Whole Body Freeze-a-Thon Emerges as Promising Weight Loss Trend

A study presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Dublin suggests that whole body cryostimulation (WBC) could be a valuable supplementary treatment for obesity. According to the research, individuals with obesity who underwent short sessions of extreme cold exposure experienced twice the improvement in cholesterol and other blood fats compared to those who received a placebo treatment.

Furthermore, the participants who underwent WBC also saw a greater reduction in waist circumference and blood sugar levels. Dr. Jacopo Fontana from the Istituto Auxologico Piancavallo IRCCS in Italy explained that previous studies have shown the powerful effects of WBC on the human body. It can increase parasympathetic nervous system activity and serve as a novel anti-inflammatory and antioxidant therapy, all of which can have positive effects on body composition, including the proportion of adipose tissue.

Dr. Fontana and his colleagues investigated the potential of WBC as an adjunct therapy for obesity by examining its impact on body composition, blood pressure, heart rate variability, lipid and hematological profiles, and physical performance in individuals with obesity. They enrolled 29 participants with a BMI over 30 kg/m² in a multidisciplinary rehabilitation program, where they were non-randomly assigned to receive either 10 two-minute WBC sessions at minus 110°C or a control group that received the same intervention at minus 55°C.

During the sessions, the patients wore minimal clothing and had removed glasses, contact lenses, and metal jewelry. The researchers maintained regular vocal and eye contact with the participants to ensure their well-being. Both groups experienced decreases in triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, but the reductions were twice as significant in the WBC group. After two weeks, the WBC group had experienced a 17% decrease in triglyceride levels, compared to 8.7% in the control group. Similar patterns were observed for total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL.

Both groups also experienced decreases in blood glucose levels and waist circumference, but the decreases were more pronounced in the WBC group. The researchers attribute these results to the low temperatures of WBC, which promote the conversion of white adipose tissue to brown adipose tissue. In cold temperatures, brown fat breaks down sugar and fat molecules to produce heat and maintain body temperature.

The study found that diastolic blood pressure decreased more in the WBC group, while heart rate decreased in the control group but increased in the WBC group. Physical performance, measured through hand grip strength and walking speed tests, improved to a similar extent in both groups. The activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes the body after periods of stress and regulates heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion during rest, increased in both groups, but the increase was more significant in the WBC group.

Dr. Fontana suggests that an increase in parasympathetic tone, as observed in this study, could have short-term and long-term health benefits for participants, including improved mental and physical well-being and a reduced risk of mortality, particularly from cardiovascular disease.

The researchers concluded that the temperature of minus 110°C in the WBC group resulted in stronger effects on metabolic and hematological profiles, body composition, and vital signs compared to the minus 55°C experienced by the control group.

Dr. Fontana emphasizes that the results indicate the beneficial effects of WBC in the treatment of obesity, particularly in terms of blood fats and glucose. However, larger and longer-term studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

The authors of the study disclose no conflicts of interest. It should be noted that this press release is based on an abstract presented at the European Congress on Obesity and has undergone peer review by the congress selection committee. The full paper is currently

being submitted to a medical journal and is not yet available.

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