What are the benefits of sweating?

What are the benefits of sweating?

Sweating, also called perspiration, is a bodily function which helps you regulate your body temperature. It is the discharge of a salt-based fluid from sweat glands. Normal sweating can occur during exercise, emotional stress, on hot days, or even when consuming a spicy dish.

Also, changes in your body temperature, the outside temperature, or emotional state can cause sweating. The common areas of sweating on your body include;

  • armpits
  • face
  • palms of the hands
  • soles of the feet

Most of the time, when we think of sweating, words like hot and gummy come to mind. But beyond that impression, there are many health benefits of sweating, like;

  • physical exertion benefits from exercise
  • detox of heavy metals
  • elimination of chemicals
  • bacterial cleansing

Sweating during exercise

Sweating often go along with physical exertion. It regulates your body temperature when you are exercising or in warm temperatures. In certain cases, exercise translates into numerous health benefits comprising;

  • boosting your energy
  • maintaining an ideal healthy weight
  • defending against different diseases and health conditions
  • improving your mood
  • promoting good sleep

Heavy metals detox

There are different opinions on the detoxification of heavy metals through sweat. However, a 2016 study in China showed that the levels of most heavy metals were lesser in those individuals who exercised regularly.

Heavy metals were found in the sweat and urine with a higher concentration in the sweat. This leads to the conclusion that, together with urinating, sweating is a possible way for the removal of heavy metals from the body. It is also involved in the elimination of certain chemicals from your body, like;

BPA elimination

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical which is used in the manufacturing of certain plastics and resins. Exposure to BPA may have possible health effects on your behavior and brain with a possible link to increased blood pressure.

A 2011 study found that sweating is an effective elimination route for BPAs. Moreover, sweat is also a tool for BPA bio-monitoring.

PCB elimination

Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs are man-made organic chemicals. It has been found that they cause a number of adverse health effects. A 2013 article in ISRN Toxicology showed that sweat could have an important role in removing certain PCBs from your body.

It also specified that sweating did not help you to clear the most common perfluorinated compounds (PCBs) found in the human body;

  • perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS)
  • perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)

Bacterial cleansing

A 2015 review proposes that the glycoproteins present in sweat bind to bacteria, helping elimination from the body. However, this article appeals for more study into microbial adhesion in sweat and its effect on skin infections.

It has also been found that when we sweat, our skin produces a protein. This protein, dermcidin, can kill a range of bacteria.

What exactly is sweat?

Sweat or perspiration, is mainly water with small amounts of chemicals, like;

  • ammonia
  • urea
  • salts
  • sugar

Sweating is a way through which your body cools itself. When your internal body temperature increases, sweat glands release water to your skin surface. When the sweat evaporates, it cools your skin and blood beneath your skin.

In reality, sweat itself doesn’t smell. The smell is from what the sweat mixes with bacteria which live on your skin or hormone secretions from areas such as your armpits.

Takeaway

Sweating is a natural bodily function when you exercise or have a fever. Though we associate sweat with temperature control, sweat also has various other benefits like helping you to clear heavy metals, PCBs and BPA from your body.

Sweating either excessively or too little can specify a medical problem. Sweating in conjunction with other signs and symptoms may also indicate a health condition. Lifestyle adjustments can help you accommodate your sweating. If this is not enough, consult your physician.

 

 

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The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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