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Hydration—How Important Is It? (Part Two)
Last week’s newsletter discussed the elements of hydration and how our body needs and uses hydration. In this week’s newsletter, we will discuss some of the research on the effects of dehydration, some of the signs of dehydration, tests used to determine dehydration and some tips on how to stay hydrated.
DR. F. BATMANGHELIDJI
Dr. Batmanghelidji has devoted most of his professional life to the study of dehydration and its effects on the body. He has written several books and countless papers on the subject. His books are available through Amazon and other booksellers.
Dr. Batmanghelidji believes that many of the problems of the body can be traced to dehydration. He has found that proper hydration of his patients has resolved:
- Joint pain issues like fibromyalgia and some types of arthritis
- Ulcers and other digestive problems
- Blood pressure problems
- Anxiety and depression issues
- Heart problems
- Urinary tract problems
- Kidney problems
- Numerous other medical conditions
One of the ways he explains dehydration to his patients is by comparing a normal hydrated cell to a grape. He says that a dehydrated cell becomes like the grape if left in the sun–a dried prune. This dried cell will not operate properly and thus, your organs will also not operate properly.
Dr. Batmanghelidji explains that your body may become dehydrated even if you drink a lot of fluids—if you drink the wrong type of fluids. For example, many people believe that they drink adequate fluids when they drink coffee, tea or sodas. However, for most people, these drinks act as diuretics-substances causing the discharge of fluid. These people actually lose more fluid than they drink and keep the body dehydrated.
As Dr. Batmanghelidji explains, even people who drink lots of water may be dehydrated if they just drink highly purified water, which lacks the minerals and electrolytes that their body needs to ensure that the water is not just rapidly eliminated from the body but actually does hydrate the body.
OTHER CAUSES OF DEHYDRATION
A person can also become dehydrated in the following ways:
- Excessive urine output (from a diuretic)
- Drugs that suppress the body’s natural sensors indicating when to drink water (like antihistamines and many other prescription drugs)
- Diuretic drugs and liquids (drugs and liquids that cause the body to eliminate water)
- Not drinking because of illness or nausea
WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION?
Some of the symptoms of even mild dehydration are:
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Low or no urine output; concentrated urine appears dark yellow
- Not producing tears
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth
- Muscle weakness
- Mild to excessive thirst
While dehydration can interfere with the proper operation of the body, severe dehydration may result in seizures, permanent brain damage, or even death.
COMMON TESTS FOR DEHYDRATION
Skin Turgor (rigidity)
A late sign of dehydration is when the skin (on the back of the hand for an adult or on the abdomen for a child) is pulled up for a few seconds and does not return to its original state immediately. In many cases, a person is often seriously dehydrated before this skin test shows dehydration.
One of the indicators used by medical professionals to determine hydration is the color of a person’s urine. The color of the urine in compared to a color chart. The darker the color of the urine, the more dehydrated a person is thought to be. However, this is not a precise way of determining if a person is hydrated and is often too inexact to be useful.
By analyzing a person’s blood, it is possible to determine the electrolyte balance and the consistency of the blood. These tests will often allow the medical professional to determine the state of a person’s hydration but is also not always precise.
Normally, if our bodies are operating properly, they will tell us when to take in more fluid and stay hydrated. However, because the body’s natural hydration monitor can be suppressed by many drugs and even some foods, most of us cannot just rely on drinking when we are thirsty. This is particularly true as we age. The older we get, the less reliable is thirst as a monitor of hydration. However, as we age, hydration becomes even more important if we want to maintain our health.
HOW DOES ALCOHOL AFFECT OUR HYDRATION?
Scientists have determined that alcohol can actually turn off the thirst response and cause the kidneys to release water through urine. As a result, we lose water but don’t become thirsty. Some scientists now believe that this dehydration is actually the major cause of hangovers. They say that hangovers will be reduced or even eliminated if you ensure that you drink a lot of water before drinking and continue to drink water while drinking alcohol.
This is why an alcohol abuser who comes to Novus Medical Detox Center is almost always severely dehydrated and why they respond so rapidly to our IV therapy and other electrolyte drinks.
MEDICATIONS AND DEHYDRATION
While some drugs that create side effects, like dry mouth, may cause us to drink more, there are apparently no drugs that directly stimulate water intake. When we take oral drugs with water, we are helping our hydration and helping the drugs reach the stomach where the process of dissolution takes place. However, there is increasing evidence that drugs like narcotic painkillers, antidepressants and benzodiazepines may actually inhibit the natural thirst mechanism in many people and reduce the body’s ability to signal when more water is needed. Dr. Batmanghelidji believes that antihistamines may be the worst offender. By becoming dehydrated as well as taking these drugs, the person becomes less healthy and less able to function efficiently in life.
WHAT TO DRINK TO STAY HYDRATED
Dr. Batmanghelidji recommends to his patients that they drink ordinary tap water. He explains that if you allow a glass of tap water to sit for thirty minutes, most of the impurities that make the taste unpleasant will either sink to the bottom of the glass or dissipate.
At Novus Medical Detox Center, we use filtered water but we add vitamin C, electrolytes and other minerals to the water, and it not only tastes good but, in addition to the vitamin IV’s, allows our patients to become more hydrated. As they become more hydrated, their organs work better, they feel better and they detox more comfortably and faster.
Is water this important? Ask people who have come to Novus Medical Detox Center and realize how much better they feel when they become hydrated. Try it yourself. Just increase your intake of water with electrolytes and minerals and see how much better you start to feel.
Some medical professionals recommend drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, while others recommend even more. Unfortunately, there is no magic recipe because all of us are different due to our DNA, our stress level and our environment. Obviously, people who sweat more will need more fluid and electrolyte intake.
As we said last week, the body is an incredible organism. When working properly, It can adapt to many conditions and cure most diseases. Just like we would not drive an engine without oil, we should not drive our bodies without sufficient hydration.
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