Vitamin Deficiency Caused by Excessive Sweating

Exhausted handsome man training on exercise bike
Hyperhidrosis affects up to 3 percent of the U.S. population, explains Harvard Medical School. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Perspiration helps keep your body cool. People typically sweat under the arms, on the palms of the hands and on the soles of the feet. Sweat is the discharge of a salty fluid consisting primarily of water from the body's sweat glands. A person has 2 to 4 million sweat glands. The more you have, the more you sweat. Hyperhidrosis is when you sweat beyond what is needed to regulate body temperature. Dehydration from excessive sweating can deplete water-soluble vitamins from the body.

Effects

The sympathetic nervous system, which coordinates the body’s response to stress, triggers the sweat glands via the chemical messenger acetylcholine. People with hyperhidrosis release more sweat than normal because they are especially sensitive to this signal, according to Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. The nervous system requires sufficient amounts of water-soluble vitamins to function properly. Vitamin C and B complex vitamins are water soluble. As water or sweat is emitted from the body, excess water-soluble vitamins are lost. The one exception is vitamin B12, which can be kept in reserve in the liver for several years.

Considerations

Frequent consumption of vitamins B and C is necessary to replenish nutrients lost due to perspiration and urination. For example, the daily requirement of vitamin B1 or thiamine and B3 or niacin increases with greater energy expenditure that can potentially result in excessive sweating. Sufficient vitamin C is needed to help with iron absorption which also can be lost due to excessive sweating. Vitamin B deficiencies can cause an assortment of negative effects, including fatigue, loss of appetite, depression, abdominal discomfort and anemia. Respiratory infections, hair loss and muscle cramps are also possible. Too little vitamin C can make you more prone to bruising, slow wound healing and gum disease. Dry skin and hair can also be signs of a vitamin C deficiency.

Causes

People generally sweat more when they are afraid, anxious, angry or while physically active. Excessive sweating can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, as typically occurs during menopause when women have hot flashes or night sweats. Hot flashes deplete vitamins B and C, explains MayoClinic.com. Certain fever-reducing medications, pain relievers and psychiatric drugs can also trigger excessive sweating, explains Medline Plus, a website published by the National Institutes of Health.

Recommendations/Precautions

Drinking enough water each day can help guard against dehydration from excessive sweating. Don't wait until you are thirsty to drink water; thirst indicates that your body is already somewhat dehydrated. Water-soluble vitamins are found in an assortment of foods, including fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Contact your doctor if sweating accompanied by chest or stomach pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, chills or weight loss.

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