Cold Water Thermogenesis Aids in weight loss, let’s find how……
Have you seen the advertisement how cold water and or cryotherapy (cold air) aids in weight loss? Last January we had the opportunity for a research scientist from the Phoenix based National institute of health come and talk to our Optimyze members about the link between Brown Adipose Tissue (Brown fat) and obesity. A topic being studied in his department.
There are two types of thermogenesis that occur in response to the cold. Shivering, using kinetic energy, and muscle contractions to generate heat, works but not as efficient to get the body to return back to normal temperature.
The second and more efficient process involves Brown Adipose Tissue (fat). This type of thermogenesis is what is really responsible for the “fat burning” effect that cold exposure can have and usually happens after the body has adapted.
Babies are born with high levels of BAT (Brown Adipose Tissue) also known as brown fat. The body is geared up and preprepared for cold temps. Let’s be honest a baby is being born right now somewhere in Siberia, Brrrrr. The human biological machine is so smart and adaptable but adapts when needed. We tend to live in a temp controlled environment, too hot turn on the AC, too cold turn up the heat. We are addicted to 70F (21.1 C) temps for max comfort but our ancestors and many other third world countries didn’t have this option……
Back to science, there is a lot to discuss here as we get into mitochondria, transport electrons, ATP, uncoupling protein 1 and other terms that might leave you a bit confused, so let’s simplify…
By exposing ourselves to the cold routinely our bodies ramp up this ancient adaptation and start the process of browning our fat, essentially increasing mitochondria. The reason it is called brown adipose tissue is because each fat cell has more mitochondria per cell and the mitochondria make the fat appear brown when looking under a microscope. As we increase our brow fat, this fat becomes responsible for warming our bodies during cold exposure using visceral fat (white fat), inflammatory in nature and associated with diabetes and cardiovascular risk, as heat. White fat stores energy, brown fat uses it…. You can think about this is simple terms: the more brown adipose tissue your body has, the more fat your body will burn.
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