Exposure to shivering and cold can lower blood sugar and fat levels — and may even help beat diabetes


The shivering from repeated exposure to cold improves glucose tolerance and lowers fasting blood sugar and blood fat levels, scientists say.

It also significantly lowers blood pressure in overweight and obese adults — and may help beat diabetes, research has found.

The research, presented yesterday at this year’s European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting in Stockholm, highlighted the potential of repeated cold exposure activating shivering as an alternative strategy to treat and prevent type 2 diabetes.

The preliminary study by Adam Sellers, Sten van Beek and colleagues from Maastricht University in the Netherlands points out that previous research has shown that glucose is cleared from the blood faster when people are cold.

Brown fat has been thought to play an important role in lowering blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity in humans, thereby helping to reduce insulin resistance and the risk of diseases including diabetes.

“Brown fat is a metabolic heating system in our body that burns calories,” Mr. Sellers said.

“This creates heat and prevents calories from being deposited as regular white fat. Brown fat is activated when cold and when eaten, but its activity is lower in older adults and in those with obesity and diabetes.”

A previous study found that 10 days of mild cold acclimation — 14°C to 15°C, six hours a day — significantly improved insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes.

But the change in brown fat after cold acclimation was small and could not explain the large improvement in insulin sensitivity.

However, after cold acclimation, changes in the body cause glucose to be excreted from the blood and into the muscle. This could help fight diabetes, which is caused by high blood sugar levels. This can be life-threatening if not treated or controlled.

When we’re cold, we can activate our brown fat because it burns energy and releases heat to protect us. In addition, the muscle can mechanically contract or tremble, thereby generating heat. Exposure to shivering and cold can lower blood sugar and fat levels — and may even help beat diabetes

Fry Electronics Team

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