Heat shock proteins and heat therapy for type 2 diabetes: pros and cons

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015 Jul;18(4):374-80. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000183.

Abstract

Purpose of review: Heat therapy, such as sauna and hot tub, has become an increasingly regular therapeutical practice around the world since several studies have shown benefits of heat therapy in metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. The use of heat therapy in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus revealed a striking reduction of 1% unit in the glycated hemoglobin, suggesting this therapy for the treatment of diabetes. Herein, we shall discuss the use of heat therapy and the mechanisms involved, and suggest a provisional guide for the use of heat therapy in obesity and diabetes.

Recent findings: Human studies indicate that heat therapy reduces fasting glycemia, glycated hemoglobin, body weight, and adiposity. Animal studies have indicated that nitric oxide and the increase in heat shock protein 70 expression is involved in the improvements induced by heat therapy on insulin sensitivity, adiposity, inflammation, and vasomotricity.

Summary: Heat therapy is a promising and inexpensive tool for the treatment of obesity and diabetes. We proposed that transient increments in nitric oxide and heat shock protein 70 levels may explain the benefits of heat therapy. We suggest that heat therapy (sauna: 80-100°C; hot tub: at 40°C) for 15 min, three times a week, for 3 months, is a safe method to test its efficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Adiposity
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fasting
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Steam Bath / methods

Substances

  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases