Did you know…
The average person has 2.6 million sweat glands in their body.
Here’s a few more interesting facts about sweating:
-Sweat glands are most concentrated on the bottom of our feet and least concentrated on our backs.
-Yellow underarm stains are caused by your apocrine glands, which contain proteins and fatty acids and thus make underarm secretions thick and milky.
-Hippo sweat is RED. They don’t have true sweat glands; instead, hippos secrete a thick, red substance from their pores known as “blood sweat,” as it looks like the animal is sweating blood. But not to worry! The blood sweat creates a layer of mucous that protects hippo skin from sunburn and keeps it moist.
-Eating can make you sweat; when you eat your metabolism increases, which boosts your body temperature. You then sweat in order to cool down.
-Primates and horses have armpits that sweat like human armpits.
-The Gatorade Sports Science Institute has found that in conditions of 85 degrees and 40% humidity, the average runner will lose 2 to 4 pounds of sweat an hour.
-About 3%of the population suffers from hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating.
-Sweat itself is odorless. It’s the bacteria on the skin that mingles with it and produces body odor.
-Men have slightly saltier sweat than women, and they also sweat, on average, 40% more than women.
-Cows sweat through their noses. They do not have very many active sweat glands, so their main way of losing heat is through their breath.
-A group of Swedish engineers has built a “Sweat Machine” that pulls the sweat out of damp clothing, and then purifies and filters it until it’s fit to drink.
-Vegetarians’ sweat smells better.
The Health Benefits of Sweating (Wellness Mama)
Here are 11 pretty incredible reasons why sweating is good for you… It can help:
1. Detox Heavy Metals
One of the primary functions of sweat is to cool the body down, but the other is detoxification. Despite some claims that detoxing through sweat is dangerous nonsense, there’s a lot of evidence to back up this function of sweat. One study found that those with mercury toxicity had their levels return to a safe amount after sweating sessions, as it also excretes arsenic, cadmium, and lead.
With China experiencing record level of industrial pollution, toxic heavy metal buildup is a major concern. A study of Chinese residents found that those who exercised more had fewer toxins in their body and that the elimination of heavy metals was more concentrated in sweat that urine. This seems to indicate that those who exercised had fewer toxins because they perspired more.
2. Help the Body Remove BPA, PCBs, and other Endocrine Disruptors
The endocrine disruptor BPA is commonly found in plastics and is one reason to avoid plastic as much as possible. Research shows BPA and its harmful effects are more effectively remedied through sweat than other detox routes.
In addition, studies show PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) found in older building materials and PBDES (a flame retardant chemical) excrete through sweat, not urine. (Also, taking niacin along with sweating can increase the mobilization of stored toxins.)
3. Promote Healthier Skin
Like the gut, our skin has its own microbiome balance. Sweat may act as a prebiotic that contributes to healthy skin bacteria. Deep sweating can also improve skin cell turnover and remove pathogenic bacteria from the skin to help with acne. (TIP: I also use this skin spray to keep my skin bacteria healthy and balanced)
4. Defeat Harmful Microbes
International studies have shown that sweating can cut our chance of getting the flu by one third! It turns out sweat contains some of the same antimicrobial proteins that are known to bind with certain bacteria and viruses in the body, including H. pylori, E. coli and HIV. These antimicrobial substances help flush out toxins and attack germs.
Research also shows that heat from a sauna helps to kill off infections and pathogenic viruses and quickens healing times.
What’s more, our sweat composition even changes depending on what toxins are in our body and if we have a specific condition or disease. In a study of people with tuberculosis, their sweat contained 26 unique proteins related to their immune function and transportation of proteins across membranes. This suggests our body intuitively knows what proteins to increase to get rid of the issue at hand.
5. Protect the Heart
Sweating through exercise or in the sauna increases circulation and strengthens the cardiovascular system. In a study of regular sauna goers, researchers found that those who had the most weekly sauna sessions were the least likely to have a negative cardiovascular event.
Saunas are also known to promote relaxation and stress relief, which are also good for the heart.
6. Speed Recovery After Exercise
Sweating boosts blood flow to the skeletal muscles. This helps to increase recovery time from illness, injury and muscle strain. Studies show sweating even boosts growth hormone production, which is the body’s way of repairing itself.
7. Lower Stress Hormones
Sweating activates the parasympathetic response in the body that allows us to relax, digest properly, and recover. Breaking a sweat in the sauna or through exercise helps to boost our happy hormone and relieve anxiety and depression. Cortisol and stress hormones reduce after sweating, while other adrenal hormones help maintain a proper electrolyte balance increase.
8. Decrease Risk of Alzheimer’s
Sweating is known to detox heavy metals from the body, promote relaxation, improve focus, and strengthen blood flow to the brain, all of which have benefits for Alzheimer’s prevention. Frequent sauna use decreased the risk of Alzheimer’s in one study of Finnish men by 65% compared to the group that only used the sauna once a week.
9. Boost Sexual Drive and Attraction
When sweat is excreted, it carries certain pheromones with it. While our noses may not be able to notice the scent, our brains do. One study found that when men excreted pheromones through sweat it improved both mood and focus as well as increased attraction from women. (Even though it seems like the opposite would be true!)
10. Reduce Menopause Symptoms
Estrogen dominance is thought to be the culprit behind menopausal hot flashes in women, but sweating may be the answer. Researchers found that women who got their heart rate up and sweated during menopause had fewer episodes of hot flashes.
11. Lower Risk of Kidney Stones
Interestingly, there’s another bonus to sweating more often. Although incidence of kidney stones in women over 50 has risen dramatically in recent years, researchers at the University of Washingtonfound the benefits of sweating through consistent exercise reduces this risk. Excess salt and calcium can form kidney stones over time, but sweating boosts the body’s natural balance and directs calcium to our bones instead.
Would you like to learn more about the importance of sweating and how it can improve your health and wellness? Check out the podcasts below and remember to use our search engine to search for subjects and past guests you may be interested in hearing.
Dr. Irvin Sahni – Two Keys To Attaining Optimal Health: Sweating and Moving the Lymph System – October 6, 2016
Anita Warren – The Sauna Detox Program: Niacin + Exercise + Sweating = Purification – March 22, 2016
Jana Wilson – Far Infrared: The Light that Gives Life – The Relax Far Infrared Ray Sauna Benefits Explained in Detail – April 4, 2013