By The Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio, March 28, 2014
Here are two compelling articles about detoxification. Both make the point that exercise, not simply sweating, is the way to purify your system.
From The Los Angeles Times, January 28th, 2008:
The bottom line: Sweat does contain trace amounts of toxins, says Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, a professor of dermatology at St. Louis University and founding member of the International Hyperhidrosis Society, a medical group dedicated to the study and treatment of heavy sweating.
But, Glaser, adds, in the big picture, sweat has only one function: Cooling you down when you overheat. "Sweating for the sake of sweating has no benefits," she says. "Sweating heavily is not going to release a lot of toxins."
In fact, Glaser says, heavy sweating can impair your body's natural detoxification system. As she explains, the liver and kidneys -- not the sweat glands -- are the organs we count on to filter toxins from our blood. If you don't drink enough water to compensate for a good sweat, dehydration could stress the kidneys and keep them from doing their job. "If you're not careful, heavy sweating can be a bad thing," she says.
Sweating definitely won't help clear the body of mercury or other metals, says Donald Smith, a professor of environmental toxicology at UC Santa Cruz, who studies treatments for metal poisoning. Almost all toxic metals in the body are excreted through urine or feces, he says. And less than 1% are lost through sweat. In other words, you'll do far more detoxifying in the bathroom than you ever could in a sauna.
And this is from an article published on the National Public Radio webpage. The article is interesting and well written, and also makes the same conclusion…if you really want to detox, you need to exercise:
It's true there are plenty of very real toxins in the environment we could be exposed to: the ultrafine particulate matter we inhale from dirty air, asbestos from old homes, or heavy metals like lead or mercury. Unfortunately, there's really no easy way to get these toxins out. Chelation therapy may work for some metals, but particulates in our lungs are probably there to stay, says Mishori. "A lot of these are irreversible," she says.
So why, despite the science, does the idea of cleansing with food remain so powerful? "We live in an era where there are daily assaults on our psyche and body, so cleansing may give you a false sense of getting the gunk out," says Mishori. As for psychological gunk? Try a little exercise and nature, she says.
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