Cold Water Swimming May Help Increase Good Body Fats

A review of 104 studies shows that in the body during or when exposed to cold water, the white fat tissue (known as adipose) is converted into BFAT. However, the benefits are a subject of debate.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NHI), brown fat can improve metabolism. It is noted that brown fat can break down to blood sugar and fat molecules, helping to create heat and maintaining the body’s temperature.

The Health Institute added that the cold temperature could activate brown fat leading to the body’s metabolic changes.

Furthermore, the study shows that good fats are beneficial to burn calories and protecting against diabetes.

The study was published in ScienceDaily on September 23, 2022.

Lead author James Mercer of UiT explained that the reviews reveals increasing scientific studies supporting that voluntary exposure to cold water may benefit health. However, he emphasized that it becomes a subject of debate without conclusive studies.

BFAT is also called working fat because it can reduce calories and maintain the temperature in the body.

Cold water swimming has become a habit in Europe or Northern countries. The other term popularly known is ice swimming, which occurs during winter.

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Mercer added that many studies emphasize the effects of cold-water immersion, from physiological to biochemical parameters.

Moreover, Merced explained that the review results indicate that regular exposure to cold water mat may not be causal.

A person’s lifestyle, from a healthy diet, stress management, and social circle, is part of the factors.


(Photo : by WANG ZHAO/AFP via Getty Images)

Whether cold water immersion or drinking cold water, it is said that it can help in reducing the health risks of diabetes. However, there are still questions in the scientific community about it.

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine – Center for Biotechnology Information, a study on cold water swimming was published in 2020.

The study noted that several types of research suggested that cold water swimming has many health benefits: endocrine function, amelioration of mood disorders, general well-being, and changes in hematological function.

On the other hand, Medical News Today shared some of the benefits of a cold shower, and the article said that it could be good for the following:

  • It can help boost the mood.
  • It can offer quicker cooling after strenuous sports activities.
  • It serves as pain relief or reduces pain.


The study said that cold water swimming being practiced by experienced people could bring health benefits. But the study emphasized the graded and adjusted mode in the cold water swimming.

However, the study highlighted that cold water temperatures could have potential risks. It reminds of possible pulmonary or cardiac risks arising from cold exposure. Also, prolonged immersion in water could cause hypothermia.

While the cold water immersion has good and bad benefits, you must consult your doctor on how it can benefit your health.

Related Article: Study on Bears’ Insulin Control May Advance the Treatment of Human Diabetes [Research]

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