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Daily hot bath improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity

Daily hot bath improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity
If you are not able to exercise a lot, you can still work on your health. Frequent exposure to heat, in the form of a hot bath, improves your glucose balance, report English researchers at Loughborough University in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

The researchers had 10 fat and unfit men with a sedentary lifestyle followed by a hot bath cycle for 2 weeks. In this period, the men took a bath for one hour 10 times. The temperature of the water was 39 degrees Celsius.

A control group of 8 other fat men did not bathe.

A hot bath doubled the use of oxygen, and increased the concentration of nitrite and interleukin-6 in the bloodstream. You also find these effects during physical exertion.

After the 2-week bath cure, the glucose level had decreased from 4.44 to 3.98 millimoles per liter in the morning, and the insulin level was reduced from 68.1 to 55.0 picomoles per liter.

Daily hot bath improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity

"This study provides support for the use of hot water immersion to improve aspects of the inflammatory profile and enhance glucose metabolism in sedentary, overweight males, and might have implications for improving metabolic health in populations unable to meet the current physical activity recommendations", write the researchers.

"As the research on passive heating to improve cardiometabolic health is still in its infancy, this study provides strong rationale to continue the work on a treatment that may provide an alternative for people restricted from engaging in physical activity", says first author Sven Hoekstra in a press release. [, 16 Nov 2018]

"In the future, we hope to extend this research to populations that may most benefit from passive heating interventions, such as the elderly or people with disabilities that restrict them from engaging in exercise."

Wild speculation
Unrestrained by a lot of knowledge, but inspired by human studies in which athletes take a warm bath after their training [Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2016 Jul;26(7):745-54.] or in which both fit and less fit people go to the sauna, we wonder if heat treatments can also be useful for athletes.

Athletes often have a full training schedule. More training is often not possible, because more training will irrevocably lead to overtraining. But heat treatments?

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2018 Oct 18. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00407.2018. [Epub ahead of print].

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Insulin & Glucose Metabolism

Sauna makes fit people even healthier
Frequent sauna visits, for example, stimulate catabolic processes in sedentary individuals, while frequent sauna visits have the opposite effect in fit athletes.

Muscle growth without training? Try anabolic heat therapy
In the land of Kaatsu training, wasp juice, and Yakult, researchers are studying the muscle-strengthening effect of heat treatments. And the results are interesting.

Strength training results in more muscle growth when combined with heat treatment
Strength training may result in more muscle mass if athletes also expose their muscle three times a week to a heat source that raises the temperature of their muscles by 4 degrees Celsius.