Brown adipose or brown fat is a dark-colored tissue that is linked to the rapid generation of heat. While white fat stores energy, brown fat uses energy. In recent years, the interest in brown adipose was sparked as it is associated with increased metabolism and could even be a means to fight obesity and type 2 diabetes. Human babies have relatively high levels of brown fat. This brown adipose tissue burns calories to keep them warm, as they are unable to shiver.
As we grow older, the need for brown adipose subsides and therefore, adults usually have significantly lower levels of brown fat compared to babies and teenagers. Instead, the brown tissue is replaced by white tissue that makes us fat. Activating brown adipose in adults could result in significant health benefits. Controlled exposure to cold, which is an important part of the Wim Hof Method, is associated with brown fat activation. You can reap the benefits yourself by signing up for our Fundamentals video course.
Brown fat activation with the Wim Hof Method
One of the three pillars of the Wim Hof Method is frequent exposure to cold. Scientists have discovered that exposure to cold conditions is a way to activate brown fat. It was shown in a study that brown adipose was activated after subjects were exposed during 10 consecutive days in mild-cold conditions (15-16 degrees). Brown fat is supposed to decrease with age. Babies have a lot of brown fat, where young adults have a low amount of brown fat, an average of 20%. In one study it was found that Wim’s levels of brown adipose average around 35% in cold conditions (12 – 13 degrees). These levels of brown fat are even higher than brown adipose in young adults.
In a more recent study Wim was exposed to temperatures between 15-17 degrees in a cold suit. In this study it was shown that the extra heat- source was top-down regulated. By practicing meditation and breathing exercises, the glucose consumption increased, in turn generated heat that warmed circulating blood. The heat came mostly from the intercostal muscles. Brown fat was not activated. Wim is of course an experienced practitioner to the cold.
These studies show that there are several ways that thermoregulation can work. With the Wim Hof Method we work step by step to adapt to the cold. It is like training a muscle. The breathing exercises are a good way to warm the body up and to regulate pain before -and after- going into the cold. Once you are more practiced and longer exposed to the cold, you develop brown fat. This is an efficient source to regulate body heat. You have to use it, otherwise you lose it. Further along the line, you will get more adaptive towards the cold, your body and mind will get more cold-conditioned and you can generate heat through top-down processes, like meditation.
Practice Wim’s method by yourself
Wim Hof has developed the Wim Hof Method to give others the means to control their body and ultimately their immune system with the help of controlled exposure to cold. The best thing about it, is that everyone can practice the Wim Hof Method from within his or her own home with our step-by-step Fundamentals video course. Thousands of people, including professional athletes and celebrities, reap the benefits of the Wim Hof Method on a daily basis. You can watch some of their stories here.
The three pillars
The Wim Hof Method is composed out of three pillars, which are breathing exercises, exposure to cold, and training your focus. Combined, these three elements form a powerful method that can be used to positively influence your body, autonomous nervous system, and even your immune system. The Wim Hof method is linked to numerous benefits including more energy, better sleep, faster recovery from physical exercise, and a stronger immune response.
Wim Hof Method References
Wim Hof Method is assesed on average with an 9.5 out of 10 based on 2147 experiences written by participants