The Many Problems of Dehydration
Vegucation Over Medication
Dr. Bobby Price
Plant-Based Pharmacist; Fitness & Nutrition Expert
The Many Problems of Dehydration
Our planet is mostly covered by water, but not always where we need it. Water covers roughly 75% of the surface of the earth. However, 97% is undrinkable because it is in the form of salt water. So only 3% of the world’s most abundant resource is drinkable, and 77% of that water is frozen, of the remaining 23%, only half a percent is available to supply the needs of all terrestrial creatures and plants. With statistics like that, you would think water would be a more precious commodity than gold, diamonds, or oil; yet with the twist of a faucet, we can take a carefree 30-minute shower. Here’s an even more interesting statistic: Like the earth’s surface, our bodies are also composed roughly of 75% water. You can begin to see why dehydration tightropes a delicate line between severe neglect and suicide. On average, we sweat out about two cups of water per day (without consideration for extremely hot weather or exercise, this would increase the depletion), we lose a little more than a cup via exhalation, we also eliminate six cups via defecation and urination. This is where the recommendation for 8−10 cups of water daily comes from. Dehydration.
In conjunction with this water lost, we also lose critical electrolytes and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium, which aid in the regulation of the body’s fluids. These electrolytes are also key in neutralizing the acidic foods and beverages consumed, as I mentioned before. Being a chemist, I have a unique understanding and respect for the importance of having the right kind and amount of water. Researchers have concluded that up to 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism has become so weak due to prolonged neglect; they fail to respond to the common signs of thirst like dry mouth, chapped lips, dry eyes, or ashy skin. The symptoms of chronic dehydration are often mistaken for illnesses. Some of these misdiagnoses include. When the body’s cells are depleted of water, they will then send out a signal alerting the mind of the body’s need for water, which is often confused with hunger. This mistaken identity leads to increased caloric consumption. Dehydration.
Dehydration. In addition, in a state of dehydration, the body will resist the urge to metabolize fat because of the absence of a safe medium to remove the toxins that are most often stored in fat cells. That is, if the body lacks a sufficient amount of water to neutralize the toxins that are stored in fat, the body will resist burning fat as a fuel. Did you know the skin is the largest organ system in the body? During chronic dehydration, the skin is the first organ system to be denied water. This leads to a reduced elimination of toxins and healthy oils, causing the pores to become packed with toxic waste, leading to acne, discoloration of the skin, chapped lips, premature wrinkling, bags under the eyes, dermatitis, psoriasis, and overall dryness of the skin. Almost every bodily function requires water to take place. Even small imbalances in our hydration greatly affect our alertness. When we are dehydrated, our blood volume drops correspondingly. This causes the heart to pump harder in order to maintain blood pressure. This is critical because this pressure is what allows efficient circulation to deliver vital nutrients to the organs, muscles, and every cell in the body. Dehydration.
Dehydration. Chronic dehydration will eventually redirect the blood away from the skin to the muscles and organs and impair your ability to diffuse heat, causing the core temperature to increase. This is what leads to rapid fatigue, muscle cramps, and light-headedness. You can now see why simply resting will not cure you of chronic fatigue syndrome. Ensuring you are properly hydrated with water containing natural electrolytes is one of the best solutions to fatigue. The brain contains roughly 75% water. During bouts of chronic dehydration, the brain’s functions can become severely compromised. Dehydration depletes the body of essential amino acids that directly impact mood. The antioxidants tryptophan and tyrosinase produced in the liver are critical for brain function, but their production becomes compromised as a result of dehydration. The neurotransmitters serotonin, melatonin, indolamine, and tryptamine all function as part of the integrity of a balanced mind state, and all of these neurotransmitters are the by-products of the amino acid tryptophan. Dehydration.
Dehydration. Serotonin is known as the ‘happy molecule.’ Interestingly enough, the most commonly prescribed antidepressants are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase the presence of serotonin in the synaptic region. The list includes Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft (Sertraline). Within the brain, the amino acid tryptophan is converted into serotonin. However, in order for this to take place, an adequate amount of water is required to transport tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier. As mentioned in the previous section, dehydration thwarts the production of melatonin in the liver. Melatonin is the hormone that aids in the control of your sleep-wake cycles. Based on the body’s own internal clock, the levels of melatonin are controlled. The levels rise during sleeping hours and then begin to gradually reduce themselves as dawn approaches. Water provides the critical medium needed for this hormone to be produced. Stay hydrated and drink a cup of water before bed to get the internal engines running. This will allow you to improve your sleep hours. Blood pressure is the arterial pressure that blood exerts on the systemic circulation as it traverses the 60,000-plus miles of vascular highways in your body. Dehydration.
Although its measurement can vary, depending on multi factorial components, hypertension affects millions of people worldwide and is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease. During dehydration, the circulatory system will constrict to compensate for water loss and to maintain pressure. The constriction of the arterial vessels will correlate with a rise in overall systemic pressure. Because of the reduced fluid volume, the body will attempt to retain any remaining fluids to aid in the neutralization of toxins. One of the most commonly prescribed treatments for hypertension is a diuretic (HCTZ). Diuretics work by simply increasing the patient’s elimination of retained water, thus lowering the overall systemic pressure. But here’s the catch: diuretics will never cure the patient, and in fact, it’s a certainty that once you are prescribed a diuretic, your therapy will be continually escalated with other blood pressure medications at some point. It should also be noted that the retention of water is a protective mechanism that aids in protecting you from the toxic internal environment that created the condition initially. These diuretics, although helpful in some ways, do not address the cause, and they worsen the patient’s dehydration.
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