Can you believe we are up to part three of how infrared saunas and other saunas can be used in mould detoxification. And for anyone who's just joining on the live stream or on the podcast, I want to welcome you and I want to recap what we've been doing over the last couple of weeks. In the part one we went over what are some of the basic theory behind sauna and heating in general and some of the key papers that have linked use of saunas with a reduction of quite severe symptoms, especially those people who are suffering from mould exposure. And that is the central focus of each one of these live streams and podcasts.
And then in part two we looked at other types of environmental threats, other toxins and we looked at a cohort of people that were exposed to something called Gulf War illness and they were a whole range of smokes and pesticides and a whole lot of noxious chemicals that they were exposed to on the battlefield. And we showed and went through the literature to show how sauna heating in combination with dietary supplements could have a profound impact on the symptom outcomes for this cohort of people. And so today we're going into part three and we're going to take a deep dive into some more really interesting literature's and I want to go through what essentially we're going to be covering today because it is really, really important to understand how each of these parts 1, 2 and 3 build up a picture to demonstrate some really strong theoretical foundations for why sauna bathing is beneficial to your health and especially if you're suffering from any of these environmental mediated illnesses such as mould exposure.
And so part of this part 3 is that I had my second sauna and I also went to the infrared sauna with my partner and I interviewed her before the sauna and then again after the sauna. And basically I think this is very important, this short little video, so bear with me because they demonstrate the first person experience to sauna bathing.
So I will get on with part three. The first video before we actually had a sauna. Hi there everyone, this is Joanne, my fiance.
And I have decided that we should both experience the infrared sauna.
So I think it's got LED lights in the roof, which are the same as if you have an LED facial. I didn't realize that that was part of it, so red light for collagen stimulating and different colour, lots of different things.
So this would be an interesting experience because I've done it once, I've read all the literature, I've been reading a lot more this week. At breakfast this morning I had a quick read as well.
It's meant to be very good for mental health and relaxation and sleep, so we'll see.
Well, we'll see and so we'll check back in afterwards anyway bye for now. Okay, well what happened afterwards? You're probably waiting for that because that's the most important thing. How did it actually feel afterwards? Were there any contrary indications, how does it impact on both of us?...and so I will play that component now.
I'm filming ready.
Okay, it's going. What did you think about that?
That felt really intense, very hot. Obviously it's 60 degrees, I had to pop out a few times during the 45 minutes and drink just a little bit of water, not too much. My body feels really warm, but really good. It feels like a very intense physical workout actually, but relaxing at the same time. I was doing some nice deep yoga breathing, I feel good. We'll see how I feel in about an hour when I've stopped sweating.
And you mentioned something about it feeling like an endurance exercise. Can you say something about that?
I guess I was, the first 15 minutes I really enjoyed it, it was warm and relaxing and then I found that I was setting myself time blocks goals. Like I'm going to stay in for 10 minutes and then I'll step out to have some water, and it did feel like a bit of an endurance exercise in that respect. And I was glad to see the time get to zero even though I was really enjoying it, and I do you feel really good.
I agree with everything that you're saying. I had those same feelings as well. Last time I noticed that I felt like my sense of time had altered. Did you notice anything for the 45 minutes?
I didn't feel that at all. I was quite focused on time and how long until my next drink, which wasn't that it was unpleasant, but it was intense.
That's interesting. I noticed the same phenomenon I noticed last time that I thought the time went very fast and-
So that was consistent to last time. I guess I was less anxious this time, but as usual I did feel like I was forcing my body to do something and that led to a bit of self reflection about what if, what's this going to do? So I started thinking about that. I think next time I need to prepare to relax more.
It might be worth mentioning to people that I did this with my contact lenses in and it was absolutely fine.
But that's an interesting point because I meant to mention that to you. I wore my spectacles and left them outside. Anyway, thank you for letting me know.
Thanks Dr. Cameron, it was fun.
Okay, bye. So here we have what I think is a very important thing to mention that it felt like a bit of an endurance race. I had definitely an altered sense of time. Joanne ended up actually with quite a severe headache later on in the day, certainly when I look up what the literature says that certainly that is a side effect. And I'd suggest that both of us probably needed to drink a bit more water before, during and after the sauna. But I hope that has given you a first person perspective on how it actually feels because the whole point of doing any type of health related behavior or an intervention, you're seeking an outcome. But you want to know a little bit in advance what you're likely to expect? So I hope that's given you a bit of an overview here.
Now what I'm going to do now is I want to review something called the global sauna survey. And essentially this is a publication that came out in 2019 and it's from my home country. In fact, my home state, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), a university here in the city. And what they did is that they polled just under 500 people taken from Finland, USA and Australia. And they found that breaking down the types of sauna bathing chosen, the most popular type by far is the traditional Finnish type, followed by about 20% of the world respondents chose far infrared sauna. However, the statistics in Australia were a little bit different with far infrared making up at least 30% of the type of sauna that people chose. Now the most common adverse reactions are dizziness, dehydration, and headache. And as I've just mentioned, that happened to one of us. So it's something to be mindful of and look out for.
Now the favourable health benefits in this global sauna survey. And there's some fantastic information in here, but one of the really interesting features I wanted to highlight is that people experience better sleep. And nearly 40% of those people who were polled stated that this was one of the demonstrable benefits of sauna bathing. Now, if I drill down into one of the really important figures in this publication from the global sauna survey I have, there's a whole lot of health conditions that are presented in this graph. And so anyone who's listening to the podcast version of this, I'm going to paint a word picture of what this figure says. Essentially, it is a graph which is showing a whole range of different medical conditions that include chronic kidney, skin problems, chronic pain, fatigue, insomnia, thyroid issues, hypertension, back pain and that sort of thing. These are a whole bunch of medical conditions.
And what they did in the sauna survey is that they polled people for whether or not their symptoms were the same after sauna bathing, slightly better or much better. And I want to pick on four of the dominant statistics in this figure and highlight this. And the first one is that back pain is overwhelmingly much better after experiencing sauna bathing. The next thing is that you have respiratory benefits. And this is really, really important because certainly people who are exposed to moulds and other types of [inflammagins 00:12:41] in the air space certainly have upper and lower respiratory problems. And that this is a really serious impact. And certainly adult onset asthma from exposure to water damage buildings is a serious respiratory complaint. And so there's good evidence in this sort of survey to show you that respiratory complaints definitely improve in ... self reported as much better after sauna bathing.
But look what else. We also have a big increase in the mental health, self-reported mental health and last week we reviewed a whole lot of responses to those who are being treated for Gulf War illness and their mental health improves as well. And also motivation, daily motivation and ability to get things done. So all of that falls under the cluster of mental health. And again, this sauna survey reports similar statistics. And the last one I want to focus on is the cardiovascular benefits. And we're going to talk about this in depth in a minute. Moving onto cardiovascular benefits. Obviously everyone would be well aware about the adverse health from a sedentary lifestyle or a bad diet, which contributes to cardiovascular impacts. But there are a whole lot of other types of impacts that can affect one's heart health. And one of these is the induction of cardiovascular disease by what are called mitochondrion toxic agents.
And examples of this obviously include prescription and illicit drugs, which affect the way the heart beats, but also these things called exotoxins and mycotoxins and pesticides and other environmental toxins and pollutants fall into this category of toxic agents, which affect the ability of your cells to respiring. That's what the mitochondria do. And also another type of heart disease is inflammatory heart disease and a whole range of infections with bacteria and viruses and fungi and even parasites have an impact on the inflammation that can be seen in some heart patients. So these are the types of heart diseases which have been investigated and connected with the potential of sauna bathing to improve the cardiovascular outcomes. And so, one of the studies, which again I'm reviewing, which all of these sources are in the show notes to this live stream or the podcast. And what the scientists did is that far infrared saunas were applied to a group of people in the short term and it was 60 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, followed by a 30 minute rest in a warm environment.
They undertook sauna bathing five times per week for only two to four weeks. And guess what happened? Well, sauna bathing reduced their blood pressure, it reduced their risk from stroke, it improved neurocognitive disease outcomes, it improved and reduced the severity of influenza and the flu and it reduced inflammation. So there are some fantastic cardiovascular benefits and the peer reviewed literature on [inaudible 00:16:29] that you can source in many cases for free demonstrates a very strong link between sauna bathing and positive cardiovascular health outcomes. Now I want to move on to niacin because I briefly touched on the role of niacin last week in the modality of treating Gulf War illness participants. And this really is a fundamental component of the Hubbard method. And the Hubbard method is one approach to sauna bathing, which is showing some really good results, at least in the Gulf War illness per cohort, and I want to just review what niacin is.
Well, niacin is a B group vitamin. In fact, it's a B3 vitamin. It is like most B vitamins, it is found in food. It's certainly not readily synthesized by our own bodies. So we need to take in exogenous or additional vitamin B supplementation for this particular protocol if you are considering, using niacin and combining this with sauna bathing. Essentially the B group vitamins are considered non-toxic except for niacin, which at high doses is toxic. So in all cases, if you are considering using niacin and saunas, I encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider or your medical doctor. As I've said throughout this series, I'm a microbiologist. My interest in this is purely scientific, all the information I'm providing to you is for educational purposes only. And I am reviewing what the academic literature states with regard to the potential therapeutic intervention of a lot of these modalities of saunas plus nutritional supplementation to actually improve or help you.
However, I'm not stating that you must do this. I'm stating that the academic literature is there to support beneficial outcomes for a lot of these issues that I'm discussing. Now, niacin, if you look this up on the internet, you're going to find a whole lot of synonyms or different words that which are all connected to components of niacin. So niacin might also be called nicotinic acid. It is a water soluble vitamin and there are derivatives to this B vitamin called NADH, NAD, NAD+ and all of these play an essential role in energy metabolism and in DNA repair. And there are other moieties of niacin called nicotineamide and there's great literature out there about nicotineamide being used in mice for anti-aging properties, but today we're only talking about niacin or B3 and its connection with sauna bathing.
Now, I've got a couple of ball and stick diagrams and different chemical formulas for niacin up on screen, it's a very interesting molecule! I want to talk now about where niacin has also been applied and used. And certainly one of the neurodegenerative illnesses, which has very profound implications for people is multiple sclerosis. And this happens to people by central nervous system, demyelinisation and this leads to a loss of sensation and movement. And this demyelinisation essentially your nerve fibers have a mile and sheath around them. And if that becomes broken down or damaged, there is, as I said, a loss of sensation and movement over time. Now in the brain and spinal cord, approximately 10 to 15% of the cells are made up of something called microglia. And these microglia are intimately associated with not only multiple sclerosis, but the target of niacin and niacin up-regulates something called CD36. And this has been shown to induce something called phagocytosis in culture. And this is really, really important.
Now, this complicated term phagocytosis really is connected to the elimination and excretion of toxic byproducts or protein byproducts. So if you can imagine a nerve fiber or a cluster of nerve fibers with a sheath of myelin around them. Now essentially if it's broken down or damaged, there is cells in the body, these microglia that are responsible for eliminating the more toxic components and so niacin essentially improves the ability of these microglia to fix themselves. And so what one of the papers is saying is that in mice that have been deliberately demyelinated so that they have multiple sclerosis symptoms, when therapeutically relevant doses of B3 or niacin were applied, they noted that this promoted myelin debris clearance in lesions leading to a repair function in the treated mice. And isn't that an important statement, an important piece of research and anyone who is considering using niacin for detoxification, be well aware that there are persons who suffer MS (multiple sclerosis) certainly fall into the category of people who need to be aware of other environmental triggers such as mould and water damaged buildings.
And this is one of the primary reasons why I wanted to highlight this role or aspect of niacin supplementation this week. Now, so a few more things I want to say about niacin as well. Some of the conclusions from these papers stated that niacin represents a safe and translationally amenable regenerative therapy for chronic demyelinating diseases such as MS, very important to recognize that. Furthermore, it is thought to work through anti-inflammatory properties and this is really important to be aware of that since earlier publications focus on the anti-inflammatory component and connecting this with the re-myelinizating phenomena seen in the nerve cells. Now, I want to move on to another group of neurodegenerative diseases called Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. And if you consult various publications you'll get different statistics concerning the numbers of people on the planet who suffer from these. In 2015, it is reported that approximately 30 million people worldwide have Alzheimer's disease, whereas Parkinson's disease affects approximately six million. That is a huge number of individuals.
The majority of people with this illness are usually over the age of 50 years. Alzheimer's typically presents as a progressive decline in memory, language and problem solving. The brains of Alzheimer's patients, there is evidence of something called plaques, which is a little bit similar to the issues that MS patients face, but the plaques are also protein based and they appear in the brains of affected patients. And also something called intra-neuronal tangling, and essentially this means that when cells replicate, they become tangled and in a sense they misfold. And so, there all sorts of brain problems which occur in these two types of neurodegenerative diseases. Parkinson's disease is a different type of neurodegenerative disease and essentially this is exemplified by tremors, gait balance disturbances and slower movements. And there are very similar toxicity reactions seen in the brains of both types of cohorts.
Now, what do we know about these neurodegenerative diseases? Well, obviously they're affecting the motor control of your body as also the cognitive capacity of the brain to actually solve problems and deal with the world. It mostly affects those over the age of 50. It's a very common neurodegenerative disease and it essentially causes proteins in the brain to become damaged. So they become not misfiled as I've put up on there, but misfolded so proteins fold and then they can aggregate into lesions and think of them as really unwanted scabs within the brain, which cause all sorts of problems with the effective nerve firing within the brain to transmit signals to allow us to think and move and all of that. Now, saunas tend to do something by up regulating something called heat shock proteins. And if all you remember from today's presentation is this term heat shock proteins, it's very important in the control of these near degenerative diseases because if there is a way of increasing the numbers of heat shock proteins, there could be a therapeutic approach to treating these two types of diseases.
And sauna bathing has been shown to statistically significantly increase the regulation and expression of a heat shock proteins. And as my partner said, after she came out of the sauna, it felt like an endurance race. Essentially putting this stress on the body leads to adaptation and the body then produces not only changes in its hormonal profiling but also changes in the types of proteins that are expressed within our bodies. And this class of heat shock proteins is very, very important to the control of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. And if we drill into the benefits of sauna bathing for this ... affecting the positive health outcomes in these two types of cohorts or patients, there is excellent evidence showing that body warming effected through sauna bathing is very useful for people with neurodegenerative diseases. And there are essentially four things that sauna bathing is doing, taking it from top to bottom, going in a clockwise order, protein homeostasis.
Essentially this means how can sauna bathing actually affect the range of proteins that are being produced within the body. And the number one benefit is that the stress on the body increases the number and levels of heat shock proteins and reduces the aggregation and toxicity of these plaques within the brain and to a lesser extent the spinal cord. Furthermore, heating has very good outcomes for muscle hypertrophy and also increases in straight. And so another group of people that benefit significantly from sauna bathing are athletes but your muscles too tend to become stronger under the influence of heat. Furthermore, the stress on the body changes the glycemic index and this has quite profound implications on essentially the insulin use within the brain and sauna bathing increases the dilation of the blood vessels throughout the body but most significantly in the brain. And the stiffness of the capillary and venous system also reduces under the heat stress, and this has a big impact on hypertension or blood pressure.
So the literature clearly demonstrates very significant benefits from sauna bathing. I now want to talk about something called Waon therapy and chronic fatigue because chronic fatigue is intimately connected, leased to many people with exposure to mould and water damaged buildings. And chronic fatigue can be defined as a persistent and relapsing fatigue that is not relieved by resting. The literature suggests that it may involve cognitive impairments and there is a definite connection with reduced cardiac output and this thing called oxidative stress. And if you consult any Facebook groups regarding chronic fatigue, you are probably going to encounter an expert by the name of Eric Johnson who has a lot to say about the origins of chronic fatigue. It's connection with mould and mycotoxins and this issue of chronic fatigue is a very serious one and affects many people. Jump online if you want to find out more about what Eric Johnson has to say about chronic fatigue.
Today, I want to focus exclusively on this particular paper that came out regarding heating or Waon therapy. And essentially in the medical literature, the approach to treating people with chronic fatigue really is cognitive behavioral therapy and exercise. And this doesn't always work. Now, Waon therapy is defined as soothing warm therapy. It is different to traditional wet or steam saunas and uses the infrared modality to treat chronic fatigue syndrome patients and the differences that you rest after the application of the sauna heat under a blanket for 30 minutes. Now, what does the literature say about applying this methodology to a small group of chronic fatigue patients? They were given saunas plus the resting protocol for four weeks and after the four week period, their levels of fatigue gradually reduced over the course of the therapy. The negative mood anxiety levels and depression scores were also improved and their levels of daily activity improved.
Now this is the first publication that came out about using heat therapy, sauna bathing for treatment of chronic fatigue, but wait, there is more. There is another publication that came out more recently and what these scientists did is they looked at how the cerebral blood flow or the CBF changed before and after sauna treatment, and this is a really a landmark publication and what they did, they, again, it's only on a small number of patients, but the disease duration of chronic fatigue was between eight and 129 months. What they found is that they did brain imaging and looked for abnormal cerebral blood flow patterns before and after sauna bathing, and what they found was really remarkable. They found that in chronic fatigue syndrome patients that there were abnormalities in the cerebral functioning in the prefrontal region, the orbital frontal region and the right temporal lobe of chronic fatigue patients. So this is from a scientist point of view, this is a really good because you can localize some brain abnormalities with the experience of the adverse health symptoms.
And what did they find? Well they found that the Waon or sauna therapy improved the cerebral function and symptoms in chronic fatigue patients by increasing the regional cerebral blood flow. So this vasodilation effect of sauna bathing seems to be implicated in providing a solution or some approach to a solution for the treatment of chronic fatigue patients. And their publication reproduces some of the brain imaging showing that there are very clear differences between the before and after in the amount of blood flow within the brain. And apparently this then leads to more positive health outcomes for this group of patients. So the take home message here is sauna bathing leads to improved cerebral blood flow, which is then linked with a reduction in fatigue.
Now, it wouldn't be a regular show if I didn't review some of the key publications that have either come out this week or had been brought to my attention that have just appeared in the peer reviewed literature. And I want to go over two of these today. And the first one I want to go over, I'll just change this now, is something dear to my heart. Obviously I focus on water damage buildings. I've got a keen interest in the health implications of those people who are exposed to water damage buildings. Many of my clients and referred patients from other health care practitioners and clinics have chronic fatigue syndrome, have all the hallmarks of toxic exposure to something. And it's not always mould, but certainly for the cohorts of people that I meet, usually it is something exposed in their buildings. And so this publication just came out pretty much this week. And it's a really fantastic publication. It focuses on the legal aspects of housing. And yes, it is in the United States, but it is definitely applicable to other social problems which we have in other parts of the world, like Australia.
I published a paper maybe a year and a half ago, two years ago, focusing on water damage in building disputes and that was focusing on the VCAT case law. And this publication in America is focusing on the social ramifications of law because the whole point of having public health changes that need to be enacted into legislation or guidelines or laws, is to improve public health. And this particular publication is talking about this. However, what they've done is that they went around the different States of the USA and they looked at the different rules that apply to housing. And they focused and they discovered that housing discrimination is very rife throughout the country despite regulation. They looked at the landlord tenant legal responsibility. And they unfortunately concluded that there was little evidence that despite most of the States of America having positive landlord tenant laws, that these laws weren't especially effective at reducing housing hazards.
And this is a real nightmare because why have laws if they don't benefit people? And the take home message of the paper essentially stating that there needs to be really some way of ensuring that when these tenant housing laws are applied, that for example, the tenant actually benefits or that the fines are actually imposed on the landlord. So there's a disconnect between the laws that are in place and their application. And I think that this is a fundamental problem and this particular paper is a really important because eventually these types of academic publications find their way into policy modifications and improvements, and that can only be a good thing for society as a whole and for all the stakeholders. And landlords take note, eventually you'll be taken to task if you don't maintain your building.
And the last publication which I read with extreme interest this week came out in a journal called Microorganisms and it came out at the very end of 2019. And the focus on this publication is really, really important because the outcome of many people's ... The end goal after water damage and mould development inside a building is usually some type of remediation or restoration. And this is what will happen to you if your building is covered by insurance. Eventually restores will come in and they will make a valiant effort to restore the building to a condition one or a normal MALDI ecology. Now, this publication is reviewing a building, a five story office building that had a long history of rain water leaks and sewerage leaks. And it is a mechanically ventilated building. And what that means is that rather than opening windows, the air is filtered and brought into the building and re-circulates throughout the building.
Now, this building also took on a lot more staff over its life and the paper talks about the fact that the ventilation system was mechanically not capable of dealing with all the excess people that were now working in this building, but it is reported that over a period of 11 years, very minor fixes were attempted to this building to stop the rain water getting in, to stop the sewerage overflows. But there was an increasing number of adverse worker health symptoms and really this didn't get better at all. And eventually a major renovation occurred. The dust within the building was measured and it was shown to have very high levels of toxins in it. And this paper is very interesting because it assesses toxicity in a different way using the actual a toxin score against a cell line rather than measures of mould spores per cubic meter for example.
Unfortunately when the restoration or the remediation of this water damage building occurred, there was minimal worker protection. That is, the workers remained onsite during the renovation and there was in a sense limited control to limit the cross contamination of these toxic dusts. Now of the 290 staff that worked in this building, 7% of them developed something called new onset asthma. And even worse, one year later, 62% of those individuals still had moderate asthma. And this publication highlights the extreme risks that can befall the stakeholders when a restoration or renovation eventually is undertaken at any building that has suffered water damage and has a history of mould and adverse occupants symptoms. And so I suggest that this is must read, must read and distribute material that needs to be brought to the attention of anyone in authoritative control of a building because it's all well and good that renovation or restoration is undertaken at a building. But if it's not done with appropriate containment to minimize exposure to staff, then you can expect further unwanted health problems.
So it was a shame as well that those seven or 7% of people had a very poor response to inhaled corticosteroids. So essentially they weren't treatable. And so this is one of the outcomes from a poorly managed renovation and restoration. So take heed those in control of managing a renovation or restoration that needs to be undertaken with due diligence, extreme care, and care for all those steps and engineering controls that can minimize cross contamination. In any case, my name is Dr. Cameron Jones. As I said, I'm an environmental microbiologist. Next week I will be talking about some more science and practical issues regarding mould and water damage. I hope you have a great week and I'll see you next week, bye for now.