Treatment hot baths helps to reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels in people unable to perform physical exercise, according to a new study published in the Journal of Applied Psysiology.
The physical stress in the form of exercise can cause a transient increase in inflammatory markers. After a workout increases the level of interleukin 6 (IL-6) chemical substances associated with inflammation. In the process of so-called inflammatory response triggers the release of anti-inflammatory substances to counter the unhealthy high levels of inflammation, known as chronic nonspecific inflammation.
Recent studies have shown that the increase in body temperature enhances the inflammatory response and provides a basis for alternatives to the exercises that reduce non-specific inflammation in the body. Previous studies also found a link between the sharp increase in body temperature and the formation of nitric oxide, a substance which promotes blood flow and helps to carry the glucose throughout the body.
The researchers studied markers of inflammation, levels of sugar and insulin in the group of sedentary men with overweight. Participants volunteers were immersed in hot water or sitting for the same time at room temperature (control), between these two types of tests took place at least three days.
The researchers took blood samples before and after staying in the room at a temperature of 27C for 15 minutes. Then, participants either continued to sit in the room, or took a bath with hot water (39S) for 60 minutes, plunging neck-deep into the water. The researchers measured heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature every 15 minutes throughout the period of control and immersion. Blood samples were taken again two hours after each session.
The researchers found that one session of immersion in hot water causes an increase in levels of IL-6 in the blood and increases the production of nitric oxide, but does not change the expression of heat shock protein HSP72 (also important for health). However, a two-week period of treatment by daily hot baths showed a decrease in the level of fasting blood sugar and insulin levels, and reduced nonspecific inflammation at rest.
Men reported discomfort during immersion in hot water that could be associated with high water temperature or length of time in the tub. The researchers acknowledge that these conditions may impede alternative treatment of this kind. However, the positive results of inflammation reduction and the increase in insulin sensitivity suggests that immersion in hot water can improve aspects of the inflammatory profile and improve the metabolism of glucose in sedentary men who are overweight, and may have implications for improving metabolic health in a group of people unable to meet recommendations for physical activity.