Hot or Cold?

The use of infrared saunas has come into the mainstream recently for its many health claims, including the ability to remove heavy metals, improve skin health, enhance collagen production, reset circadian rhythm, and even reduce stress and anxiety.

Similarly, so has cold exposure come into the limelight in the form of ice baths and cryotherapy, with similar benefits. But do any of the health claims surrounding these treatments ring true?

According to Dr. James DiNicolantonio, both therapies have their place, with several strengths and weaknesses. But when it comes to immune health, infrared (or any heat therapy for that matter) is undoubtedly the superior treatment.

Heat & Immune Health

Throughout human evolution, we have developed a robust defense system against infection, and this would be a fever.

When we raise our core body temperature, we release heat shock proteins that help to fight infection. And by going into the sauna, we prophylactically mimic the benefits of the fever and stimulate those heat shock proteins.

As Dr. DiNicolantonio explains, with frequent sauna exposure, one could dramatically reduce mortality, lung pathology, and viral replication against even the most virulent infections.

In his recent book, The Immunity Fix, Dr. DiNicolantonio offers a comprehensive guide to the inner workings of the immune system works. Dr. DiNicolantonio explains how different viruses and infections affect our health and offers strategies to enhance the immune system. 

“If you are sick or you’re sick and you don’t even realize it, the last thing you want to be as cold, because it’s the heat that many viruses, particularly RNA viruses are sort of susceptible to.”

About Dr. DiNicolantonio

Dr. James DiNicolantonio is a cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. Author of The Salt Fix and Superfuel, Dr. DiNicolantonio is a well-respected and internationally known scientist and expert on health and nutrition.

He has contributed extensively to health policy and has even testified on the harms of added sugars. He is the author or co-author of approximately 200 publications in the medical literature and is also on the editorial advisory boards of several medical journals. Dr. DiNicoltanoio has shared his expertise on The Dr. Oz Show, The Doctors, and international news media outlets.

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