How does Cryotherapy help with weight loss?
If you’re frustrated with trying to lose weight, a regular cryotherapy weight loss program can help by increasing your metabolic rate. Combining whole body cryotherapy with regular exercise and healthy eating can be the best way to lose fat. Studies have shown, if done consistently, whole body cryotherapy sessions can burn 500-800 calories in 3 minutes.
The big question is, how does cryotherapy improve metabolism?
First of all, total daily energy expenditure consists of four components: basal metabolic rate, diet-induced thermogenesis, exercises energy expenditure, and non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
In our case, cryotherapy falls in the non-exercise activity thermogenesis category.
Some effects of cryotherapy may seem like common sense. For example, have you ever noticed during the winter or when it’s cold that you eat more? This is what animals do to prepare for hibernation. It is your body’s natural way of saying that you are more metabolically active and burning more calories, therefore you need to eat more.
When we are exposed to cold temperatures our body goes into survival mode to stay warm. There are two ways that the human body can transfer energy to heat. The first one is by shivering. When we feel cold, we shiver, this is a sign of our body creating tiny muscle contractions with the goal of creating kinetic energy which then transfers to heat energy.
The second way our body stays warm is by increasing metabolic demand and utilizing stored calories, in this case it’s fat cells, specifically brown adipose tissue.
To understand how cold thermogenesis works for fat loss, you must understand that we have two different types of fat cells in our body; brown and white adipose (fat) tissue.
Brown adipose tissue is the good fat and helps keep our bodies warm when exposed to extreme cold. Brown adipose tissue has more mitochondria (the energy producing part of our cells) than white adipose tissue. Studies have shown that brown adipose tissue has an inverse correlation to the percentage of body fat and BMI. Ultimately, we want more brown fat. The more brown fat you have, the more fat your body will burn.
Now that we understand there are two different types of fat tissue, we’re one step closer to learning how to convert white fat to brown fat.
One way to convert white to brown fat tissue is through whole body cryotherapy. There are two main mechanisms in which our body responds to cryotherapy and that can increase our metabolism.
1. Shivering Thermogenesis
2. Non-Shivering Thermogenesis
Shivering thermogenesis is your body’s response to the cold. Shivering is rapid involuntary muscular contractions which produce heat as a byproduct. This involuntary movement helps to warm the body in order to protect the vital organs. Shivering thermogenesis caused by cryotherapy burns a lot of calories and can be an important component to weight loss. The caloric burn associated with shivering thermogenesis is like the effects of cardiovascular exercise.
Non-Shivering thermogenesis helps to promote weight loss. It is partially regulated by the hormone and neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. Studies have shown that when exposed to the cold (such as cryotherapy) there is a significant increase in norepinephrine in the body. Norepinephrine acts on key proteins to uncouple the normal electrical processes within mitochondria. The body responds by producing more mitochondria causing a ‘browning effect” which converts white adipose tissue to brown adipose tissue.
When white fat is converted to brown fat you lose the fat deposits throughout your body (abdomen, love handles, thighs, butt) and you burn more fat 24/7 because brown fat is more metabolically active.
Brown fat may be the hero contributing to weight loss from continuous whole body cryotherapy sessions, however let’s not get this type of “fat loss” confused with apoptosis (cell death) from other thermogenic treatments. Another thermogenic treatment we offer that focuses specifically on killing fat cells is Cryoskin. If your primary goal is fat loss and you are unsure what treatment is best for you, request a consultation and talk with an expert!