I first saw this concept mentioned by Tim Ferris. It sounds interesting, but won't it make you sick? Usually to much exposure to cold temperature makes my nose freeze up, and when it warms up again, I have a runny nose.
I watched the TED video at the bottom, and am working through the novel length blog post.
asked byprimallykosher (4131)
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on February 19, 2012
at 08:09 PM
That protocol is idiotic. Most of the positive results that are obtain from cold hydrotherapy come from a secondary, not a primary response. Cold exposures should be short (usually 30 seconds) and then your body responds by trying warm the area. Your body at first is willing to put up a fight against the cold and then after a little while it decides, f#&! it, I'm just going to shut down. I know that from a naturopathic perspective, they try to utilize the fight and not get to the "f#&! it" stage. Contrast hydrotherapy where you do 3 minutes hot and 30 seconds cold repeated 3 times is a much better way to leverage the effects of cold. From a Chinese medical perspective you need to be bat $h!* crazy to expose yourself to cold for that much time. The only time according to TCM that could be okay is if your the crazy passionate type (dominant fire -- rapid pulse, hot most the time, etc) and even then it'd be considered a heroic method that will likely produces ill effect. They'd consider it unartful medicine at best.
Primary Effects of Cold:
- Slowing of circulation, leukocyte migration and metabolism in tissues
- Decreased edema and bleeding
- Decreased nerve conduction
- Analgesic effect
- Down regulation of most metabolic activity
- The longer the cold the more intense the primary effects
- Shorter cold more effective secondary response Strongest medicinal effect of cold water applications
Secondary effects of cold:
- Increased metabolism
- Increased RBC and WBC
- Strengthening of the whole system
Primary effects are direct or intrinsic results of application of cold
Secondary effects are the bodies reaction to the application of cold
on February 18, 2012
at 08:22 AM
I've been following the blog and the comments with interest, and it does offer some insight into the footage of Tibetan monks I saw years ago tolerating really cold temperatures with very little clothing or a wet sheet and even being to manipulate their body temps at will.
I did a test run today: ketogenic fatty meal, steak with butter and coffee with coconut oil and cream for breakfast, check. Drinking cold water first, check. Face in a sink of ice water, check. I did four short face immersions about 30 seconds each. Better than coffee! OMG! It managed to obliterate the PMS moody cloud that had been hanging over me for a few days too, I'm chalking that up to a momentary switchover from whatever hormones were creating that "woe is me" feeling to survival stress hormones. I thought I was going to have to go way deeper into this before getting that kind of hormetic stressor effect.
I've done cold water experiments before to increase pain tolerance as part of a childbirth hypnosis course, but it was just with my hands and arms. That was a daily practice for a few months. I don't remember whether I ended up with less fat on my hands and arms, but then again I was pregnant and gaining weight everywhere weekly, not a "swallowed a basketball" lady, all of me gets fat when I'm pregnant.
This thermogenesis protocol opens a whole can of worms about seasonal living and eating. Did we screw ourselves out of the ability to live somewhat comfortably without central heat by inventing margarine and Crisco, since it would seem that having high n-6 levels makes the experiment much more difficult or even impossible? My grandmother used to tell me stories about waking up with frost on her blankets in the morning when she was little, and being more fascinated than bothered by it. If the house gets below 55 degrees F. at night I have trouble sleeping because my nose gets too cold. Something has changed to become so wussy in just 3 generations.
I've been pretty sure that getting cold doesn't give you a cold since I was a kid so I'm not worried about that aspect of it. I get a runny nose with any quick temperature change hot to cold or cold to hot, and I think that is often confused with "catching a cold" after being outside. I used to run around for a good part of the winter without a coat, and would splash my hands in little streams and fountains that were nearly frozen with no ill effect. So I did have some cold tolerance built up at one point in my life, but it is mostly gone now. Babies are born with a lot of brown fat, so maybe I just had some of my brown fat stores left over when I was an older kid, or never lost them because my teachers weren't fast enough to catch me with my coat.
I do have several worries about this though. One is now that I have excitedly shared this info with my husband, I'm going to have to have to lobby even harder to turn the heat up in the house when I'm cold because he'll insist he's trying to help me in my quest to improve my health. Secondly, I worry that someone's vanity will get the best of them and they won't approach the protocol in a slow and methodical way causing some serious frostbite or inducing a heart attack in spite of the all the warnings about monitoring skin color and working with a physician in regards to cardiac health.
on February 18, 2012
at 02:49 PM
Beth.......consider this mental juxtaposition. What if you're dead wrong and our biochemistry is best adapted for cold environments but yet we live in a warm world.......??? What if evolution to a cold thermogenic environment is our primordial condition? What if mother nature plans differ from your thoughts as they exist today? To see a glimpse of why you might be off......consider that all scientists still believe modern day earth is in an ice age.....all be it at the end in the warming cycle that began 11,000 years ago. We know of 11 that have occurred since we evolved. What if I told you that your proteins and enzymes react completely 180 degrees opposite their current actions when you change a few things?
Maybe modern day life is the ultimate biologic mismatch? Yes a thought could change your DNA if you ponder a reality that is not currently in your awareness.
My profession usually does not try to eliminate the impossible because we are trained to be logical and reductive thinkers........but when I am stumped I think about the impossible and the links to the knowns I know........then I deduce and I use connective thoughts........when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth in my view. I think Beth you might be making the same error........a modern day Paleohacker error. I aim to show you why this might be case as I roll it out this year.
on March 20, 2012
at 06:42 PM
Another tedious read. Perhaps Jack should consider doing audio/video type presentations instead, because the typos and other errors in these manifestos are difficult to get past. His posts are inordinately long and I say this as a blogger who is not of few words myself but try to be cognizant of that and likely fail many times as well.
I fail to see where this ties in with Leptin, but perhaps I have to read it again.
However the biggest problem is conflating cold adaptation with cold thermogenesis. The latter is an effective means of assisting weight loss as I commented above how cold plunging on my recent vacation definitely offset the higher food and alcohol calorie content. No -- I didn't down a quart of ice water before jumping in. I would stand with my feet on the top ladder step and just go for it and jump in. It almost hurt for a few seconds, I would tread water for as long as I could stand it -- usually I make it about 30 seconds, sometimes shorter, a few times for several minutes. I did this several times a day and would either go back out into the hot air or into the steam room. Going directly to the hot tub required easing in. The thermodynamics/physics are pretty simple here. Relatively smaller mass/volume me at 98.6 degree F hits the relatively larger mass/volume water 60 deg F. Thermal gradient is significant and movement and mass ratios maintain the gradient so heat energy is transferred away from my body to the water in the pool. A few minutes after one gets out, they feel invigorated, flushed and although cold to the touch very shortly you feel like you're emanating heat. This is because your body has ramped up it's thermogenic activities to warm you back up. I doubt highly that even the temperature inside my belly button changed. My body expended calories to generate thermal energy to keep me warm inside and reheat my skin. This is not rocket science.
The cold adaptation he talks about is -- as it sounds -- adapting the individual to a cold environment -- 24/7/365 -- and all that. Even if someone does this protocol for an hour a day, there's 23 other hours where the body is not in a cold environment. Even IF you make a lot of BAT from WAT, unless the BAT is needed to generate heat, it won't. BAT is the thermogenic fat but it doesn't keep going all the time. Whatever differences we see in cold adapted humans living in cold environments cannot be translated to someone living in a warm environment taking some ice baths.
So that's one problem. The rest is a lot of the usual poor application, speculation, interpretation of various studies. Take his claims about fat cell apoptosis (death):
Prolonged and controlled local peripheral skin cooling can induce selective ???damage??? and increased hypothalamic signaling by forcing adipocyte apoptosis and subsequent loss of subcutaneous fat, without damaging the overlying skin or the underlying muscle layers. This means that acute cold cause rapid leptin sensitivity! It means that fat is forced to liberate leptin from fat cells to slowly lower its serum levels as long as the cold stimulus is applied safely. This is new scientific information that was first carried out in pigs in 2008 and subsequently tested in humans and found to be quite effective for fat removal in certain selected areas of the body.
Now here is the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18951424
They subjected the pigs to sub-freezing temperatures (-1, -3, -5 and -7 deg C) applied locally to skin, for relatively short periods of time (10 min) under anesthesia. This apparently killed off some fat cells without damaging the skin. How on earth this applies to his Leptin Reset and ice water baths is beyond me. Unless he's sitting on blocks of dry ice for 10 minutes at a clip, which I suspect would be pretty darned uncomfy fully conscious, and I'm not sure I'd want to chance irregularly killing off some fat cells were it shown to be feasible.
So that sort of thing turns me off to his protocols. Trying to synthesize some "epic" treatise when one is basically not needed to explain why the cold exposure may have contributed to his fat loss. I could go on about other claims made, but it's time wasted. I'm only just amazed that his popularity has soared and he's now on panels and such educating the public. There's some basic stuff underlying this, the rest just comes off as quackery, which it is. And it will undermine the paleo movement whatever that is.
on March 20, 2012
at 04:57 PM
I've written to Jack with no reply. He kicked off quite a debate at Paleo FX with the topic. What surprised me, especially with some keen evolutionary thinkers there, no one asked him to speculate on how his discovery counts as an evolutionary survival mechanism. Or is it like an auto backfiring? Are there sources of evidence among extant h/gs living in brutally cold environments? What's next - New Age high colonics with ice water?
on February 20, 2012
at 04:12 AM
Kruse seems like the kind of guy who is always saying, "I meant to do that" after every time he comes across as a regular imperfect human.
Being in the cold is useful until it surpasses the body's limits and becomes a stress. Just like exercise.
on February 18, 2012
at 07:24 PM
My question is why, why, why would you want to do this?
Regardless of whether subjecting yourself to extreme cold is effective for fat loss or not, there are more tried, tested (and more importantly) easier and enjoyable ways to do it.
Eat real food, and do fun, enjoyable activities and you will lose weight.
Perhaps sitting in an ice bath will help you lose and extra couple of grams per week, but is it really worth the hassle?
Subjecting yourself to cold water may be worthwhile if you are swimming in a beautiful Norwegian Fjord, but sitting in your bath full of ice seems foolish to me, particularly as your body will more than likely cause you to unconsciously eat more calories to compensate to any increase in metabolism anyway!
on February 18, 2012
at 11:24 AM
This looks easier to do compared to what Kruse proposes: I couldn't paste the link properly but it's The Iceman post at Getting Stronger.
Tring link again http://gettingstronger.org/2012/01/the-iceman/
on February 18, 2012
at 12:59 PM
I'm with Happy Now and intrigued by the idea. It seems very plausible to me that what we take for granted as modern convenience -- indoors in AC in summer, indoors in heat in winter -- has side effects (especially cumulatively). That the former results in low vitamin D levels is a given. I'm certainly willing to entertain that there are disadvantages from the latter.
One caveat though: it's not clear to me that short cutting Mother Nature is always a win.
on February 18, 2012
at 06:01 AM
Sounds like trouble if not done right.
Being in Minnesota as I am, or any other northern midwest or eastern state, stepping outside in the winter in your underwear for a few minutes can surely get the same benefit. Heck, being outside fully clothed for a few minutes longer can get you there, ;), right?
on February 20, 2012
at 02:10 AM
Honestly I just wish i had taken a set of labs the day before I got in the water because it is day 14 and I dont even know who I am anymore. Yeah it is like that. With the exception of being flooded with estrogen from the white adipose tissue ( which I am attempting to manage with aromataze inhibitors ) i have no clue how my serum level have changed and it is all for the better. Sleep is improved, Supplementation went to zero. More available energy. Woot!
on April 02, 2012
at 10:23 AM
about how it is supposed to tie in with leptin: the melanocortine pathway is made up of several peptides that bind to many receptor sites. one of those is melonocyte-stimulating hormone (MRH). all of those are primarily derived from proopiomelanocortine (POMC). POMC secretion is balanced by NPY. leptin stimulates the release of MRH that binds to the melanocortin-4 receptor. leptin also binds to NPY neurons and decreases their activity. Kruse says that the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) that controls circardian rythms and metabolism is governed not only by light but by temperature. in cold temperatures SCN activates the leptin-melanocortin pathway by upregulating POMC and downregulating NPY.... so that is supposed to increase thermogenesis and fatloss....