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Sweats As A Form of Detox

by Michael Cheikin MD

A toxin is a thing that interferes with normal processes. Detoxification is a process where the body gets rid of toxins. While we will focus here on toxic molecules, there are other toxins, such as toxic thoughts, toxic people, toxic jobs and even electro-magnetic toxins. “The Dose Makes the Poison” is a famous adage which means that anything can become toxic in excess. This includes water and love.

What makes life different today is that for the last 400 years, we have been are releasing new toxins into the environment. Modern molecules such as glysophate (Roundup™) and ciprofloxacin, while having utility, are demonstrating long-term effects even at low levels. Other “classic” toxins such as mercury and lead have been around since the beginning of time, however, we are releasing greater amounts than we have seen before in evolution. These environmental changes have also lead to the changes in our microbial ecology, both in our soils and our bodies, thereby producing other toxic loads.

The Cocktail Effect

The “cocktail effect” explains that is is not a single toxin (or organism) that makes us sick, but the combination of all that we have been and are being exposed to. A deal-killing limitation of current scientific research is that most funding supports “single factors”. This means that when studying plants, rats, or humans, research is only looking at one factor at a time. While this is easier, and often meets the needs of the manufacturer, it is not real. Most of our modern chronic illnesses feature multiple factors (toxins, deficiencies, infections) that can not be understood or solved by only addressing one factor at a time.

Exo-Toxins vs. Endo-Toxins

While most of us think of toxins, such as pesticides, as coming from the outside, many are generated within. Your furnace and car have exhaust pipes, since a necessary part of the combustion process generates molecules that are inherently poisonous. Our cells must generate some toxic molecules in their processes. These are endotoxins.

Exo-toxins come from outside our body, through our food, water, air, and electromagnetic fields. Some have been present during evolution, and therefore the body has means of handling small quantities, including mercury, lead, and radiation. However, the larger the load, the more the detoxification processes need to work bigger and faster.

Bacterial, yeast, viruses and other microbes work in part by making toxins that block our immune processes. On one level, they are exotoxins, not produced by our body, but they are endotoxins in that they are coming from within. Viruses make toxins within our cells.

Since our cells don’t have exhaust pipes venting to the outside, any toxic molecule is managed by binding it to other molecules and then escorting it out. Some of these intermediate molecules, such as those generated after drinking alcohol, are more toxic than the original! If the input exceeds the output, we get sick.

Water-Based vs. Fat-Based Toxins

Molecules prefer water or fat to certain degrees. As is known, “fat and water don’t mix”. Since our blood and urine are mostly water, to eliminate a fat-based toxin, it must be attached to a watery molecule to enable it to pass through the kidneys and bowels. Other means of excretion include the breath, skin and sweat. Tears and mucus also have some excretory roles.

The Fatty Brain, Hormones and Communication

Toxins not only block manufacture and detoxification, they also block communication. The hormonal and nervous systems, our main forms of communication within our body, are up to 80% fatty molecules. This is why theses systems are more vulnerable to toxicity with fat-based toxins such as plastics, pesticides, and petro-solvents.

Removing and Storing Toxins

Sleep is a process where, in part, the body cleans up from the previous day and manufactures molecules for the next day. We know that the liver is very active during the night, when much of our detoxification work occurs.

As we do with our nuclear waste, when the body doesn’t know what to do with a molecule, it buries it. In the body, fat-based toxins are stored in fat. This is why some people make excessive fat after certain triggers, or get sick when forcing the body to burn fat.

The Role of Sweating

We are taught that sweating is a way to cool our body during exercise. However, it has other functions. Research shows that certain toxins either prefer or will only exit through sweat. Since sweat is mostly water, it remains unclear why this is so. However, knowing this can help us understand, and even utilize this fact. Activities that increase sweat, including exercise, sauna, bathing, can and have shown benefits to healing. This also might help us understand the purpose of the night sweats that accompany menopause and other conditions. Looking for toxic factors will continue to grow in importance.


1. This educational material may not be used to influence medical care without supervision by a licensed practitioner.

2. These contents are ©2015-19 by Michael Cheikin MD and may not be reproduced in any form without express written permission.

3. Dr. Cheikin's website has related articles such as “Hormonal Web," "Adrenal Fatigue", Neurotransmitters" and many others.

Michael Cheikin MD is a holistic physician, Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation ("Physiatry"), Pain Management, Spinal Cord Medicine and Electrodiagnostic Medicine and licensed in Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Cheikin has extensively studied yoga, diet and metabolism, Ayurvedic, Chinese and energy medicine and other alternative modalities for over 35 years. He specializes in obscure, chronic and severe problems that have not responded satisfactorily to other methods of healing. www.cheikin.com

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