Cold Adaptation

Dr. Kruse’s Cold Thermogenesis Protocol (link)

3/9/2012: I have been reading how our bodies adapt to various stimuli. Recently this fantastic neurosurgeon has been writing about his n=1 experiment with cold adaption or cold therapy known as cold thermogenesis (CT). If anyone is interested in learning about this concept please view this blog. Dr. Kruse is providing a wonderful platform to learn and apply many principles associated with this in relation to longevity, and optimal health. He is doing a lot of investigating and deserves special notoriety and he just added a forum to the site. I think it is going to get big like Mark Sisson’s blog (they are writing a book together too!). As a result, I started an experiment on my own to see how it impacts my system. We have a pool, unheated at 62 degrees. So yesterday I slowly entered for about 20 minutes. It was cold but afterwards I felt great. Afterward, I showered with hot water and ended with a cold dose of shower water. I was cold for a while afterward but noticed I did not sweat as much at work and had more energy for a while. My muscles also were more constricted and I was comfortably cold for a period after CT.

Here is the best example of someone who has chronicled his CT adaptability. I believe his etiological explanations are symptomatic and correlary rather than causative and believe that science can explain it as Dr. Kruse graciously depicts here. Sure yoga can improve our breathing, help us to focus, and optimize our physical abilities, but I believe science can explain the physiologic changes occurring in cold adaptation. Anyway, here is a video showing some of Wim Hof’s abilities via cold adaptation. This leaves open to inquiry primary and secondary prevention implications and how this hormetic effect may impact longevity.

3/10/2012: Today, I waded up to my neck and stayed for 40 minutes. I will be doing this for two weeks in addition to taking cold showers, wearing fewer clothing, and driving with the AC on high. I am not taking any lab tests at this time but plan to explore relative data if what I observe with this experiment begins to reveal a cold adaptive response. Our bodies are amazing and I will add to this post as the process unfolds. It is hard to believe but my body is tolerating more after just one day. We will see how two weeks of this (and perhaps more) fares.

3/11/2012: Today I stuck it out for 45 minutes. I began to shiver at the 30 minute mark and had a resting pulse of 62. Normally it is about 73-75. I am not an athlete and appreciated this adaptive response. I felt great afterward so I decided to run. After about a half mile, my body gave out. I felt light-headed, nauseated, and really bad. I took a warm shower, rested outside in the sun, and put my head between my legs. After about 20 minutes the severity subsided. Then I went inside reclined in bed and shivered for about 20 minutes. After the shivering ended, I was fine. No more exercise after CT. That was a lesson learned.

3/15/2012: I took a couple of days off after the reaction my body had but continued to wear less clothing, windows down and AC on high in the car when I drive, and top off my daily showers off with a nice cold dose of H20. Today, I went back in the pool for 27 minutes AFTER sprinting to see how that worked. It was great. My left leg cramped up so I decided to get out, walk it off, and get ready for work. The funny thing was after I walked it off, I took a shower. The water was way too hot. It felt like it was burning so I turned the temp down all the way and did not even notice the cold. When I put my head in the cold shower, I definitely noticed since that was the only part of my body not exposed in the pool.

I have not noticed any real changes yet with the exception of increasing urination some days. This may also be due to my coffee intake, nonetheless, it is noted. I am also slightly more tolerant to cold on a more consistent basis.

3/22/2012: Yesterday I reintroduced the pool to my routine of cold showers, less clothes, and AC on high in the car. One thing of note. I was able to walk deep all the way to my neck with less dramatic effect on my body’s cold perception. I am beginning to acclimate to colder temperatures.

Here are some of my observations to date: I have a general sense of well being including just feeling more positive about things, having more energy, and liking life more. One thing is interesting. My body has a strong sense of imperviousness to pathogenic infection. It is like an invisible barrier is in place. You know the feeling you had as a teenager, you thought that nothing could happen to you? It is kind of like that. I believe it is related to hormonal stimulation such as DHEA, testosterone, GH and others. On that note, I recently woke up with an early morning erection. I cannot remember the last time that happened.  In addition, my hairline has seemed to slow or stop its receding but this started much earlier in my experiments . . . when I cut out sugars and carbs.

Another thing, after I did CT, @ 1:00 pm., I had a bullet proof coffee and some grass fed hamburger. I was not hungry all day and am going to bed without craving carbs or being hungry. I think leptin secretion is changing because I actually felt satiated without thirst until 8:00pm.

3/25/2012: The last few days my hunger has been really suppressed. I eat a BAB (big breakfast) and don’t lose the full feeling for about 6 hours. Today we went to the mountains. A storm was coming in as we played in the snow. I took off my shirt and was comfortable while it snowed/sleeted. I even lifted some downed trees and carried some chainsawed logs around; A good workout added to a little CT. When we arrived home I was sore. We went to the hot tub for some soothing therapy. I soon jumped into the cold pool and started total submersion holding my breath. When my head is under water my body does not perceive the cold as much. This is my next step: total immersion holding my breath longer and longer.

3/31/2012: Well, I actually caught a bug about 4 days ago. First, sneezing. I thought it was allergies due to walking by freshly caught grass in the spring. Later, I had pressure in my ears. The next day I woke up with scratchy ears and throat. I felt fine and the symptoms were more like an irritant than anything. Even so, I decided to take CT easy for a while. Well, the cold has been so mild I decided to take a cold dip in addition to my daily cold showers. I went straight in today, a cold day @ 68 degrees. I even swam underwater. My kids joined me on my back and did not seem bothered by the cold water. It was great. I’m still adapting and pathogens seem to be easier and easier to overcome. I’m really starting to like CT not only for the benefits but I never once thought cold would be more comfortable than warm, especially showers and pools. I was wrong. Until next update, see you later . . . .

Here is an interesting video of a Native American woman describing cultural use of CT.

6 thoughts on “Cold Adaptation

  1. Thanks for stopping by! Before I learned about CT I lost 130 pounds in 2010-11 following the information found in “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes.

    Basically I moderated my carb intake. It worked wonders for me. Now my BMI is 23.4 and very stable. I am trying to see how CT can change my hormone functioning, increase telomere length, and improve longevity. If you haven't already, check out this neurosurgeon's blog, jackkruse.com. He has ground-breaking ideas that may have serious implications for our health.

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  2. Oh definitely! Kruse posted your blog on his twitter and that's how I was lead here. I also eat similar to you and am starting to learn more about the CT which is perfect on this blog because it's more of a “real-life” type style more than scientific mumbo jumbo that I get lost in. I just asked about the CT for fat burning because Ray Kronise and Tim Ferriss have both used cold to burn fat. Wondering if there was any unintentional fat burning being noticed in your current doings.
    Thanks!

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  3. Do you think the starting the cold adaptation stuff such as cold showers, baths, ice packs, brings on sickness at the start? My brother and I also got sick with a cold and cough a few days/weeks into it. Toxin dump? Immune “reset”? Any ideas?

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  4. Yeah. I think your right on all assumptions. There are so many variables it is hard to say: exposure to pathogens, sleep patterns, stress? I do know research shows inflammatory responses are heightened and upregulated with CT.

    I also am getting itchy on my legs and other areas. This does not normally happen to me. It's probably a result of some sort of toxic irritant but I don't know what. I am sick right now too and continuing with CT. I haven't taken a warm or hot shower for two weeks. The cold does not seem to bother me when I'm sick . . . now that I like to be in colder environments whenever possible. I do still like the feeling of warm sun on my skin and take advantage of that also. The whole experience of novice biohacking is really awesome. Realizing we can modulate our health is liberating.

    I also get plenty of sun while CTing. Both elements together have to work synergistically IMO.

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  5. Agreed! The “cool” part about CT is that these effects(besides from being sick),have been so noticeable within a short time. Effects like my sleep being way deeper yet some nights, it's hard for me to fall asleep, and my recovery from workouts has been improved greatly.
    Haven't experienced any itchy areas, but I feel the same way about cold showers. Yesterday was close 100 degrees here in So.Cal and I went to the pool that the rest of the people wouldn't even step foot in, and I sat in it for 20mins and then swam laps. I've been using the same pool to submerge in, but usually it was in 70's out and not 90's which i think why it felt so warm to me.
    Anyways, I hope you don't mind me checking in periodically and asking questions and talking about this experience with you.

    Thanks.

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