I first discovered cold thermogenesis (CT) many years ago in the army for weight loss, hormone stabilisation and performance. There are a multitude of performance benefits derived from frequent cold water temperature exposure, cold water immersion, cold showers and body cooling strategies.
BAT Activation Brown adipose tissue, or BAT is found primarily around your collar bones, sternum, neck and upper back. It is a unique kind of fat that can generate heat by burning the regular white fat (adipose tissue) found on your stomach, bum, hips and legs.
In most cases, you would need to exercise or engage in calorie restriction to first burn the glucose (blood sugar) and then glycogen (stored liver and muscle sugar) before finally beginning to utilise fat as a fuel. But BAT can IMMEDIATELY and DIRECTLY burn calories, including calories from fat, to generate heat. Although BAT is found in all mammals, anyone exposed to frequent bouts of cold temperature tend to have more brown fat to generate heat and help keep you warm. Exercise and fasting are excellent ways to increase BAT, but nothing comes close to cold thermogenesis.
Enhanced Immune System Cold thermogenesis enhances the immune system, primarily by increasing levels of immune system cells that help fight disease and infection. Specifically because of its ability to stimulate norepinephrine release — which can induce leukocytosis and granulocytosis, an increase in natural killer cell count activity and a rise in circulating levels of interleukin 6, all of which can significantly improve your immune system integrity.
Increased Cell Longevity The Protein mTOR is found in humans and studies have shown that we can live longer when exposed to calorie restriction, or that regular fasting may extend your life span. It is hypothesised that this is a result of the down regulation of the mTOR pathway. This is basically how your body cleans out metabolic junk within its cells and its a method that may allow cells to live longer and healthier lives.
Cold thermogenesis affects cellular longevity by down grading mTOR pathways the same way that calorie restriction and intermittent fasting does. Basically you can think of cold thermogenesis as a combination of increasing your cells hardiness and health at the same time.
Nitric Oxide Up-regulation Nitric oxide is found in the lining of the blood vessels and aids tissue recovery and regeneration, Enhances blood flow, dissolves plaque and dilates blood vessels which results in enhanced cardiovascular efficiency and blood delivery to tissue, which is a convenient way of improving endurance performance.
An inadequate amount of nitric oxide in your system results in poor blood flow and can rob the muscles and brain of blood, oxygen and nutrients. So both physical and mental function can be enhanced with nitric oxide up-regulation. Poor blood flow to the digestive tract is one cause of leaky gut syndrome and poor gut function, while high levels of nitric oxide can improve gut function. Using cold thermogenesis can significantly elevate nitric oxide levels.
Higher Metabolism and Lower Blood Sugar Cold Thermogenesis can cause blood glucose to be burned rapidly as fuel to assist in heating your body, or stored in muscles to enhance recovery and performance before the blood sugar can be potentially converted into fat by the liver. Now, i’m not trying to give you an excuse to cheat on your diet and use cold thermogenesis, however it is an excellent tool if you slip up and eat too much or as a way of weight loss during non-training days like we have today with COVID 19.
In addition, cold thermogenesis results in adiponectin, which is a hormone released during cold exposure that breaks down fat and shuttles glucose into muscles (which can lower blood sugar). This not only has an anabolic muscle repairing effect, but can also enhance recovery. Low adiponectin levels have been associated with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Ready to start shivering? Here are some practical ways to begin implementing cold thermogenesis.
Keep your home relatively cool (60–65 degree Fahrenheit) every day.
Whilst watching television or working from home during the Covid 19 outbreak, wear a cold compress or ice pack on the back of your neck, just above your shoulders every day for twenty minutes.
Take a five minute cold shower (my favorite) every morning, or alternatively twenty seconds of cold water with ten seconds on hot water.
Immerse yourself in a bath of cold water — do this one slowly! Do this once or at most, twice per week for five or no longer than twenty minutes.
Summary What this boils down to is that cold thermogenesis can help keep you at a lean body weight and also improve your cardiovascular efficiency, your immune system strength, your health and longevity and your metabolic efficiency, thus enhancing your ability to burn more fat.