|Image 1 (odditycentral): Jin Songhao, one of China’s most seasoned icemen and not exactly as lean as you may expect based on what you currently read around the blogosphere, managed to beat the previous world record for the longest ice bath - 120min! Congrats, Jin!|
How is that different from a "thermogenic fat burner"
The most obvious difference between cold thermogenesis and "thermogenic fat burners" is actually so straight forward that I hardly dare stating that the former is induced by exposing yourself to low(er than normal) temperatures, while the promise of the latter is that the various ingredients of currently or formerly available OTC "fat burners" will induce a thermogenic response, irrespective of the current ambient temperature.
|Figure 1: Antropomorphic data of the study participants (Cypess. 2012)|
- ephedrine - a single intramuscular dose of 1mg/kg ephedrine
- saline control - an equal volume of saline
- cold exposure - in a surgeon’s cooling vest (Polar Products) w/ water temperature 14 °C
- while ephedrine lead to an increase in blood glucose (probably subsequent to increased glyconeogenesis), cold exposure did not
- while ephedrine lead to significant increases in lactic acid levels (corresponding to increases in glucose + glucose oxidation), cold exposure did not
- while ephedrine lead to profound increases in β-hydroxybutyrate (increased ketone productions from fat), cold exposure did not
- while ephedrine increased serum non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations (due to increased lipolysis), cold exposure did not
- while ephedrine elevated insulin production (probably due to stress induced insulin resistance), cold exposure did not (p = 0.29)
- while ephedrine lead to highly significant (p < 0.001) increases in C-reactive peptide, cold exposure elicited "only" significant elevations (p = 0.005)
- while ephedrine produced already highly significant increases in noripenephrine levels, those were even more pronounced upon cold exposure
- while ephedrine lead to statistical significant increases in thyroid hormone Total T3 (+14%, p = 0.026) and Free T4 (+19%, p = 0.014), cold exposure did not
- while ephedrine lead to a profound (-22%) and statistical significant (p = 0.007) drop in ghrelin ("hunger hormone" and metabolic regulator), cold exposure did not
What does that mean? Is GNC soon going to carry cooling vests instead of fat burner pills?
If you read the scientists' rave conclusion that "[i]n contrast to ephedrine [...] mild cold exposure stimulates a speciﬁc response by the SNS [sympathetic nervous system] to activate BAT and increase energy expenditure with few other metabolic effects" and their subsequent reference to the "obesity and diabetes pandemics" and the demand for "safe and novel treatments" of the latter, it is quite understandable that people who are referred by their gurus to "scientific evidence" like this are willing to believe that "cold thermogenesis" would help them to finally get rid of their beer-, burger- and burrito-bellies.
|Figure 3: Increase in 24h energy expenditure (kcal/day, left) and detectable BAT volume (right; Cypess. 2012)|
|Figure 4: Activity of BAT activity in relation to body fat levels (van Marken Lichtenbelt. 2009)|
Skip on ice-baths, stop winning about the ephedra ban. Get your diet & workouts in check!
|Image 2: I don't think Francine Sablan, IFBB Figure Pro and like Adelfo one of Myotropics' sponsored athletes, uses the air-conditioning, let alone a funky cooling vest or ice-baths to propel her fat loss. And why would she? She loves working out and she has her diet in check ;-)|
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- Astrup A, Bülow J, Madsen J, Christensen NJ. Contribution of BAT and skeletal muscle to thermogenesis induced by ephedrine in man. Am J Physiol. 1985 May;248(5 Pt 1):E507-15.
- Astrup A, Toubro S, Christensen NJ, Quaade F. Pharmacology of thermogenic drugs. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 Jan;55(1 Suppl):246S-248S.
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