“The Heat is On: Niacin-Induced Flushing and the Benefits of Sweating”
Fat cell cleanse, colon cleanse, heavy metal detox, liver and kidney cleanse….the list is endless. Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably heard that you need to do a detox or a cleanse. The question that stands is what is it and why?
Detoxification is a type of alternative-medicine treatment which aims to rid the body of toxic substances that accumulate in the body over time and have undesirable short-term or long-term effects on individual health.
Natural detoxification is the process by which the body eliminates toxins and waste products. When toxins build up in the body, they can interfere with normal metabolic processes and contribute to weight gain and other health problems. Detoxification approaches such as fasting, juicing, or specific diets are aimed at reducing the body’s toxic load and supporting natural detoxification processes.
Some studies suggest that detoxification can help improve metabolism and support weight loss. For example, a 2017 review of studies found that fasting and other detoxification approaches can help improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for regulating blood sugar levels and metabolism. Other studies have suggested that detoxification may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can contribute to weight gain and other health problems.
So, let’s dive in and take a look into one of the most basic forms of natural detoxification, sweating. Sweating is the body’s natural way of regulating temperature and removing toxins. It is good for the body in several ways:
- Cooling: Sweating helps regulate body temperature by releasing heat from the body through evaporation. When the body overheats, sweating helps cool it down and prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Detoxification: Sweating helps rid the body of toxins and impurities by flushing them out through the pores. Skin health: Sweating can help improve skin health by clearing out pores and reducing the risk of acne and other skin conditions.
- Immune system: Sweating can also help boost the immune system by reducing the risk of infections and promoting the production of antibodies.
- Stress relief: Sweating can also be beneficial for mental health as it can help relieve stress and promote relaxation.
Overall, sweating is a natural and healthy process that helps regulate the body’s temperature and remove toxins, leading to numerous health benefits. So, how do we promote sweating? The simplest approach to sweating is sitting in a sauna. Research suggests that spending 30 minutes in a sauna 2-4 days a week can have several potential health benefits. Here are some of the findings from scientific studies:
- Cardiovascular health: Sauna use has been associated with improved cardiovascular health. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015 found that regular sauna use was associated with a lower risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events. Another study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension in 2007 found that sauna use reduced blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Regular sauna use may also be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Stress reduction: Sauna use has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research in 2005 found that sauna use reduced symptoms of depression in patients with mild to moderate depression.
- Detoxification: Sauna use has been suggested to help eliminate toxins from the body through sweating. A study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2018 found that sauna use increased the elimination of heavy metals such as lead and mercury through sweat. This can improve overall health and reduce the risk of diseases related to toxin accumulation.
- Immune system support: Sauna use has been suggested to support immune system function. A study published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health in 2018 found that sauna use increased levels of white blood cells, which are important for immune function.
- Improved respiratory function: Saunas can help improve respiratory function by opening up airways and reducing congestion. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchitis.
- Pain relief: Saunas can help relieve pain by reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow, and releasing endorphins. They may be especially beneficial for individuals with conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.
- Improved skin health: Saunas can help improve skin health by opening up pores, increasing blood flow, and promoting the removal of dead skin cells. This can lead to a healthier and more radiant complexion.
So, what else can I do you might ask. Have you ever taken a preworkout and got all red and itchy? Ever wondered why that is? The answer is an ingredient called Niacin. Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is known to cause skin flushing and itching, especially in high doses. This effect is believed to be caused by the release of histamine and prostaglandins, which can cause dilation of blood vessels and increase blood flow to the skin. When combined with the heat and sweating of a sauna, niacin-induced flushing can increase circulation and improve the elimination of toxins through the skin.
What is a “high dose?” The definition of a high dose of niacin can vary depending on the individual’s age, sex, weight, health status, and other factors. In general, the recommended daily intake of niacin for adults is around 16 mg for men and 14 mg for women. However, doses of niacin that are higher than the recommended daily intake can be considered high.
For example, doses of niacin between 500-2000 mg per day are often used to treat high cholesterol, while doses of 100-500 mg per day are sometimes used to treat other health conditions such as migraines or osteoarthritis. Doses above 2000 mg per day are generally considered to be very high and can increase the risk of adverse effects, such as liver damage, gastrointestinal upset, and skin flushing.
It is important to note that the safe and effective dose of niacin can vary depending on the individual’s health status, medications, and other factors. Therefore, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before taking high doses of niacin or any other supplement.
In a book called “Clear Body Clear Mind” L. Ron Hubbard lays out a fascinating discovery about the use of Niacin in a Sauna to clear the fat cells of toxins and substances. His book lays out a detailed protocol for removing toxins trapped in the fat cells that when triggered are causing sober addicts to relapse. He found that not only did his patients get clean from addiction once and for all, but they had better health and lost weight.
This book alone made me rethink all the “food addiction” I deal with in my clients. It’s really not their fault AND how can I better serve them. We are all looking for that miracle weightless pill but the reality is that every bite we take we are consuming pesticides, herbicides, GMO’s, preservatives, the list goes on. These toxins get trapped in the body and we may have a solution for eliminating them.
Here is a sample plan to work your way up to a 30-minute sauna session:
- Day 1-2: 5-10 minutes
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4-5: 10-15 minutes
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: 15-20 minutes
- Day 1-2: 20-25 minutes
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4-5: 25-30 minutes
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: 30 minutes
- This is not medical advice. Talk to your doctor. Do your research. Make decisions for yourself!
- Always listen to your body and never push yourself beyond what feels comfortable.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sauna session to prevent dehydration.
- Don’t eat a large meal before going into the sauna, as this can cause discomfort or nausea.
- If you feel lightheaded or dizzy during your sauna session, exit the sauna immediately and cool down with a cold shower or by sitting in a cool room.
- If you have any medical conditions or concerns, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting a sauna routine.
Want to read L. Ron Hubbard’s “Clear Mind Clear Body” for yourself? Let me know what you think!
Here is a link to the Niacin I use.
Is the flush too much for you? Try this non flush formula by Thorne.
Remember your electrolytes. They are vastly important.
Here is a delicious, organic, and electrolyte-rich sports drink recipe. Try it out in the gym, sauna or just because.
Sports Drink Recipe:
- 4 cups of filtered water
- 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
- 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed organic lime juice
- 1/4 cup of organic honey
- 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan salt
- Optional: a handful of organic berries or sliced organic cucumber for added flavor and nutrition
- Combine the filtered water, organic lemon juice, organic lime juice, organic honey, and Himalayan salt in a large glass pitcher.
- Stir well until the honey is fully dissolved.
- If desired, add a handful of organic berries or sliced organic cucumber for added flavor and nutrition.
- Chill the drink in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
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