It may mean that your makeup runs, but breaking a sweat is the most cost-effective way to boost your natural detoxification abilities, no fasting or expensive protocols required! Whether you're working out inside or outside, or spending some time in a sauna, it doesn't matter, as long as you're sweating it seems to make the elimination of certain nasty toxins much easier (but stay hydrated!)
Sweating is a particularly good way of eliminating a class of toxins known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These include solvents, pesticides and fumigants - one of these pesticides being DDT, now banned in many countries. A study with 20 volunteers found that sweat contained a range of POPs, including DDT, DDE, endrin, endosulfan and methoxychlor. Sweat samples showed higher levels of POPs than blood or urine samples, which suggests that it may be the ideal way to detoxify from them. Some, such as DDT, were not found during blood or urine tests! Inconsistent, poor detoxification could mean that these are lingering inside the body, causing small but accumulating amounts of damage.
Another type of toxin that sweating could help to remove is the phthalates, which are found in plastic products. In another study, also with 20 volunteers, sweat samples showed different amounts of phthalates compared to urine or blood samples. All volunteers had MEHP in their blood, sweat and urine, but its concentration in sweat was double its concentration in urine. Some had the phthalate DEHP in their sweat, but not in their urine. Bisphenol A (BPA) is another increasingly unpopular toxin. In 16 out of the 20 participants, BPA was found in sweat, where 14 of the urine samples and 2 of the blood samples were positive for it.
Heavy metals are also of a great concern to many people. Once again, a study showed that many of these were excreted through sweat more than anywhere else. On average, when compared to urine, sweat contained 24 times more cadmium, 19 times more nickel, 16 times more lead and nearly triple the amount of aluminum. Sweat was more effective than urine at removing 14 of the 18 heavy metals. While any physical activity can make you sweat, even swimming, there is a difference between infrared and steam saunas in terms of their effects on heavy metal detoxification. Sweat from infrared saunas was found to contain more bismuth, cadmium, chromium, mercury and uranium. Steam saunas had more aluminum, arsenic, copper, cobalt, manganese, nickel, tin, thallium and lead. Overall, working up a sweat is worth smelling a bit and needing a shower afterwards. Just research the effects of these heavy metals! But if you need a more extensive and individualised approach to detoxifying, it is best to see a qualified naturopath.