Heat Shock Proteins: Why a Little Stress May Actually Improve Your Health

The body is constantly seeking balance in order to maintain optimal functioning. A lot of times, the body’s systems will produce substances in response to stress which can be warning signs that other processes are happening in the body. For example, high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the bloodstream can be a sign of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and higher risks for Breast Cancer.

Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are another example of a reaction created by stress, but their presence signifies something slightly different. While high levels of damaged HSPs may indicate impending disease, the release and production of healthy HSP caused by certain stressors may actually be a good thing for your health.

What Heat Shock Proteins Do in the Body

Heat shock proteins are found in most cells. They play a vital role in “protein folding,” which helps maintain protein structure. They serve as “molecular chaperones” and also play a role in protecting cells from damage caused by stress.

High levels of healthy HSP can be a sign of longevity, disease protection, and healthy skeletal muscles. Lots of healthy HSPs in the body also mean that older and potentially damaged HSPs are being replaced as new ones are being formed in rapid procession—and this is a very good thing for the health of your tissues.

High amounts of damaged HSPs, on the other hand, can spell bad news. Damaged HSPs have been found to lead to the formation of plaque in both the brain and the cardiovascular system.

Stress from Hyperthermia: The Best Way to Boost Healthy HSP

In addition to saunas and exercise, taking a hot bath can be a great way to allow hyperthermia to work at producing healthy HSP in your body.

Experts agree that the best way to stimulate healthy HSP is to periodically expose it to hormesis, or short bursts of

stress. Remember that chronic stress can lead to damaged HSP. But short bursts are healthy because by stimulating the production of new HSP, they create the cascade of positive results mentioned above as well as the production of a substance called PGC-1 alpha, a key substance in  “mitochondrial biogenesis,” or the creation of fresh, new mitochondria in the cells.

And the more healthy mitochondria you have, the more you are protected from disease!

In fact, some experts feel that cancer is actually a metabolic issue, and thus mitochondrial health is essential for the prevention and possibly even healing of cancer.

Create Mild “Heat Stress” That Can Lead to Healing

I mentioned before that encouraging small amounts of stress can be positive because it can ramp up HSP production. There are many ways to do this in a healthy way such as exercise, taking high-powered antioxidants, fasting, and exposure to extremes in temperature. Although the use of extreme cold, called cryotherapy, can be effective, perhaps the most proven way to stimulate HSP is exposure to extreme heat.

Heating up the body for short periods of time to induce health is called hyperthermia. Studies have shown that raising your body by just 2 degrees can increase immunity by 40%!

Some easy ways to boost HSP through hyperthermia include:

  • Exercise! Burst training is an efficient way to get a full-on cardiovascular workout and raise your body temp in about 20 minutes!
  • Sauna, especially high infrared saunas. Regular steam or dry saunas can be effective as well for raising body temp, although detoxification will not be as intense.
  • To get the most out of your bath time, make it into “me time.” Add some mineral salts or Epsom salts and make sure you use filtered water. Light some candles and then allow the water to soothe you!
  • The Biomat uses quite a few modalities for healing and one of the ways is through heating you up at the core level.
  • Sun Exposure. Research has proven that exposing yourself to just 10 minutes a day of sunlight not only raises your core temperature, it is also a great way to get in some essential vitamin D!

Interestingly, the RGCC Test also checks for Heat Shock Proteins since cancer cells are very sensitive to heat. Since most clients have tested positive for HSPs, then assume that creating heat stress will be a great way to ensure vibrant health. 

In a recent interview with Dr. Mercola, biomedical scientist Dr. Rhonda Patrick, PhD explained the importance of hormesis as we age:

 “[Your body] is basically thinking to itself, ‘I may encounter this stress again. I have to activate all these good pathways that can help me deal with stress. That way, the next time I encounter it, I’m ready to fight it off’…That’s really one of the main reasons why short bursts of stress are so good for you because we have so many amazing genes in our body that are so powerful. The problem is that as we age, they don’t become activated as often. We need to find ways to activate them more …”

 Dr. Patrick’s words and the information provided in this article should be all the evidence you need to prove the importance of staying active throughout your life.  Through exercise, sauna, being outdoors, and even exposing yourself every once in a while to extreme cold (such as a cold shower), you can allow the body’s natural processes to work for you, not against you!

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