icon-account icon-glass

Popular Products

The Lean Protein
Whey protein powder for weight-loss.
The Energy Booster
Pre/intra-workout powder with BCAAs.
The Glow Booster
Collagen supplement for skin.

Being Cold Could Boost Your Immune System And Help You Lose Weight: Here’s How

12th October 2021

12th October 2021

By Shivraj Bassi

Do you begin to shiver as soon as the leaves start to turn brown outside? Is your thermostat constantly up high, and do you live for the moment when you sink into a hot bath all the way up to your chin?

While that all sounds very cosy, you could be missing out on an incredible technique which can help you to lose weight and even boost your immune system. Cold Therapy. But what is cold therapy, does the cold increase immunity, and does being cold make you lose weight? Let's have a look. 

Before we start by the way, The Digest Capsules can help you with that too, if you need. 

Does being cold make you lose weight?

Great question.

Humanity has a rich history of cold-based therapies. From the traditional British Christmas morning swim in freezing seas to rolling in the snow after getting steamy in a Finnish sauna, spending time in the cold is part of many cultures around the world - even the Ancient Egyptians did it. And for good reason: it works. 

Turns out, it all starts with brown fat.

Unlike white fat, which tends to accumulate around midsections, thighs and chins, brown fat is distributed deep inside the body, particularly around the kidneys, spine and shoulder blades. It’s created in a process called thermogenesis in response to low temperatures, and it’s what keeps us warm when we’re cold.

Research has also found that it can burn through calories like nobody’s business. A Utah University study from 2020 found that having a significant amount of cold-activated brown fat helped to mitigate lots of the side effects of obesity, such as keeping blood fat and blood sugar at a healthy level. Volunteers sat in a room that was chilly but not freezing, around 16 degrees, for two hours, which was enough for their body temperature to drop and for their brown tissue to be activated. 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A recent study at the Amsterdam Academic Medical Centre found that volunteers who had frequent cold showers had 20% less absences to the study due to illness and fewer viral or bacterial afflictions once the study was completed. This is because they experienced an increase in white blood cells, which boost the immune system.

There are plenty of other examples, such as that cold water swimming is associated with the production of a protein that reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It’s thought that cold reduces inflammation, the culprit behind the root of all kinds of chronic diseases, from cancer to arthritis to type two diabetes. 

Gut bacteria also comes into the equation. The cold alters the composition of gut bacteria in a way which increases the metabolism, even for healthy people. What's more, a study held at Geneva University saw researchers transplant gut bacteria from mice kept in the cold to mice raised in warm temperatures. The mice receiving the transplants lost body fat and began generating ‘good’ gut bacteria which produced beige fat, a substance very similar to brown fat in that it burns energy to produce heat when body temperature dips low. 

Okay - so. There are a lot of health benefits that we can gain from cold exposure. We get it. But are there any other benefits? Well, now you mention it... 

How to lose weight from the cold

If you’re trying to keep the thermostat in your house turned down low for the health benefits (which will also no doubt help to lower your heating bill), opening all of the blinds and curtains to let in the maximum amount of light, which will help you to feel warmer. 

Moving around is the best way to stay warm. If you work from home, consider a standing desk or a treadmill desk, which will keep your body moving and staying warm naturally, without you realising it. If you’re outside, walk at a faster pace than you usually would and you’re certain to find yourself warming up in no time. 

Dress in lighter clothing than the weather requires, or than you think you need. This will help your body acclimate to the cold, and while you might find yourself shivering slightly at first, soon you’ll adapt and will begin thriving in low temperatures.

It's important to note, though: don’t take risks with your health. We’re not telling you to wear flip flops when it’s snowing outside. That's way too extreme.

We're simply asking you to consider not always being swathed in blankets and warm jumpers. But as with any lifestyle change, consult your doctor before doing anything drastic. 

How to improve immunity through cold exposure 

Now you've heard about the benefits of cold exposure, you may be wondering how you can incorporate this into your life. If you haven't yet checked out our Insight article on The Tried And Tested Benefits Of Turning Down The Temp, firstly, why not? Secondly, you're missing out.

Here's some techniques (and benefits) that you can get behind... 

  • Cold showers for the immune system 

Cold showers are not only a good wake-up call, but they're a great example of cold water exposure. Integrating cold showers for the immune system is a great way to add cold water exposure into your everyday life and to reap the benefits of this strategy, such as soothing muscle soreness, enhanced sporting performance and more. The question is: do cold showers help you lose weight? And the answer? Yes!

Cold water exposure (and therefore cold showers) are a great way to boost your metabolism and aid in weight loss. Great. 

  • Cold Therapy techniques

Whether you use ice packs, cool sprays or ice baths, cold therapy (or Cryotherapy) refers to any kind of treatment that involves ice or ice products. Great for treating injuries at home and with little equipment, cold therapy techniques are also a great way to improve your immunity through the cold. 

How to improve immunity (without the cold) 

If you’re not a fan of the cold, you can check out The Digest Capsules, our daily capsules containing probiotics and prebiotics to encourage the growth of good gut bacteria, and keep your microbiome in balance.

Spicing up your diet is another option. The team who ran the study at Utah University also discovered that cayenne pepper has a similar effect on the body’s ability to produce brown fat and its metabolic rate than the cold does. 

By getting spicy with some Capsinoids, the compounds found in chilli, you’ll get a similar effect to exposing yourself to the cold. As well as boosting the production of brown fat, they bring down the levels of sugar, blood fat and insulin in your body. Don't just take our word for it, though: researchers in Japan found that wasabi, horseradish, mustard, ginger, menthol and green tea all have similar properties, so you’d better get to love spicy food (if you don’t already). 

Product Spotlight

Other Insights

Innermost Investigates: The Truth On Power Plates
Vibration or ‘power plates’ are commonly met with a healthy dose of scepticism. And to be fair, standing on a plate and shaking, at first, doesn’t sound like the most effective method of exercise. What most people aren’t aware of, however, is that vibration plates were developed over 50 years ago by Russian cosmonauts to prevent the loss of muscle mass in space. They continue to be used to this day in space missions, even by NASA. If vibrating plates are good enough to be used on spaceships, then perhaps they’re good enough for the gym.  Innermost is here to investigate the benefits of using vibration plates (on Earth). We’ll answer all your burning questions including: What is a power plate? What does a power plate do? Do power plates work? And how do I use a power plate?  What is a power plate? How do they work? A vibration plate (often called a ‘power plate’) is an exercise machine that sends high-speed vibrations through the entire body. This stimulates your muscles to automatically contract up to 30-50 times more per second than usual. To maximise stimulation, vibration plates move in multiple directions simultaneously – up and down, left and right, front and back. As your body naturally attempts to stabilise itself against the shaking, it engages lots of muscles (many of which aren’t engaged during conventional exercise). And since this stabilisation occurs automatically, you hardly feel it.  8 benefits of vibration plates Ok, so new muscles are engaged a lot more than usual. That sounds great. But what are the actual benefits of power plate exercise?  Saves time Your muscles are working harder, so it takes less time to reach the same goals, cutting down on your workout time. Remedial therapist and Power-Plate specialist trainer Mark Andrews call power plates “the microwave of fitness”. Low impact Power plate exercise is considered low impact, making it suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is also low impact on joints and ligaments – making it a great form of exercise for people who want to ease into exercise – for example, if you’re a bit older or recovering from an injury. Fat-loss benefits Power plates are a fat burn booster, but at the end of the day, the most proven method for fat-loss is correct nutrition and a calorie deficit. Innermost also offers nutritional supplements for healthy and sustainable fat-loss including The Lean Protein, The Define Booster and The Tone Capsules. Muscle strength and toning benefits Since so many muscle groups are working at the same time and 30-50 times more than usual, your muscles will strengthen and tone even from just standing on a power plate. Improved circulation Vibration plates can be used as a massage tool, which increases circulation in the massaged body parts. Increase core strength, stability, and balance All exercises on a vibration plate forces your body to engage its core to balance and stabilise. Certain exercises such as press-ups or planks (see 5 power plate exercises below) amplify this benefit even more. Increase Flexibility According to the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, using a power plate when stretching (before or after a workout) is more effective than stretching alone. At-home If you’re working from home, too far from a gym, or simply enjoy the convenience of home workouts, you can purchase a power plate to use in the house. A personal power plate and power plate move are both relatively compact pieces of equipment so can fit easily into your home. You can check out more options here. How do I use a power plate? 5 power plate training exercises Plank Get onto the floor and place your forearms onto the power plate. Gently move your knees away from the power plate until your back is completely straight. When you feel confident, have only your toes touching the floor and lift your knees off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. Press up Similar to the plank, except your hands are on the power plate, shoulder-width apart with your arms out-stretched and locked at the elbows. Again, your back is straight, and you can start with your knees on the floor. When you are confident you can lift your knees off the floor and have just your toes touching the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. If you can, gently bend your elbows to bring your body down close to the power plate and then straighten your elbows again to bring your body back up – congratulations you’ve just done a press-up on a power plate! Leg crunches Sit in the centre of the vibration plate. Place your hands behind you on the edge of the power plate and bend your elbows to help you gently lean back. As you lean back, lift your legs off the ground to counter-balance yourself. The lower half of your legs (below the knee) should be parallel to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Squat Stand on the power plate with feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward. Using out-stretched arms that are parallel to the floor to balance you, gently bend your knees to bring your body down. Hold for 30 seconds. Then gently straighten your knees again to go back up. Keep your back straight at all times. Lunge Stand one ‘stride’ (long-step) away from the power plate. Then, with one leg, take one long step onto the power plate, keeping your toes forward. Gently bend the leg that is on the power plate at the knee, keeping the other leg straight at all times (you should really feel a stretch in the straight leg). Hold for 30 seconds. Then step off the power plate and change legs (i.e. if you stepped with your left leg first, now step with your right leg). So there you have it, a power plate is a space-age exercise machine that boasts lots of fitness benefits. If you’re looking to level up your exercise routine then this is a great option for you. Next time you’re in a gym give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised! Sources: Is whole-body vibration a good way to lose weight and improve fitness? The 8 Best Ways to Exercise With A Vibration Plate All You Need to Know About: Power Plates The Power Plate: A Space Age Relic Inspires a New Form of Exercise - The New York Times (nytimes.com) Read more
Ashwagandha, Winter Cherry, Indian Ginseng... What Is It?