Fact or Fiction: What Causes Sweating?

March 03, 2020 4 min read

what causes sweating

Sweat is something that happens naturally. We all experience a bead of sweat on our brow or in our armpits following a good workout… or on a hot day. But if you experience heavy sweating every day, it can disrupt your daily routine and even cause embarrassment. You want to know what causes sweating and more importantly, how you can stop it.

In our modern age of technology, it seems like everyone has an opinion on what makes you sweat. Some opinions may seem logical while others may sound like your great-grandmother’s folklore. What then, should you believe, when the conversation is about sweat?

What makes you sweat?

First off, you should know why humans sweat at all. Sweating is a normal body function that happens for one very specific reason: to cool down your body’s internal temperature. Your body produces sweat by way of two glands: the eccrine sweat glands (located all over your body) and the apocrine glands (located in your armpits, groin and scalp). When your body temperature gets too high, your nervous system instructs the glands to release sweat to cool down your body.

Sometimes outside influences can affect your body’s internal temperature or its natural sweat response. For example, your body temperature may go up on a hot day when you are playing sports. Or you may sweat more than usual during a presentation for a high-stakes business proposal. But have you noticed that you sweat more when you’re dehydrated or consume certain foods? Do you ever wonder why you sweat more during certain times of the day?

Read on as we debunk common myths and confirm common theories about what causes sweating.

excessive sweating

Does caffeine make you sweat?

With the advent of the neighborhood coffeehouse, more and more people drink coffee in some form throughout the day. Whether you prefer a latte in the morning or a shot of espresso in the afternoon, coffee drinks give us the energy to get going – and keep going – throughout our busy lives.

To give you this boost, coffee and other forms of caffeine stimulate your nervous system by triggering a rush of adrenaline. This rush of adrenaline sends your body into “fight or flight” mode: your pupils dilate, your heart rate increases, and your palms and armpits get clammy. So, does coffee make you sweat? Definitely.

Can anxiety cause sweating?

Your physical state is tied very closely to your emotional state. For example, when you are depressed, you feel tired and find it hard to concentrate. When you feel anxious or stressed, your body temperature goes up, signaling your body to kick up the sweat production. Sadly, when you already suffer from excessive sweating, you often experience anxiety about sweating in public… which causes a vicious cycle of stress sweat.

A slight increase in body temperature when you eat is a normal reaction.

Does garlic make you sweat?

A slight increase in body temperature when you eat is a normal reaction. This happens because food turns into energy or heat when it breaks down. Specific foods can cause sweating more rapidly than others, even in small amounts. Garlic is one of the foods that has a higher thermic effect. While garlic has many health benefits, it also has a high volume of vitamin B, which naturally raises the body’s temperature. This, in turn, can cause you to sweat more than you normally would after eating a dish containing garlic.

Does humidity make you sweat?

Summer days can get quite hot. However, they can get much worse if humidity enters the picture. With all that moisture in the air, you may wonder if humidity makes you sweat. Not exactly, but it certainly feels that way. On a hot and humid day, your body starts it’s cooling off process by sweating. When humidity is in the air, sweat has a much harder time evaporating, which means it has nowhere to go. So, it sticks to your skin and tricks your body into producing more sweat because it doesn’t cool off properly.

Does soda make you sweat more?

In all honesty, the answer is not black-and-white. Some soft drinks may cause you to sweat more while others may not. As mentioned earlier, caffeine raises your body temperature, which can increase sweat production. So, if you drink a caffeinated soda, you may experience a boost in energy and sweat.

Additionally, if you reach for a non-diet soda, the sugar in it may cause your body to make more insulin than it needs. When this happens your blood sugar decreases, which can cause sweating (among other symptoms).

A sweaty head is one of the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency.

Can vitamins cause sweating?

It is not obvious that anyone has ever broken into a sweat because they were consuming a healthy regime of vitamin supplements. However, as mentioned earlier, vitamin B increases your internal body temperature, which can cause your body to sweat. You may experience an upswing in sweat if you overindulge in foods rich in vitamin B.

More often than not, a vitamin deficiency will likely cause excessive sweating. For example, a sweaty head is one of the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency. And night sweats are a symptom of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

It may take some time to learn what makes you sweat. Unfortunately, there is not one solution for everyone since no one sweats for the same reasons or even in the same places.

While you’re figuring out the best ways to combat your sweat, check out our collection of sweat proof, odor-fighting basics. (Buy from our shop or on Amazon.) With an Ejis sweat proof undershirt or pair of sweat proof boxer briefs, you can stop the sweat from reaching your clothes and experience what we like to call “wearable confidence.”

Published March 3, 2020; Updated April 4, 2020

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