Mythbuster: Does Sweating Really Release Toxins from Your Body?

by Jessica Smith, REDBOOK

It's a health claim you've likely heard often in praise of saunas, sweat suits and hot yoga: sweating helps your body release toxins.

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So, is this really true? To a certain degree, yes. But certainly not to the extent most Bikram yoga devotees want to make you believe that it is. "Only about 1 percent of any toxin will be released from the sweat glands," notes Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Alabama. "Sweating does not release toxins. The powerhouse for detoxifying our bodies is the liver."

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And sweating too much without properly rehydrating may actually have the reverse effect on your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of dehydration include constipation and decreased urine output - thereby slowing down our body's two main avenues of excreting toxins.

Looking for a more effective way to improve your health by 'releasing toxins' from your body? Make sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet, recommends Olson. "Whenever we have a bowel movement, we release many toxins."

Related: 10 Ways to Beat Belly Bloat

Jessica Smith is a certified fitness lifestyle expert and creator of the 10 Pounds Down DVD series.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.