05 Nov NeuroRegeneration using Whole Body Cryotherapy
What do bears hibernating and Neurodegenerative Diseases have in common? Scientist have discovered that the same mechanism bears use to reboot they’re brain after months of hibernation in the winter cold could offer some insight into new treatments for diseases of our aging brain. These neurodegenerative diseases including ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s which occur as a result of neurodegenerative processes. Neurodegeneration is the umbrella term for the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons (synapses), including death of neurons.
So in order for us to better understand the connection we need to understand the science behind how bears can sleep that long without food. First the bear will eat like a pig to store as much fat as possible before hibernation. They will use this fat as energy while they are in this state throughout the winter. Scientist have found that the cold exposure the bears encounter during hibernation triggered genes that activate the production of something called “Cold Shock Proteins”. There is a special kind of cold shock protein called RMB3 that got their attention. This RMB-3 was significant elevated when their body warmed up after the hibernation. Ok so whats the deal right? Ok so whats so incredible here is that the RBM-3 protein was the trigger for the brain to “reboot” after the long dormant cycle they had been in. You see the brain is a huge consumer of energy so the bear must shut down most of its activity while it hibernates in order to really lower fuel consumption. That means the brain works less and this is through a process of shutting down neuronal synapses or connections nerves make such as when we learn new things or experience our world. So if the bear was to shut the brain down the brain needed to evolve in order to reboot itself and turn back on all of these connections. Thats where cold shock proteins come in to the picture and specifically RMB3. Scientist where shocked when they found that the RMB-3 was able to turn on, not most, not some, but 100% of all the connections in the bears brain! This is unbelievable! The act of freezing followed by warming also was studied in multiple animal studies and showed the same expression with the RMB-3 and the neurodegenerative response in the brain. Guess whats the best part about this story? We humans also have RMB3 proteins as well. That means we too can benefit from an increase in RMB3 to fight the result of age related breakdown of our brain. How you might ask? Through something called Whole Body Cryotherapy or WBC. WBC is the process of using a cylindrical chamber one stands in for 3 minutes while liquid nitrogen cools the air in the chamber to neg 166-250 degree’s F. There has been numerous studies on cryotherapy and its positive effects on the body and brain.
The bottom line is that RBM3 promotes synaptic plasticity and staves off neurodegeneration by rebooting connections lost between nerves in our brain. This is huge news for those either suffering from a degenerative neurological disease but also those looking to improve brain function and lower your chances of developing these terrible diseases. RMB3 also has been shown to prevent the loss of muscle due to age. Just think those bears can’t be losing all their muscle during hibernation otherwise they wouldn’t be able to hunt and forage when they wake.
But it gets even better! Scientist also looked at anti oxidant levels. You know these are the things in healthy foods that counter the negative effects of the byproducts of our cells making energy. These byproducts are called ROS or reactive oxygen species and if we don’t buffer them with anti oxidants then cells break down (age) and its also the primary mechanism we develop all cancers. So the 2 most powerful antioxidants we use are Glutathione (GSH) and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) and ALL neurodegenerative diseases are linked to low levels of these in our nerves! It has also been shown that supplementing with these vital antioxidants can prevent further damage in such diseases in Parkinsons. What do you think scientist found about when they looked at brief cold exposures and levels of GSH and SOD? You guessed it they where significantly more elevated. GSH was 200% higher and SOD was 43% higher after WBC for 3 minutes per day for 20 days.
It has also long been know that chronic inflammation can make it much more likely for our brain to suffer high levels of neurodegeneration. If I told you that WBC has also been shown to drastically lower inflammation in the body would you believe me? Too good to be true maybe. Well its in the science and it really does. In fact some of the earliest work done with WBC was with rheumatoid arthritis. RA is a crippling inflammatory disease of the joints. Studies actually show that a month of WBC can reduce inflammation significantly in these cases and in fact ALL inflammatory arthritis’ even osteoarthritis which is the most common. Patients simply felt much less pain and had significantly better function. But when they looked at the blood work on these cases they found the levels of CRP and IL-6 had been lowered to normal levels.
This sure sounds like the holy grail of therapies for brain based diseases doesn’t it! This is one of the primary reasons I am now using this therapy at Advanced Rejuvenation for my Functional Neurology practice. We have found results that have defied our previous understanding of what is possible. I know combine WBC with other modalities in my office based on patient needs.
In summery WBC can increase connectivity in the brain, increase antioxidant levels and lower systemic inflammation. Thats means you will have more physical and mental energy, think clearer, remember things better, learn faster, communicate better, have more flexible muscles and joints, less pain, and slow the aging process. So whether you are looking to overcome a specific neurological disease or prevent one or just looking to maximize your brains abilities then WBC might be right for you!
If you are lucky enough to be in Sarasota then please call the office and set up your introductory session for only $45.
John Lieurance, DC