Blood, Sweat, & Tears for Detox

There is an intimate connection between blood, sweat and tears and your body’s detoxification pathway. Interestingly your body has different methods of eliminating toxins out of your blood, in particular heavy metals (i.e. toxic elements), and out of your body via sweating and crying. A recent study published by Genuis et al. found that after evaluating 10 healthy versus 10 health challenged individuals that sweating was the preferred method for elimination of heavy metals when compared to urine (Genuis et al., 2011). Sweating is something that most of do when we are physically exerting ourselves during a good workout or when we are a little overdressed for the weather. To know that sweating is your body’s preferred method of eliminating toxic elements is a biohack that you should definitely leverage when undertaking a seasonal cleanse or a maintaining a daily detox ritual. You might be thinking that heavy metal toxicity only happens to a few rare individuals, right? You would be surprised, it’s more common than you think.

More and more reports of adverse health effects associated with the bioaccumulation of heavy metals are being identified in the scientific literature. For example;

  1. Arsenic in rice (Liang et al., 2010)

  2. Lead in children’s toys (Weidenhamer et al., 2009)

  3. Cadmium in cigarette smoke and car exhaust (Lin et al., 2010; Ewen et al., 2009)

  4. Aluminum in deodorants (Michalke et al., 2009)

  5. Mercury in fish and dental amalgams (Counter and Buchanan, 2004; Michalke et al., 2009)

After these heavy metals are encountered by your body they get distributed everywhere. However, the most common places are bone, kidney, brain and liver. Toxic elements, like those listed above, displace the essential minerals, such as magnesium, zinc, calcium on selenium, and interfere with normal functions of your body. Some of the more common health issues that arise from heavy metal toxicity include but are not limited to;

  1. Mercury - immune imbalances (like being sick constantly or autoimmune diseases) (Kleffner et al., 2017)

  2. Mercury - cardiovascular disease (including hypertension) (Houston, 2011)

  3. Lead - cognitive impairment and neurological dysfunction (Michalke et al., 2009; Schnaas et al., 2006)

  4. Aluminum - memory loss, impaired body coordination, tremor (Zatta et al., 2003)

  5. Aluminum - Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Disease (Michalke et al., 2009)

Toxic elements are eventually excreted out your bile from your liver or out of your kidneys via urine but research is showing that sweating plays a much bigger role. Yet, all of this depends on your ability to detox properly in the first place! If you have an impaired detoxification pathway, as many of us unfortunately do, then it’s possible that these bioaccumulated toxic elements aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Welcome in the insidious and enigmatic case of heavy metal toxicity that conventional medicine Doctors are in denial or completely ignorant exist in the first place.

Needless to say, sweating via a good workout when you’re body is properly detoxing is a great way to overcome the bioaccumulation of these toxic elements. If you currently are suffering from heavy metal toxicity then you need to consult with your health care professional (preferrably a Functional Medicine practitioner) to carefully undertake a healthy detox that most definitely should include a daily ritual of sweating.

To register for my upcoming workshop that goes deeper in Sweating and other Detox DIY strategies click here:


Genuis, S. J., Birkholz, D., Rodushkin, I., & Beesoon, S. (2011). Blood, Urine, and Sweat (BUS) Study: Monitoring and Elimination of Bioaccumulated Toxic Elements. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, (2), 344.

Liang, F., Li, Y., Zhang, G., Tan, M., Lin, J., Liu, W., … Lu, W. (2010). Total and speciated arsenic levels in rice from China. Food Additives & Contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment, 27(6), 810–816.

Weidenhamer JD (2009) Lead contamination of inexpensive seasonal and holiday products. Sci Total Environ 407(7):2447–2450

Lin, Y.-S., Caffrey, J. L., Chang, M.-H., Dowling, N., & Lin, J.-W. (2010). Cigarette smoking, cadmium exposure, and zinc intake on obstructive lung disorder. Respiratory Research, 11, 53.

Ewen C, Anagnostopoulou MA, Ward NI. Monitoring of heavy metal levels in roadside dusts of Thessaloniki, Greece in relation to motor vehicle traffic density and flow. Environmental Monitoring And Assessment. 2009;157(1-4):483-498.

Michalke, B., Halbach, S., & Nischwitz, V. (2009). JEM spotlight: metal speciation related to neurotoxicity in humans. Journal Of Environmental Monitoring: JEM, 11(5), 939–954.

Counter, S. A., & Buchanan, L. H. (2004). Review: Mercury exposure in children: a review. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 198, 209–230.

Kleffner, I., Eichler, S., Ruck, T., Schüngel, L., Pfeuffer, S., Polzer, P., … Meuth, S. G. (2017). An Enigmatic Case of Acute Mercury Poisoning: Clinical, Immunological Findings and Platelet Function. Frontiers In Neurology, 8, 517.

Houston, M. C. (2011). Role of mercury toxicity in hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Journal Of Clinical Hypertension (Greenwich, Conn.), 13(8), 621–627.

Schnaas L, Rothenberg SJ, Flores M, Martinez S, Hernandez C, Osorio E, … Perroni E. (2006). Reduced intellectual development in children with prenatal lead exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(5), 791–797.

Zatta, P., Lucchini, R., van Rensburg, S. J., & Taylor, A. (2003). Review: The role of metals in neurodegenerative processes: aluminum, manganese, and zinc. Brain Research Bulletin, 62, 15–28.

Travis CoxThe Sweat Science