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#073 Sauna Benefits Deep Dive and Optimal Use with Dr. Rhonda Patrick & MedCram


This episode features a discussion with MedCram co-founder Kyle Allred on the effects of sauna. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kyle on all things sauna science and we're posting that discussion for you here. As an exercise mimetic, sauna use has anti-inflammatory, mood-elevating, and detoxifying properties that research increasingly shows may deliver cardiovascular and brain benefits.

The science of sauna use has been a research interest of mine for many years and this discussion is by far one of the most well-rounded discussions I've had on the subject. Thanks to Kyle and MedCram for having me for his interview.

In this episode, we'll discuss:

  • (00:00) Introduction
  • (02:46) Summary of sauna benefits
  • (10:47) Heat as an aerobic exercise mimetic
  • (14:45) Effects of heat acclimation on endurance
  • (17:37) Why heat shock proteins may protect against dementia
  • (23:20) The stress-relieving effects of sauna use (personal anecdote)
  • (27:43) Investigating sauna for depression
  • (30:32) Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and endorphins response
  • (34:51) Cellular repair mechanisms elicited by sauna use
  • (40:05) Prevention of muscle atrophy
  • (42:45) Detoxification of heavy metals
  • (44:50) Heart rate variability, a measure of stress resilience
  • (46:40) The synergy of sauna use and exercise
  • (52:13) Cross-cultural and historical prevalence of heat therapy
  • (56:12) Infrared sauna vs. traditional saunas
  • (58:31) Rhonda's personal sauna protocol: duration, temperature, humidity, and frequency
  • (01:03:22) How jacuzzi, hot baths, and hot showers compare to sauna use
  • (01:06:19) Hydration, cold therapy, and sauna safety
  • (01:11:18) Who should not use saunas?
  • (01:15:21) Does sauna use increase blood sugar levels?
  • (01:17:16) Limitations of current sauna research and hopes for future research

MedCram is a YouTube channel created by Kyle Allred, PA-C and Roger Sehuelt, MD, master educators of health and medical science. Their videos cover important topics such as immunity, metabolism, and vitamin D in an authoritative, but approachable way. Visit the MedCram YouTube channel for more efficient, engaging, fun, and lasting way to learn and review medical topics.

Watch this episode on MedCram

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read the full show notes

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