Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, is a problem that affects approximately 1 to 3 percent of the population, according to Harvard Medical School. While the condition may be generalized, most often the excessive sweating affects specific areas, such as the palms, feet, underarms and groin area. Hyperhidrosis can have social repercussions, making interactions such as shaking hands uncomfortable and embarrassing, as well as practical implications, as sweaty hands can make hand work difficult. Since sweating is under the control of the sympathetic nervous system, nutrients that support nervous system function, such as B vitamins, may help reduce the symptoms of hyperhidrosis.
Excessive sweating can be caused by a variety of underlying health issues, some of which can be quite serious or even life-threatening. Among these are infections, hormonal imbalances, thyroid disease, anxiety disorders or some types of cancer. For this reason, it is important to see a medical professional for a thorough checkup before attempting to treat hyperhidrosis at home.
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Most cases of excessive sweating can be attributed to hyperhidrosis, a condition that is not harmful to health, though it can certainly take an emotional toll on those who live with the condition. While the exact cause of hyperhidrosis is not known, the mechanism behind excessive sweating is understood. The sweat glands are activated by the sympathetic nervous system during times of stress by means of a chemical signal. Hyperhidrosis sufferers are particularly sensitive to these signals, causing them to produce a great deal more sweat than the average person would under similar conditions. This condition seems to run in families, indicating that there may be a genetic component to hyperhidrosis.
B-Complex Vitamins and the Nervous System
A family of eight essential nutrients, B-complex vitamins serve crucial functions in the maintenance and regulation of the nervous system. Low levels of B-complex vitamins can affect the body's stress response system, causing oversensitivity to tense or fearful situations. Since excessive sweating is triggered by an overreaction of the sympathetic nervous system to stress, ensuring proper nutritional support is provided to that system by increasing your intake of foods rich in B-vitamins may help reduce or control its symptoms.
Sources of B Vitamins
The body absorbs vitamins most efficiently from natural food sources. Foods that are rich in B-complex vitamins include animal products, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products. Vegetable sources of B vitamins include whole grains, leafy green vegetables, beans and peas. Supplements, used in conjunction with a balanced diet, can be a good option for those who find it difficult to obtain enough nutrition from diet alone.