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Does Exercise Really Detoxify the Body?

Posted Feb 10 2012 4:39pm

Detoxing has become as much of a buzz word as the tools used to do it including hot yoga, spinning, and just about anything else that makes you lose your body weight in sweat. It seems on the surface that sweating would push toxins out of the body, but the true mechanics aren’t so simple. 

One study  recently found that exercise does push waste out of the body but not through the avenue of sweat. Cells accumulate flotsam from day to day living. Flotsam is broken down from proteins, shreds of cellular membranes, invasive viruses, and bacteria. The energy that these parts of the cell produce is sort of like the  waste dump of the cell.

Autophagy  is when the cells break that waste down and convert it to energy. Their ability to make that conversion is what keeps us healthy. A faulty system is what can cause diseases like diabetes, muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and simple aging. And autophagy is fed by starving the cells. New studies on mice are showing that starving the cells through exercise aids that autophagy process and pushes cellular waste out of the body. Stimulating autophagy even helped to reverse diabetes by pushing accumulated toxins out of the body.

Sweating and Detoxification

While we tend to think sweating is responsible for pushing toxins out of the body, once you’re aware of how sweating works, it becomes a lot less viable.  Sweating is actually triggered by the brain. The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating temperature in the body. When the body heats up it stimulates the eccrine glands, which produce moisture on the skin’s surface.The arproctine glands exist only in certain areas of the body like the armpits and the navel. 

More:  7 Step Guide to a Full Mind/Body Detox

Both types of glands react when our body gets hot, but the actual sweat only contains water, sodium, chloride, potassium, and very small amounts of toxins. Most of the flitering has to be done by ensuring that your liver and kidneys are in the best shape possible because their primary role is filtering toxins. 

So while at the cellular level, exercise has been shown to help detoxify the body, sweating isn't responsible for an significant loss in toxins. 

Photo: Creatas

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More on Detoxing
Detox Diet: What You Need to Know 
Epsom Salt Bath Treatments 
Sara Snow Detox Tips: Sara Snow Detox Your Home 

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