Can you really sweat out toxins?
These days you see the word “detox” on just about anything (and yes, at kaia naturals we use it to describe a process you go through when transitioning from antiperspirant to deodorant). A common misconception however, is that sweating cleanses your organs and gets rid of toxins. While sweat does provide certain health benefits, there is no scientific evidence that proves sweating detoxes your organs. To better understand what sweating actually does, I am going to give you a breakdown of what happens to your body when you sweat.
What’s In Sweat
Sweat is actually made up of 99% water, and 1% trace elements of sodium chloride (salt), lactic acid and urea.
The Journal of Environmental & Public Health states that there is some validity to sweating minuscule amounts of metals from your body, but sweating is not an effective means of excreting toxins.
How Sweating Actually Works
Sweating serves as an air conditioner for your body. Fluids are released from the two to four million sweat glands that control your body temperature. Most of them are eccrine glands, which are found in the feet, palms, forehead, cheeks, and armpits. They release a clear and odorless fluid that helps your body cool down through evaporation.
The other type of sweat gland are apocrine glands and can be found in the armpits and genital regions. They produce a thick liquid that causes body odor when it comes into contact with bacteria.
These glands are activated by nerves and respond to the following stimuli:
- Messages from the brain indicating that the body is too hot
- Physical activity or exercise
Image by Li Sun
The Way Your Body Actually Detoxes
Detoxification actually occurs in your kidneys and liver, which are not linked to sweating. That is why charcoal only works as a form of detoxification when you ingest it in the form of a pill after a hard night of drinking or when a doctor or pharmacist prescribe it for poison control. As a topical application, charcoal has the ability to draw out impurities from your pores but not to detox internal organs unless ingested.
The True Benefits of Sweating
Sweating simply does not remove toxins in your bloodstream the same way your kidneys and liver do. That being said, sweating performs other important health functions, such as:
- Muscle Recovery: Sweating increases circulation throughout the skin and blood flow, which encourages cellular regeneration. This is why the sauna, a hot bath, and exercise are often used as forms of physical therapy for injuries.
- Supports Skin Health When our body temperature rises, it increases the blood flow to the skin. Over the long term, this will have a positive impact onskin health.
- Cardiovascular: Sweating promotes blood flow, which prevents plaque from forming in your arteries.
Looking at the Romans, the Turks, Native Americans and Scandinavians, sweating has been integral to wellness in many civilizations and cultures through the ages. There certainly is ancient wisdom and tried-and-true validity to its health benefits.
While sweating does not remove toxins from your body, there is plenty of scientific evidence from the medical community that embraces the health benefits of sweating as a form of cellular movement.
If you have any comments, questions and suggestions for articles you would like to see or learn more about, leave a comment below.
Feature Image by Anh Nguyen
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Formulated with activated charcoal which acts like a magnet to draw out toxins from your pores while also fighting odor-causing bacteria.