I was at the gym today. I must admit I am one of those people with a super sense of smell and no matter how hard I try not to; I take in the scents around me. If you have stinky sweat, then you probably shouldn’t run next to me on the treadmill because I usually spend at least a mile analyzing what condition you might have and what you’re eating that caused that intoxicating smell. If you’ve drenched through a shirt in five minutes flat I am probably analyzing all sorts of things from the health of your lymphatic system to the beating of your heart. If you go to the gym regularly, chances are I am keeping a mental note of your sweat’s stats.
Come on.’ Aren’t you the least bit curious about sweat? Why some people sweat more than others? Why it smells? Why someone can live without deodorant while another can’t leave the house without clinical strength arm pit armor? Is your sweat the measure of health or the measure of … whether you need a bath? All kidding aside, sweat is important stuff.
Here are 10 things about your sweat you probably didn’t know:
1. People sweat from exercise, heat, and stress … but stress sweat smells the worst.
Most of the time, sweat doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stink. Eccrine glands secrete an odorless water-like mixture when the body gets too hot. Apocrine glands, located in the arm pits, groin, and areas with hair follicles, are responsible for stinky sweat. When you’re emotionally stressed, these are the glands that produce sweat. The stink comes from the proteins and fats reacting with the bacteria on your skin. Unfortunately, what’s left behind is a not-so-attractive pit stain.
2. A woman with smelly stress sweat is more likely to be viewed as lacking competence, confidence, and loyalty.
Do you want to be viewed as a weakling in the workplace? Mounting research suggests that a woman’s smelly stress sweat can cause a perception by both males and females of lacking confidence, trustworthiness, and competence. Although the sight of sweat alone can interfere with positive perception, women who were not under stress and did not use deodorant scored significantly higher.
3. Women actually prefer the smell of a man with shaved armpits.
A group of scientists in Czech Republic conducted a study in which they took armpit odor samples from men who had shaved armpits and men who had hairy armpits. Despite popular belief that hairy armpits evolved to make a man smell more attractive, women actually preferred the smell of an armpit without hair. Since these same sweat glands produce an odor with facial hair, this might explain why some women prefer a clean-shaven man. If you’re having trouble with the ladies, a shave might be in order.
4. Love at first smell really does exist.
What if there was a test you could perform that would tell you right away whether or not he is Mr. Right? Well … there is. It’s called the “smell test.”
The subtle scent of smell is a major factor in attraction and compatibility. Research shows that the more attracted we are to a person’s smell, the more genetically compatible they are with us. This explains why the smell of one person might attract one while repelling another.
So here’s how it works:
Tell your date not to wear cologne. (You prefer a natural man right?) Take a whiff. (He’ll be sweating because you’re so good-looking.) If you’re turned off, no worries, just tell him he seems like a nice guy but you’re not genetically compatible. (You can thank me later for all the time, money, and effort you’ll save.)
5. Female hormonal imbalance and PMS can be relieved by a man’s sweat.
Feeling frustrated or plagued with irregular periods and hormonal mood swings? Are you struggling with infertility or menopausal issues? Put down the chocolate – a trip to the gym might be in order. A study in the Biology of Reproduction showed that pheromones in male perspiration can fix a glitch in your cycle, relax moods and calm tension. Sweat extract may actually be on the horizon in the future as a viable treatment for PMS.
6. A quick whiff of a man’s sweat raises cortisol levels and increases sex drive.
Twenty whiffs of a component in male sweat called androstadienone has been shown to raise cortisol levels for up to an hour and increase a waning sex drive. High cortisol levels in the body are good when the flight-or-fight pathway of the nervous system is activated. This allows one to set goals, seize the day, and gives one the drive to do it. Once the task is accomplished cortisol tapers off and one feels calm, confident, and accomplished. Transfer that mentality to the bedroom and you might just have the answer to a dismal sex life.
7. Sweating fuels weight loss, releases beta endorphins, and relieves pain.
Not only do you lose water when you sweat, you also lose water-soluble fat molecules yielding to a more permanent decrease on the scale. Who knew? Sweating also releases beta endorphins which gives one a feeling of well-being, a euphoric runner’s high, and helps an athlete get through a painful work-out.
8. Some toxins can only be removed via sweat.
Skin is the largest and most important elimination organ of the body and sweat is its garbage man. Heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and chemicals stored in your fat are all eliminated through sweat.
A recent study tested the accumulation of Bisphenol A (BPA) in blood, urine, and sweat and found that individuals who showed no presence of BPA in their blood and urine tested positive for BPA in sweat. Studies done on cancer-causing phalates showed presence of phalates at two-times the concentration in sweat, even when there were no detectable blood levels. This suggests that some toxins can only be removed by working up a good one…
9. The sweat of a meat-eater smells worse than the sweat of a vegetarian.
Meat-eaters take pause. According to an anthropological study done by researchers in the Czech Republic, meat eaters smell worse than their vegetarian counterparts. Body-odor samples of non-meat eaters were deemed to be “significantly more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense” and the conclusion suggests that red meat consumption has a negative impact on body odor.
10. Put the deodorant down – it won’t sweeten the stink and it could cause cancer.
Deodorants use aluminum to block the sweat ducts in the arm pit. Higher amounts of aluminum are contained in prescription strength deodorants. Numerous studies have shown that the aluminum absorbs into the body and has estrogen like effects which are known to promote cancer cell growth. Paraban, another ingredient in some deodorants has also been found in breast cancer tumors. Since deodorant doesn’t inhibit the body’s emotional response to stress, it eventually wears off and the sweat and stink return. Whether you use an all-natural or chemically-based deodorant, you’ll have to re-apply.
Who knew sweat could be so amazing, stinky, and important all at the same time? It’s like a cure-all for all ailments:
Can’t find a mate? Sweat.
Bad sex life? Sweat.
Have PMS? Sweat.
Feeling low? Sweat.
Got toxins? Sweat.
The message is clear: Unless you’re stressed, good things come to those who sweat! So maybe running next to me on the treadmill isn’t such a bad idea. “My sweat don’t stink,” or maybe it does and someone’s keeping sweat stats on me.