also involved in a broad spectrum of additional critical functions such as “signalling, cellular differentiation, cell death, as well as the control of the cell division cycle and cell growth.
Studies from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands and centers in Finland and Sweden confirmed some facts about brown fat:
-Brown fat decreases with age.
-Obese people have less brown fat than lean people.
-Brown fat is activated by spending just a little time in a chilly environment.
The Scandinavian researchers noted that “exposure to chilly temperatures caused a 15-fold increase in the metabolic rate of brown fat in their healthy adult volunteers.”
BOOST IMMUNITY WITH COLD SHOWERS
If you value your health, turn your cold water tap on high and dive in. Studies indicate that cold showers boost the immune system.
“This is probably one of the most well-known benefits of cold showers. According to medical research, repeated exposure to the cold enhances the body’s immunity and improves survival rates in people afflicted with certain health conditions, such as non-lymphoid cancers, tumors, chronic pain, heart problems, and infections. This is possible because a sudden ‘coldness’ activates the sympathetic nervous system, stimulates cellular immunity, and increases the penetrability of the blood-brain barrier.”
A study from England found that daily cold showers effectively increase the white blood cell count as compared to people who took hot showers. White blood cells (WBCs), or leukocytes (also spelled “leucocytes”), are specialized defender cells of the immune system. They protect the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials.
“According to a German study, an occasional winter swim in cold water causes oxidative stress, but, done regularly, such swimming leads to an adaptive antioxidant response; in other words, the body is better able to combat oxidative stress in general once it’s accustomed to cold-water swims.”
Warning: Never take a cold shower immediately after a very long and exhausting session of physical exercise, while under the influence of alcohol (it can cause fainting), or if your blood- sugar level is low, or right after meals. An empty stomach is best.
How many Americans would put their baby outside in the freezing cold weather for their afternoon nap? Not many! Yet, in Nordic countries it’s widely practiced and believed to confer health benefits.
In Sweden, it’s common to see babies napping outdoors in sub-zero temperatures. The proponents of this practice say these babies are typically more resistant to disease compared to non-cold napping babies.
“In Siberia, they take it one step further and dump a whole bucket of cold water over children’s heads in a ritual called Rodnichok or cold springs. They do this year-round for children between the ages of two and six. Again, this is in Siberia. These kids are tough. It’s been shown that about 95% of the kids who participate are healthy through the flu season. On the other hand, only 75% of the children who don’t participate in this ritual stay flu-free.” http://www.satenaw.com/the-
DEEPER BREATHING GREATER OXYGEN UPTAKE
After taking a cold shower you’ll notice a change in your breathing. In an effort to deal with the shock and stress of the sudden, cold water the nervous and respiratory system react. The nervous system deeply relaxes while the lungs respond by opening fully to increase oxygen uptake and breathing deepens.
“Cold showers can get you to breathe deeply by forcing you to pause and hold your breath as a sort of automatic reaction when the cold water hits. This helps open up your lungs (just like physical exercise does), bringing in more oxygen.”
This video features Dr. KP Buteyko, MD, PhD, an author of the legendary Buteyko breathing method. He taught about 200 Soviet and Russian medical doctors how to safely apply cold shower in order to increase body oxygenation. (This breathing method is officially approved by the Russian Ministry of Health for treatment of asthma and heart disease.
Researcher Nikolai A. Shevchuk believes cold showers could be effective in treating clinical depression. In his medical hypothesis, Adapted Cold Shower as a Potential Treatment for Depression , he proposed that many cases of depression are caused by a lack of “thermal exercise”.
“… According to Shevchuk (2008), brief exposure to cold water alone has numerous psychological and physiological benefits in humans, including “activating the sympathetic nervous system; increasing the blood level; and increasing the production of beta-endorphins, which are known to produce a sense of well being…”-
While working in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Shevchuk stated that “short, cold showers may stimulate the blue spot, which is the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline — a chemical that could help mediate depression.”
He added, “The possible antidepressant effect may also have to do with the mild electroshock delivered to the brain by a cold shower, because of the unusually high density of cold receptors in the skin.” In fact, nerve endings that register cold are 3-10 times higher in density than those registering warmth.
Shevchuk advises checking with your doctor prior to starting the treatment. His recommended protocol is to take a cold shower — “around 68 degrees — for 2 to 3 minutes once or twice daily, preceded by a five-minute gradual adaptation to the temperature.”
Additional recommendations, historical references and guidelines for using cold showers to treat depression HERE
Dr. Carly Wendler’s Contrast Shower Protocol
At the end of your shower turn the temperature to as hot as you can comfortably stand for 1 minute, directing the spray at your desired area of treatment.
Turn the temperature to as cold as you can comfortable stand for 30 seconds (the ratio of hot to cold should be 2:1; you can modify the time to suit your needs).
Repeat for 2 more cycles (for a total of 3).
Always finish with cold.
NOTE: If you decide to experiment with therapeutic cold showers you definitely need to invest in a good shower filter that removes chlorine and a host of other toxic chemicals found in our water supply. Surprisingly, these chemicals are more harmful consumed via a shower than in your drinking water. Here’s why and some information on reasonably priced shower heads with good filters. http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/how-do-shower-filters-protect-your-health/
WHAT A COLD SHOWER CAN DO FOR YOU
Here’s an intriguing list enumerating the benefits of cold showers by Alexa Fleckenstein, M.D., author of Health2O.
1. Enhance immunity against infections and cancer
2. Give your glands (thyroid, adrenals, ovaries/testes) a boost, improving hormonal activity
3. Jump-start your mood and motivation
4. Crank up your metabolism to fight type 2 diabetes, obesity, gout, rheumatic diseases, depression, and more
5. Normalize your blood pressure
6. Decrease chronic pain
7. Train and improve your blood circulation
8. Detoxify your body
9. Fight fatigue
10. Strengthen exhausted, irritable nerves
11. Rejuvenate, heal, and tone the skin
12. Deepen your breathing
13. Help with insomnia
14. Improve kidney function
15. Reduce swelling and edema
16. Improve lymphatic circulation, thereby increasing immune function
17. Reduce stress by regulating your autonomic nervous system
18. Regulate temperature, fighting chronically cold hands and cold feet and excessive sweating
19. Keep your hair healthy
20. Improve hemorrhoids and varicose veins
21. Reduce aches and pains
Paul Fassa is a contributing staff writer for REALfarmacy.com. His pet peeves are the Medical Mafia’s control over health and the food industry and government regulatory agencies’ corruption. Paul’s contributions to the health movement and global paradigm shift are well received by truth seekers. Visit his blog by following this link and follow him on Twitter here.
TLB Recommends you visit Real Farmacy for more pertinent articles and information.