Sauna, Heat & Insulin Sensitivity
After my recent trip to Dubai in August, 42° was the average daily temperature, I have dedicated a large chunk of my study time to the effects of heat on multiple mechanism in the body. I came across some quite fascinating research and will do a multiple article serious on the effects of heat. The first piece I published was “Dubai, Heat & Brain Function“. This second article if on one of my favorite pieces that I found, its a study on heat and its effects on insulin sensitivity.
What is Insulin Sensitivity?
Insulin sensitivity describes how sensitive the body is to the effects of insulin. Someone said to be insulin sensitive will require smaller amounts of insulin to lower blood glucose levels than someone who has low sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity varies from person to person and from time to time. Insulin sensitivity is basically the bodies ability to manage blood sugar and metabolize carbohydrates.
Why do we want good Insulin Sensitivity?
People with low insulin sensitivity, also often referred to as insulin resistance, will require larger amounts of insulin primarily from their own pancreas in order to keep blood glucose stable.
Having insulin resistance is a sign that your body is having difficulty metabolizing glucose, and this can indicate wider health & performance problems and an increase in body fat, especially on the hips and upper back. This means vice versa to good insulin sensitivity will lead to ability to metabolize carbohydrates much more efficiently which then leads to a decrease in body fat. In simple terms, better the insulin sensitivity the easier it is to loose body fat. And also to built muscle mass as carbohydrates regulate one of the primary mechanisms of hypertrophy which is glycogen supercompensation.
To sum this up, two primary goals of everyone that goes to a gym or hires a personal trainer is to loose body fat and gain muscle. The greater the insulin sensitivity the faster these two goals can be achieved. Therefore a lot of recommendation for nutrition, supplementation and training are based around the intention to improve insulin sensitivity. There are other ways to improve insulin sensitivity, too. And one effective one appears to be heat exposure.
Heat & Insulin Sensitivity – The study
The animal study showed that 30 minutes of hyperthermic treatment, three times a week for 12 weeks, resulted in a 31% decrease in insulin levels w and a significant reduction in blood sugar levels at the same time (1). Both are indicators of a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity.
Time to expose yourself to heat more frequently. Either go to the Sauna regularly or spent more time in warm climate.
All the Best improving Insulin Sensitivity through Heat!
Picture: A sauna.