The use of extreme cold in surgery or other medical treatment is referred to as cryotherapy. It is sometimes known as cold therapy, the general use of low temperatures in medical therapy. Cryotherapy is used in an effort to relieve sprains, swellings and muscle pain after tissue damage or surgery. Basically, it is the application of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, reflects on the many benefits associated with cryotherapy:
“While living in a climate-controlled environment has its benefits in terms of keeping us comfortable, it can actually have surprising impacts on health. There’s a compelling body of evidence showing exposure to harsh conditions can be highly beneficial. In fact, extreme temperature variations appear to help optimize many biological functions.
This is the time of the year, as we transition into winter, when you can take full advantage of the many magnificent benefits that regular cold exposure can have to improve your health. One of the mechanisms by which cold exposure or cold thermogenesis aids weight loss and reduces your risk of diabetes and other chronic disease is by inducing brown adipose tissue (BAT).
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BAT, which is incredibly mitochondrial-dense, helps improve your mitochondrial function. One of the physiological functions of body fat is to be used as fuel to heat your body if you have active BAT metabolism. This is accomplished by uncoupling the mitochondria from producing ATP and actually producing heat instead. By regularly exposing yourself to cold, you build up a mitochondria-rich tissue in brown fat and help your body generate heat, which actually lowers your blood sugar and decreases insulin resistance.
Beige fat is a derivative of brown fat and is recruited through your white fat, which can then be used to heat your body and maintain a more active-passive metabolism. Indeed, the conclusion I reached after many decades of studying health is that burning fat as your primary fuel is a key to preserving and maintaining your health. There are a number of ways to reach this goal. You can do it through diet, and in my new book, “Fat for Fuel,” I explain how to do that. But there’s also a tremendous synergy with cold thermogenesis.
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Cold Exposure Increases Whole-Body Metabolic Rate
A recent study1 in Bioscience Reports looked at the impact of cryotherapy — exposure to cold — on the mitochondrial structure in BAT and skeletal muscle, both of which are thermogenic sites. As explained in this study:
“Mitochondria are very dynamic organelles that undergo dramatic remodeling in response to increase in local energy demand within a cell. The mitochondrial architecture (including cristae density, compactness, length, shape, and size) is a reflection of their level of activity, and thus it is also an indicator of cellular energy status. It is believed that organs involved in thermogenesis within the mammalian body elevate their metabolism in response to cold adaptation.”
While BAT and muscle both generate heat, they do so using different mechanisms. In BAT, heat generation is based on mitochondrial metabolism. In muscle, mitochondrial metabolism plays only a secondary role by supplying energy to the muscle. In other words, mitochondrial metabolism is directly responsible for BAT-based thermogenesis, but only indirectly linked to thermogenesis in skeletal muscle.
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Together, these differing thermogenic processes allow your body to maintain a constant core body temperature. As your body adapts to increasingly colder temperatures, several things happen, which together results in an increase in your overall metabolic rate:
Oxygen consumption increases
Enzymatic activity in the mitochondria of your muscle is upregulated
Fibroblast growth factor 21, IL1α, peptide YY, tumor necrosis factor α and interleukin 6 are induced, and appear to play an important role in coordinating the various physiological adaptations to cold, and in the cross-communication that occurs between BAT and muscle
Insulin and leptin are downregulated
BAT becomes browner
The number of mitochondria increases
Health Benefits of Cryotherapy
The fact that cold thermogenesis increases the number of mitochondria and improves their overall function accounts for many of the health benefits associated with cryotherapy.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2017/11/17/cryotherapy-benefits.aspx
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