Research findings- Whole-body cryo 4/2020
9 June 2020 / 1 comments

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Every month ProCcare extracts the new research studies on water immersion and whole-body cryotherapy. These studies are the basis of our literature database and form the foundation of our ProCcare method. In each newsletter, we provide an overview of the new research studies. Additionally, we offer exciting insights that assist implementation based on the findings of two studies that we selected from the list.

Study: Śliwicka, E.,Cisoń, T., Straburzyńska-Lupa, A. & Pilaczyńska-Szcześniak, Ł. Effects of whole-body cryotherapy on 25-hydroxyvitamin D, irisin, myostatin, andinterleukin-6 levels in healthy young men of different fitness levels. SciRep 10, 6175 (2020).

Method: 22 healthy male volunteers were divided into two groups, a low physical-active group, and a high physical-active group. They underwent ten everyday sessions of WBC at -110 for 3 minutes to assess the effect on vitamin D status (measured by 25-hydroxyvitamin) and myokines.

Primary findings by the authors:

  • Vitamin D status was significantly increased in the high-physical active group but significantly decreased in the low-physical active group.
  • The physical activity level modifies the body response to a series of WBC treatment.

ProCcare's take-home message: Highly active athletes are stressing their immune system and are at risk of vitamin D deficiencies. In fact, according to the recommendation of the Australian Institute of Sports, vitamin D supplementation may be necessary to endure optimal bone health, mitigate injury risk, and improve sports performance. Based on the findings of this study, a Serie of WBC treatments might help these highly active athletes in becoming a more optimal vitamin D status without additional supplementation. It is striking, though, that also this study provides evidence that WBC should not be considered as a one-size-fits-all approach, the low physical-active group responded oppositely. The vitamin D status significantly decreased following the same series of WBC! This study only included lean volunteers, with a body mass index (BMI) between 18,5 and 25. Even with the absence of a high body fat%, a physically active athlete responds differently than a less physically active athlete, which is already suggested in the studies from Dulian and colleagues in 2015 and Ziemann and colleagues in 2013. The cold exposure will trigger the same mechanisms between the volunteers to protect the body's temperature. However, the body composition (the proportion of fat, bone, muscle mass, and water) between the highly active group and the less active groups will be different. This will result in a different response in Vitamin D. The highly active group is likely to have a more substantial proportion of muscle mass, resulting in a higher basal metabolism. It is easier for the body to keep itself warm.

How to apply these findings: The findings of this study suggest the potential of WBC for elite athletes to become a more optimal vitamin D status without supplementation. It is, however, essential to remember the effects are small (though significant) and require a consistent approach of a daily WBC session for ten days. During winter times or at places with less sunlight, a WBC cycle for every two months can be recommended. Secondly, the operator needs to consider the physical activity status level. Where it is difficult to assess one's maximal oxygen uptake capacity for every client, asking the client during the intake about the physical activity level is very well doable and thereby recommended. Someone active for less than 5 hours per week will respond differently than someone active for more than 15 hours per week due to the difference in body composition.

Published studies in April 2020:

1.           Śliwicka, E., Cisoń, T., Straburzyńska-Lupa, A. & Pilaczyńska-Szcześniak, Ł. Effects of whole-body cryotherapy on 25-hydroxyvitamin D, irisin, myostatin, and interleukin-6 levels in healthy young men of different fitness levels. Sci Rep 10, 6175 (2020).

2.           B, Dugue., W, Douzi., P, Carette et al. What everybody should know about whole-body cryotherapy/ cryostimulation: An up-dated mini-review. Proceedings of the 25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration: Montréal , Canada, August 24-30, 2019. https://iifiir.org/en/fridoc/34623 (2019)info:doi/:10.18462/iir.icr.2019.1859.

3.           Bouzigon, R., Mihailovic, T., Lafrance, G. & Fostel, C. Whole-body cryotherapy accelerates isometric muscle recovery in motocross riders following simulated motocross heats. Translational Sports Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1002/tsm2.167

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