With our long-anticipated summer just around the corner, summer heat is something we can look forward to.   

Since we live in the land of extremes, one minute it’s cold out, and then summer hits, and we deal with the extreme heat and all the challenges that heat creates for us. 

Some people feel heat intolerant and can experience feelings of dizziness, light headedness, headaches, weakness and dehydration.   

Some of this intolerance can come from certain medical conditions, and certain medications can also make a person more sensitive to the heat. In other instances, it can be a situation where a person is not well adapted to the heat because they don’t allow themselves enough exposure to the heat.   

Our bodies are designed to sweat to help us regulate our body temperature to stay cool. 

Sweating can also benefit our health by: 

  • Facilitating detoxification – Since our skin is our largest organ, it plays a big role in our overall health. Our skin is also the largest organ of elimination and detoxification, so although sweat is 98% water, the other 2% can contain heavy metals and other toxins, as well as bacteria.  

  • Boosting our immune system – In a similar way that we create a fever when we are sick, when your body temperature raises, it stimulates the production of certain proteins that help fight infection. 

  • Improving circulation – Over time this can improve heart health.  

  • Promoting a sense of relaxation – It stimulates the “rest and digest” part of our nervous system. 

  • Strengthening our resiliency and adaptability – Being able to self regulate in the heat (within reason) strengthens the body’s overall resiliency. 

How to support yourself in the heat: 

  • Stay hydrated, with water but also with electrolytes. If a person is deficient in certain key minerals and electrolytes, they may be more vulnerable to dehydration and heat intolerance. Muscle cramps, nausea, fatigue and headaches in the heat might be an indication that a person needs electrolytes as well as water – Click here for my favourite electrolyte supplement. 

  • Allow yourself to sweat when appropriate (at the cabin for the weekend, driving home from work with the windows down and the air conditioning off) so that your body can become better adapted to the heat. 

  • Stay out of the direct sun. 

KEY TAKEAWAY:  With air-conditioned homes, workplaces and vehicles, our bodies rarely get a chance to sweat, which can create a cycle of intolerance and further avoidance of the heat.  

Our summers are short and so are the opportunities to do a little detoxing through the skin, so hydrate, use a good quality electrolyte supplement, and enjoy a little heat!   

Written by: Dr. Jacqui Fleury, ND