Changes in the lipid profile of blood serum in women taking sauna baths of various duration

Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2010;23(2):167-74. doi: 10.2478/v10001-010-0020-9.


Objectives: There is little information on lipid metabolism after sauna treatment in the literature. The present research is aimed to determine the influence of sauna baths on fat metabolism in young women.

Materials and methods: Twenty healthy, eumenhorreic, female volunteers (19-21 yr old) were exposed to Finnish sauna bath seven times every second day. In group I (n = 10) each time the sauna treatment lasted 30 min, whereas in group II (n = 10) 40 min with 5-minute break to cool down. Body mass, heart rate and blood pressure were measured before and after sauna bath. Rectal temperature was monitored during stay in sauna room. Prior to the sauna bath and during its last two minutes the minute oxygen uptake and the level of CO2 exhalation were analyzed in the exhaled air, and the respiratory quotient RQ was calculated. In the blood samples collected before the sauna bath and immediately afterwards hematocrit, hemoglobin, and lipid profile--total lipids, free fatty acids, total free fatty acids, triacylglycerols, total cholesterol (TC), high density lipids (HDL), low density lipids (LDL) were analyzed.

Results: Rectal temperature was lower in the last sauna bath than in the first one. Losses of plasma were greater during the seventh bath than during the first one. Acceleration of the metabolism of lipids occurs after every sauna bath. A reduced level of TC and LDLC and a raised level of HDL was observed after repeated sauna baths.

Conclusion: After 2 weeks of repeated sauna session some changes in total cholesterol and concentration of LDLC were observed, while concentration of HDLC increased after 7th sauna bath in group I. Those kinds of changes may be good prognoses of ischemic heart disease prevention, but further research on the influence of sauna on fat metabolism is needed.

MeSH terms

  • Body Temperature
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Steam Bath*
  • Triglycerides / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Triglycerides