April 16 2018
The pressure to succeed got the best of me—until I learned to race without fear.
You’ve no doubt seen numerous classes, usually of the yogic variety, promising to “sweat out the toxins”—but is that even possible? Of course, like most things dealing with human physiology, the truth is a little more complicated.
Related: Is Sweating Harmful For Your Skin?
According to Dr. Harriet A. Hall, a retired family physician and former Air Force flight surgeon, who edits the website Science-Based Medicine and is a co-author of Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions, the body does appear to sweat out toxic materials like heavy metals and some chemicals (Bisphenol A, or BPA) found in plastics. However, Dr. Hall does caution, “The claims for the benefits of saunas and other sweat-inducing treatments are not backed by science,” and “the concentration of metals detected in sweat are extremely low.”
Sweat is 99 percent water; how much toxicity can it actually even hold? Also, the liver and kidneys do all the heavy lifting when it comes to toxin removal, flushing away far more than sweat glands can.
There are plenty of health benefits to getting a good sweat on a daily basis, but ridding your body of toxins is very low on the list. If you worry more about what you put into your body in terms of food and drink, then you can worry less about what you sweat out.