By Dr. Mercola
While living in a climate-controlled environment has its benefits in terms of keeping us comfortable, it can actually have surprising impacts on health. There’s a compelling body of evidence showing exposure to harsh conditions can be highly beneficial. In fact, extreme temperature variations appear to help optimize many biological functions.
This is the time of the year, as we transition into winter, when you can take full advantage of the many magnificent benefits that regular cold exposure can have to improve your health. One of the mechanisms by which cold exposure or cold thermogenesis aids weight loss and reduces your risk of diabetes and other chronic disease is by inducing brown adipose tissue (BAT).
BAT, which is incredibly mitochondrial-dense, helps improve your mitochondrial function. One of the physiological functions of body fat is to be used as fuel to heat your body if you have active BAT metabolism. This is accomplished by uncoupling the mitochondria from producing ATP and actually producing heat instead. By regularly exposing yourself to cold, you build up a mitochondria-rich tissue in brown fat and help your body generate heat, which actually lowers your blood sugar and decreases insulin resistance.
Beige fat is a derivative of brown fat and is recruited through your white fat, which can then be used to heat your body and maintain a more active-passive metabolism. Indeed, the conclusion I reached after many decades of studying health is that burning fat as your primary fuel is a key to preserving and maintaining your health. There are a number of ways to reach this goal. You can do it through diet, and in my new book, “Fat for Fuel,” I…