Heat Shock Proteins (HSP) are proteins that occur in living cells when your core body temperature rises above normal level. These little proteins can be induced to form when we are exposed to heat such as in a hot bath, saunas, hot yoga and exercise. HSP are one of the main reasons that we see such health benefits from heat exposure or hyperthermia.
Some of the benefits shown in studies include:
- Reduction in systemic inflammation (reduced core body temperature long term)
- Reduction in depression especially when inflammatory in nature
- Enhanced immune Function
- Improved Cardiovascular Function
- Improved Blood Sugar Control or Improved Insulin Sensitivity
- Improved Muscle Growth (Performance Enhancing)
- Improved Brain Health by Inducing Expression of BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor)
These little HSP are induced when we exercise vigorously and part of the reason exercise is so good for the brain, heart and immune system. But now using heat therapy you can induce the same effects by just getting your core body temperature up for an extended period of time with the use of hot baths, hot yoga and saunas. You need to get that core temperature up for a significant period of time in studies they showed 20-30 minutes. So next time you don’t feel like exercising maybe try a sauna or hot bath instead. Ensure you speak to your doctor before starting any heat exposure program to see if this therapy is right for you and your health. The fabulous Dr Rhonda Patrick talks about HSP and their health benefits in the video liked here or on her latest podcast with Dr Charles Raison and her speak about whole body hyperthermia.