Can Ice Baths Really Improve Your Longevity?
3 months ago
Brief Overview of Cold Therapy
You've probably seen people on social media posting about their “ice baths” and “cold plunges”, but WHY are these people sitting in miserably cold water? Is it hype or science?
Cold therapy, specifically cold water immersion, really does have some pretty COOL data-driven longevity benefits.
Cold exposure is the most powerful stimulus for brown adipose tissue (BAT) activation, also called brown fat. Increased brown fat is linked to improved glucose control, insulin sensitivity, and fat breakdown and use.
Cold shock proteins are increased in an attempt to bring the body back to its usual temperature. These proteins perform a variety of functions involved in the cleaning up of old non (or poorly) functioning cells and creating new ones. This helps protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Cold exposure decreases inflammation and chronic inflammation is known to be a common underlying condition in many chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mental Health & Cognitive Benefits
Cold therapy has many benefits related to cognitive and mental health. Cold therapy causes a release of norepinephrine which is a major player in focus, attention, cognition, and mood. The cold also increases dopamine concentrations by 250%. This “feel-good” hormone plays a key role in regulating mood. The shock and discomfort of the cold requires us to maintain calm and focus while our bodies are under stress and this builds mental resilience.
This is just a brief overview of the science behind cold therapy, but it’s undeniable that chilling out regularly will turn up the heat on longevity.
Board Certified Internal Medicine Physician
Chief Wellness Officer, IMRTL
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