How does cold exposure affect metabolism?


Deliberate cold exposure has multiple effects on metabolism, as detailed by . Cold exposure increases brown fat thermogenesis and core body temperature, which leads to an increase in core body metabolism. This increase is not only immediate but can also result in long-term changes in the types of fat stored in the body, from white fat to metabolically active beige and brown fat. The mitochondria in these thermogenic fat cells become more efficient at heating and improve metabolism over time. It is suggested that repeated cold exposure trains the body to adapt metabolically, similar to how exercise increases fitness. Cold exposure has been associated with better insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, and heart rate 1 2 3. Additionally, short bouts of cold exposure can lead to phase advances or delays in circadian rhythms, which can be used strategically based on the time of day it is done 4.

Cold Exposure Effects

Andrew discusses a study on the effects of deliberate cold exposure on metabolism in young, healthy men. The study found that 11 minutes of cold water immersion per week increased brown fat thermogenesis and core body temperature, resulting in increases in core body metabolism. The longer-lasting effects of cold exposure on metabolism occur through changes in the types of fat stored in the body.

Huberman Lab

Using Deliberate Cold Exposure for Health and Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast #66