This week from Dr. Cerami and Utah Sports and Wellness


From: Journal of Environmental and Public Health, October 2011

Quick Summary:

Although toxic elements are ever-present in our air, water, food and environment, toxin levels are often overlooked in spite of having consistent signs and symptoms of chronic disease. While every person has some level of toxic metals in their bodies due to lifetime exposures, there are ways to lower these levels by literally sweating out the toxins. This can be done with physical activity or with the use of a sauna.


Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury exposures are ubiquitous. These toxic elements have no physiological benefits, engendering interest in minimizing body burden. The physiological process of sweating has long been regarded as “cleansing” and of low risk. Reports of toxicant levels in sweat were sought in Medline, Embase, Toxline, Biosis, and AMED as well as reference lists and grey literature, from inception to March 22, 2011. Of 122 records identified, 24 were included in evidence synthesis. Populations, and sweat collection methods and concentrations varied widely. In individuals with higher exposure or body burden, sweat generally exceeded plasma or urine concentrations, and dermal could match or surpass urinary daily excretion. Arsenic dermal excretion was severalfold higher in arsenic-exposed individuals than in unexposed controls. Cadmium was more concentrated in sweat than in blood plasma. Sweat lead was associated with high-molecular-weight molecules, and in an interventional study, levels were higher with endurance compared with intensive exercise. Mercury levels normalized with repeated saunas in a case report. Sweating deserves consideration for toxic element detoxification. Research including appropriately sized trials is needed to establish safe, effective therapeutic protocols.

These authors also note:

  • “Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury have no known beneficial effect in ”
  • “Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury are “confirmed or probable carcinogens, and they exhibit wide ranging toxic effects on many bodily systems, including the nervous, endocrine, renal, musculoskeletal, immunological, and cardiovascular systems.”
  • “Children and the fetus are most at risk of harm [from exposure to these toxic elements], with early exposures potentially predisposing the youngster over his/her lifetime to multisystem ailments, as well as lower IQ and dysfunctional ”
  • “In older populations [exposure to these toxic elements], there is increased likelihood of early cognitive decline, as well as a range of conditions including kidney and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and ”
  • Cadmium accumulates in foods grown in locations with high levels fertilizer use, including shellfish, grains and brassicas (include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, choy sum, rutabaga, turnip).
  • “Tobacco avidly accumulates cadmium and lead from soil, making smoking a major source of ”
  • Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury are integral in many products, including electronics, batteries, and
  • The ill effects of these toxic elements are synergistic. “Renal toxicities of mixtures of lead plus mercury are greater than would be predicted knowing the toxicity dose response of the individual ”
  • All patients presenting with hypertension or any vascular disease should be assessed for
  • Increasing the thermal load on the body activates heat loss mechanisms including increased circulation throughout the skin and sweating.
  • A number of studies have shown the presence of toxic metals in sweat, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. “Sauna increased excretion with sweat,” and as such “sauna is ”
  • “Sweating should be the initial and preferred treatment of patients with elevated mercury urine ”
  • “Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury may be excreted in appreciable quantities through the skin,” which is enhanced with
  • Sweating may be a means of excretion of metals complexed with natural or synthetic chelating
  • “Vitamin E, zinc, and other nutrients are required for methylation and detoxification of arsenic within the ”
  • Sweating is a long-standing aspect of mercury