1/4 Hydration

July 27, 2018

What’s 50-70% of our body weight, essential to human life, and is often an afterthought until we get thirsty?  You guessed it – water.  We spent yesterday’s radio show discussing the importance of water, how much we should drink, and if all water is created equal.  In this week’s series, I’ll go into greater detail about this essential component of our existence and how we can use it to enhance or wreak havoc on our health.

What’s the first sign of dehydration?  Usually, it’s thirst.  Thirst is the way the brain signals the body that it does not have enough water and needs more ASAP.  We constantly lose water through breathing, urination, defecation, and sweating and we are typically able to regulate this loss by eating and drinking.  But what happens when we aren’t replenishing this loss?  Short answer: a lot.

Research shows that as little as 1% dehydration can impact our coordination, memory, mood, and attention.  So, what’s actually happening inside of our bodies that’s making us feel this way?

A multitude of safeguards are taking place when the body is dehydrated.  The initial reaction is a thickening of the blood which causes our kidneys to retain available water making us urinate less.  This is why dehydration causes us to use the restroom less frequently than we normally would.  Think input versus output. The thicker and more concentrated blood causes our hearts to work harder, so add to physical exertion and it’s a recipe for fainting.  Another factor is inability to effectively regulate body temperature, essentially overheating known as hyperthermia.

By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.  Thirst is the signal letting us know that the body has told the brain, “hey, I don’t have enough water,” so the brain is triggering thirst to cause us to drink.  Do yourself a favor; bring water with you everywhere that you can and make it a habit to take a few sips every 10-15 minutes, even when you’re not thirsty.  In tomorrow’s newsletter, we’ll discuss the amount everyone should be drinking and if one brand offers something different than another.

Your heart is the greatest healer of your life.  And your soul is the heart of your life.  Let’s start living, folks.  Today starts now.  Until we meet again, this is Dr. Higgins saying, good bye.