Do you like the thought of fat? Whether it's the health risks like heart conditions and diabetes that are associated with fat, or the aesthetic concerns of an oversized "base" and jiggly thighs, we hate fat. So, can cryotherapy increase your metabolic rate to burn fat?
Research now shows two types of fat: white fat (bad!) and brown fat (good!). Unlike white fat, which stores excess energy, brown fat burns energy to keep us warm. Brown fat gets its hue from relatively high levels of mitochondria, the cell’s power station.
And brown fat can be induced to burn energy through repeated exposure to cold. Whole body cryotherapy activates this biochemical process by stimulating the release of norepinephrine, which is turn activates the energy pathway to produce thermogenesis (increases metabolic rate). Norepinephrine essentially fools the mitochondria in brown fat to think they are not producing enough heat to warm the body, so the mitochondria ramps up fat metabolism (i.e. the body burns more fat for energy, which produces heat).
Spending time in the cold makes your brown fat more active, and could even cause you to grow new brown-fat cells, according to a 2014 study conducted by National Institutes of Health researchers and published in the journal Diabetes. Theoretically, people who regularly expose themselves to extreme cold produce more brown fat, which in essence is training their bodies to burn fat as energy.
As quoted in The Scientific American, researcher Jon Dempersmier at UC Berkley said “Brown fat is active, using up calories to keep the body warm,” said Dempersmier. “It’ll burn fat, it’ll burn glucose. So the idea is that if we can harness this, we can try to use this in therapy for weight loss and for diabetes.”
Further research is currently underway at schools like the University of Texas, UC-Berkely and other top research institutions. You could wait for their findings, or find out the truth for yourself. Come realize what so many have experienced: cryotherapy really does boost your metabolic rate!
UC Berkey Research: http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/01/08/energy-burning-brown-fat-protein/
National Institute of Health: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/shivering-triggers-brown-fat-produce-heat-burn-calories