Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

June 5, 2023

Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D presented this week at the Institute for Functional Medicine's Annual International Conference in Florida. The discussion was a deep dive into heat as a therapeutic modality for health enhancement.

Sweating is a very important tool that the human body and most mammals use to eliminate unwanted stuff.

In this case, the body primarily is eliminating heat and toxins via liquid sweat.  

When we exercise vigorously or it is a hot day or we find ourselves overheating while fighting an infection, sweat will pour from our skin through glands and an endothermic reaction. The water that is released caries heat from the body with it. It evaporates into the air liberating the heat and thus cooling the body.  

In this sweated liquid are electrolytes and toxins. Primarily, the sweat fluid has a natural release of small amounts of sodium and to an even lesser extent, potassium and calcium. This fluid will also facilitate the release of chemicals that the body does not like. 

Dr. S. Genius and colleagues analyzed sweat versus blood and urine for toxic elements and stated: "Many toxic elements appeared to be preferentially excreted through sweat. Presumably stored in tissues, some toxic elements readily identified in the perspiration of some participants were not found in their serum. Induced sweating appears to be a potential method for elimination of many toxic elements from the human body." (Genius S. et. al. 2011)

Chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins that are released through sweat provide a major relief for the liver, kidneys and cellular detox mechanisms. These organs can get a much needed rest from the constant work related to detoxification from the toxic world that we reside in. 

It is clear that sweating is a necessary tool for human cellular protection through the removal of excess heat and toxic burdens. The act of sweating when hot also turns on a cassette of genes called heat shock proteins, HSP, that are associated with longevity. 

These proteins are actually produced in response to all kinds of stressors making them a class of stress response proteins that are upregulated transcriptionally in most cells in the body. They have a primary function of helping to repair damaged proteins and cells by refolding them into functional shapes. This refolding event reestablishes the cells function and is the primary reason it improves longevity. The HSP's reduce protein aggregation which is important for neurodegenerative diseases where amyloid and tau plaques are laid down in response to inflammation and infection.

Genomic Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, SNP, for heat shock proteins are associated with a 2 year increase in longevity if your SNP is homozygous for the HSP70 gene which increase the function. (Singh et. al. 2010)

Heat has a major effect on metabolism by increasing heart pump activity by increasing heart rate and stroke volume. It affects the body about the same as mild intensity exercise with a 100 wattage output workout which is like zone 1 activity. Heat exposure increases vasodilation and vascular compliance which is the change in vascular tone based on blood pressure where more compliance is better. There is also evidence that sauna use/heat exposure increases heart rate variability.

Heat exposure on a consistent basis leads to decreases in cardio metabolic disease issues.

Bottom line: Sweating is an elimination event that the body needs routinely to perform at peak ability. Get out and exercise in the heat, go to a sauna and generally stress your body for it's growth.  

Read the information below by the brilliant researcher, Rhonda Patrick. It is worth your time. 

Stress is good if it is short and targeted, 

Dr. M

Genius Arch Env Contam Tox

Sears J Environ and Public Health

Scientific American

Bakthisaran Biochim Biophys

Laukkanen Mayo Clinic Proceedings

Found my Fitness Podcast with Dr. Laukkanen

Singh Current Pharm Des

Rhonda Patrick Webpage