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10 Facts We Never Knew About Sweat

man sweating in sauna

We all know that sweating is necessary to cool our bodies down, but did you know that there are some pretty strange sweat facts out there? From how much we sweat during exercise the types of people who sweat the most, here are some fascinating tidbits about our sweat that you probably never knew! So read on and be sure to share these bizarre sweat facts with your friends – they’ll be amazed!

People sweat from exercise, heat, and stress … but stress sweat smells the worst

When we sweat from exercise or heat, the sweat is mostly made of water. But stress sweat is different. When you’re under stress, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol. This hormone triggers your apocrine glands (located in the armpits and groin) to secrete a sweat that is full of proteins and fats, which mix with bacteria to create the odor. 

You’re sweating 2 tubs of sweat a year if you exercise regularly

On average we sweat about 0.8 to 1.4 liters per hour of exercise. This means, if you’re getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day, your sweating about 40 – 70 gallons a year, or about 1 – 2 full bathtubs. 

Drinking alcohol can make your sweat smell like vinegar

Your body treats alcohol like a toxin and the liver can only metabolize so much. The rest is removed through a process called oxidation, which breaks down the toxins into carbon dioxide, water, and diacetic acid that comes out in our sweat, as well as urine and breathe. That vinegar-like odor we smell is mostly the diacetic acids.

The meat sweats are real

Well, it turns out that there may be some science to back up the claim that meat sweats are real. Proteins are extremely complex molecules that require a lot more energy to metabolize than fats or carbohydrates. So, when you eat a lot of protein-rich foods, your body has to work harder to break them down. This process requires the production of energy and heat, which can lead to sweating

The average person has between two and four million sweat glands

That’s right, we have a lot of sweat glands. But not all of them are evenly distributed throughout the body. The palms of our hands and soles of our feet have the highest density. These areas have up to four times as many sweat glands as other parts of the body. The body part with the least number of sweat glands is the back. 

Sweating helps eliminate toxins from heavy metals and chemicals

Trace amounts of heavy metals and chemicals can still make their way into our air, water, soil . . . and bodies. Although you might not sweat out as much of these toxins as you think, studies do show that sweating can eliminate heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, and lead, as well as chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) and Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). While science still looks for more solid proof, I’ll just sweat it out.

For sweat to cool you down, it needs to evaporate and turn into gas

We often think of sweat, which is 90% water, as the stuff that makes us cool, but it’s actually the evaporation of sweat itself that cools us down. The heat needed for evaporation is pulled from the sweat on your skin and just below the surface, resulting in a heat transfer from the liquid to gas. To help your body cool down, don’t wipe off your sweat just let it evaporate and work its magic. 

Sweating is good for your heart

When we sweat from exercise or sauna, our heart rate increases, and blood vessels dilate, which helps to improve circulation and strengthen our overall cardiovascular system. Additionally, the increase in heart rate helps to deliver more oxygen to our muscles and organs, which can improve our overall energy levels. 

Sweating helps with muscle recovery

Sweating helps with muscle recovery by expelling metabolic waste like lactic acid. This increases your muscle’s ability to take in oxygen which aids in the repair process and speeds up recovery time. Some studies suggest even more benefits to sweating it out in a infrared sauna post-workout. Heat stress helps improve the circulation of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood speeds up nerve recovery and increases the production of growth hormones that can protect the body from further damage. But remember to drink lots of fluids and replace those electrolytes. 

Men and women sweat differently

This one might not come as a surprise, but men and women do in fact sweat differently. Studies have shown that men tend to sweat more than women, particularly during exercise. Men also have larger eccrine glands, which means they can produce more sweat. However, women’s sweat contains more concentration of fat and other nutrients than men’s. Additionally, women tend to sweat more evenly throughout the body while men tend to sweat more on the upper body.

Who knew there was so much to learn about sweat? Next time you find yourself dripping with perspiration, take solace in knowing that you’re not alone—we all have to deal with sweaty moments from time to time! And remember: while sweating is totally normal, if you find yourself doing it excessively or without explanation, be sure to check in with a doctor just to be safe. Thanks for reading!