Does Sweat Actually Release Toxins?

We're about to bust this myth...Detoxifying S-W-E-A-T? Serve Yoga to the answer.


We are equipped with two kind of sweat glands:

1) Eccrine Glands: Located all over your body, primary function is to regulate body temperature. Sweating is actually a response triggered by the brain, where the hypothalamus is located. The hypothalamus acts as your body's thermostat of sorts. As your core temperature rises, your hypothalamus triggers the eccrine glands to produce moisture which you see emerge on the skin's surface.

2) Apocrine Glands: Only exist in certain areas (armpits, navel, ear canal, eyelids, wings of the nostril, perianal region, and some parts of the external genitalia) & respond to stress & simulation. The secretions from apocrine glands may contain a few extra additives, such as proteins and fatty acids, but in general, all sweat contains the same primary ingredients: mostly water, some sodium and chloride, and to a lesser extent, potassium.


  • The body does appear to sweat out toxic materials — heavy metals and bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in plastics, for instance, have been detected in sweat. "But there’s no evidence that sweating out such toxins improves health." The concentration of metals detected in sweat are extremely low. Sweat is 99 percent water. The liver and kidneys remove far more toxins than sweat glands. (New York Times)

  • Imbeault, an exercise physiologist, found that a typical person doing 45 minutes of high-intensity exercise a day could sweat a total of two liters a day—normal background perspiration included—& all that sweat would contain less than one-tenth of a nanogram of these pollutants. To put that in perspective, “the amount in sweat is 0.02 percent of what you ingest every day on a typical diet,” Imbeault says. (National Geographic)

  • Though you do lose electrolytes when you sweat, perspiration contains only trace amounts of any type of toxins. (How Stuff Works)

  • Sweat is made up of 99 percent water and small bits of carbs, salts, protein and urea It is NOT made up of toxins. The kidneys and liver are the organs responsible for detoxing your body (not the sweat glands). They accomplish their important task during your time on the toilet. "In other words, you’ll do more detoxifying in the bathroom than you’ll ever do in the yoga studio." (Huffington Post)


Okay, so maybe sweating doesn't release toxins But yoga definitely fosters detoxing as a whole. Specific postures such as Wind Relieving Pose (Pavana Muktasana), Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana) & Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) to name a few, facilitate digestion & promote functionality of organs such as your kidneys, liver & intestines.

According to Iyengar, twisting the spine compresses muscles and organs, which blocks the flow of blood. When you release the pose, blood flows back into those areas bringing with it nutrients and improving circulation. (CBS News)

All efforts to improve flexibility approach tightened muscles are caused by years of stress, emotional trauma & the appropriation of unwanted life experiences to your body for processing. Yes! We open up these muscles by 'letting go' & discharging of the tension we hold using the breath. Can you say detox?

The practice has countless health benefits to our overall biological processes and yoga is one big detox. Whether you are sweating or not, yoga is one big exhale of unwanted toxic thoughts, feelings & experiences. Let Serve Yoga show you exactly how.

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