Cryotherapy: The Cold, Hard, Indisputable Facts from Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D – Ohio Cryo
Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D – Ohio Cryo | February, 2018
With the recent explosion of Cryotherapy into mainstream industry and media, many sources have been quick to either claim the modality as effective or ineffective. This article summarizes a 20 page report conducted by Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D, expert in the field of aging, cancer and nutrition, and serves to shed light upon the century-old, proven science of the effects that cold exposure has on the body.
Cryotherapy Increases Norepinephrine Cold exposure has been proven in several anecdotal studies to improve mood and even be a viable option for the treatment of depression and other mood disorders. One of the most important response mechanisms of the human body is centralized around the regulation of the crucial hormone and neurotransmitter Norepinephrine (NE). In regards to the body’s sympathetic nervous system, NE is increased when the body’s fight-or-flight response is activated.
As for the brain, presence of NE in the bloodstream have profound effects on vigilance, attention span and mood, while the absence of NE results in inattention, poor mood and decreased energy. Not only does NE act as a neurotransmitter in these instances, but it also acts as a hormone, and when present in the blood stream cause vasoconstriction. The role that NE plays in the human body is essential for how the body responds to cold temperatures: by increasing NE in the blood, resulting in constriction of blood vessels and retention of bodily heat (decreased loss of heat to the environment). Cold is good.
But how much Cold is Needed? The answer: It’s gotta be COOOLLDDDD. Dr. Rhonda’s site’s a few different studies in her report: “cold water immersion at 68°F (20°C) for 1 hour does not appear to activate norepinephrine release…
A long term study in humans directly compared people that immersed themselves in cold water at 40°F (4.4°C) for 20 seconds to those that did whole body cryotherapy for 2 minutes at -166°F (-110°C) three times a week for 12 weeks and found that in both cases, plasma norepinephrine increased 2 to 3fold (200 to 300%)” So…although standing outside on a cold winter day may not be enough to trigger your body to release NE, the temperatures involved in cryotherapy will! Cold Shock Proteins: The Brain Repairmen Synapses are gaps between nuerons in the brain. These synapses are responsible for cell communication and forming memories.
Different things can cause degeneration or breakdown of synapses including disease & environmental factors. When exposed to cold, synapses between nuerons break down. But, not to worry! Synapses do regenerate with the help of Cold Shock Proteins. One protein in specific, RBM3 has been shown to be elevated up to 3 days after exposure to cold! Why is this significant? Degeneration or breakdown of synapses occur from normal brain aging and is greatly increased by diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or after traumatic brain injury. When these Cold Shock Proteins are present, nuerodegeneration or the breakdown of these synapses is decreased! Although most studies conducted thus far have taken place in a laboratory setting and much is still unknown about the effect of RBM3 in humans, the link between