We love our quick fixes (see Slim Fast, the Cabbage Soup Diet or any other single-food weight-loss plan). It's no wonder, then, that Americans are willing to spend some cash to wash away our toxic sins.
If you're a sushi eater, you now know you're chock full of mercury. If you're a fruit fan, goodness knows you've ingested some pesticides. Wouldn't you like to rid yourself of those toxins?
Many pills, patches, and diets claiming to cleanse your body have been introduced to the market, and the LA Times covers the latest toxin-flushing trendinfrared saunas. The company, Sunlight Saunas, claims its home saunas, which use infrared heat that can reach 140 degrees, can induce weight loss, pain relief, and toxin secretion through your pores. The Times quotes the company's website, which says: "sweat carries toxins out of the body and pushes [them] out of the pores."
The reporter talks to 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. Dr. Glaser reports that, "Sweat does contain trace amounts of toxins." But, she adds, "Sweating for the sake of sweating has no benefits. Sweating heavily is not going to release a lot of toxins."
Donald Smith, a professor of environmental toxicology at UC Santa Cruz, who studies treatments for metal poisoning, says that sweating definitely won't help clear the body of mercury or other metals. That process is done naturally through the excretory system.
Rather than spend $6,000 for a sit-down Sunlight Sauna (or $2,000 for a lie-down one), focus on taking care of your liver and kidneys, our organs that act as the body's natural filters. Dr. Glaser tells the paper that heavy sweating can impair your body's natural detoxification system. 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.
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