The daily consumption of pure water is crucial for our optimal health. However, many people are not fully aware of its importance, and the numerous detrimental effects of dehydration in the body.
The human body s comprised of 65% water, needed for numerous physiological processes and biochemical reactions, such as the blood circulation metabolism, waste removal and detoxification, and regulation of the body temperature.
Thirst comes as soon as you lose 1-2% of the total water content, but by this time, your body has already entered the early stages of dehydration. Moreover, hunger, especially sugar cravings, can often signal dehydration, so when you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first.
These are some other signs of dehydration in the body:
- Fatigue and/or dizziness
- Mood swings
- Sugar cravings
- Foggy thinking and poor concentration
- Muscle cramps
- Dull, dry skin and/or pronounced wrinkles
- Infrequent urination; dark concentrated urine
- Bad breath
- Back or joint ache
Mild dehydration can cause various health issues, ranging from headaches to even impaired cognition but severe dehydration can be life-threatening.
Chronic dehydration in the body damages the organs and leads to sickness, so here are some of its effects:
Constipation: The body draws water from the colon when it is short in it, so waste starts to move slowly through the large intestines, leading to constipation.
Digestive Disorders: A shortage of water and alkaline minerals like magnesium and calcium in the body can lead to various digestive disorders, such as acid reflux, ulcers, and gastritis.
Sweet-tooth Cravings: Water is needed to process nutrients in the body, including glycogen. Therefore, in the case of dehydration, the body signals that you need sugar.
High Blood Pressure: When the body is properly hydrated, the blood is normally about 92% water. Yet, when dehydrated, it becomes thicker, leading to high blood pressure and resistance to blood flow.
Weight Gain, Constant hunger: When dehydrated, the body cells are depleted of energy to burn fuel, causing fatigue. Therefore, we tend to eat more.
High Cholesterol: The body creates more cholesterol in order to prevent water loss from the cells.
Headaches and Migraines: Dehydration in the body deprives fluid sacks around the brain cells to undergo pressure, causing migraines and headaches.
Joint Pain or Stiffness: All joints have cartilage padding composed mainly of water, so dehydration weakens he cartilages, leading to pain and discomfort in the joints.
Asthma and Allergies-- in order to conserve water, the body restricts the airways, increasing the histamine levels.
Bladder or Kidney Problems: The accumulated acids and toxins create a suitable thriving environment for bacteria, leading to inflammation, pain, a formation of stones, and infections.
Skin Disorders: Dehydration impairs the removal of toxins through the skin, leading to skin disorders such as wrinkles, psoriasis, dermatitis, and discoloration.
The general guidelines are that we should all drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water daily, but the need for water can vary, depending on factors like physical activity, weather conditions, etc.
Therefore, it is impossible to determine a general guideline that will be suitable for everyone, but the best way to track your hydration status from day to day is to inspect the color of your urine.
If it is dark and concentrated, it means that the kidneys are retaining water in order to perform bodily functions, so you need to drink more water. The ideal color of the urine is light yellow.
Moreover, a healthy person urinates about 7-8 times daily, so if you do not urinate for several hours during the day, your body might lack water. Dehydration in the body initially causes fatigue and irritability, inability to concentrate, and impaired driving skills.
“Since often people purposely avoid drinking prior to a long road trip to prevent bathroom stops, dehydration could increase the risk of traffic accidents.”
Also, a study evaluated these effects of dehydration by providing 200ml of water every hour to drivers, while dehydrated drivers received 25ml. Daily Mail reported:
“During the normal hydration test, there were 47 driving errors. That number rose to 101 when the men were dehydrated – the same mistake rate as that when drivers were either sleep deprived or at the drink-drive limit.
The researchers…think dehydration leads to reduced brain activity as well as a drop in alertness and short-term memory…The researchers wrote…’Body water losses have been shown to impair performance in a variety of tests of both physical and mental performance… ‘
The level of dehydration-induced in the present study was mild and could easily be reproduced by individuals with limited access to fluid over the course of a busy working day.’”
The body loses water during the day, and drinks like energy drinks, soda, fruit juices, and sports drinks are poor substitutes for pure water. Many of these are rich in caffeine which acts as a diuretic and dehydrates the body, and sugar in them is addictive and contributes to additional dehydration.
Processed fructose in such beverages causes obesity and metabolic dysfunction and raises the risk of diabetes and cancer.
Many people believe that after a workout, sports drinks are a better alternative, as they replace the lost electrolytes. Yet, they contain even more sugar than sodas, often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
They are also high in artificial flavors and food coloring, and fructose, which is primarily metabolized by the liver, often leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Artificial sweeteners are even worse, affecting insulin sensitivity and the production of human growth hormone (HGH).
Therefore, it is much better to drink coconut water or add natural, unprocessed salt, like pink Himalayan salt, to your water, and thus address the electrolyte replacement issue. Additionally, to restore the lost electrolytes due to sweating, eat fresh fruits after the exercise.
Additionally, boxed fruit juices are not healthy drinks neither, as their consumption actually raises the risk of weight gain, obesity, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
One eight-ounce glass of orange juice contains eight full teaspoons of sugar, and at least half of it is fructose. Fruit drinks are often rich in high-fructose corn syrup too, just like soda.
Dr.Joseph Mercola claims that we should also avoid distilled and bottled water. Namely,
“Distillation is the process in which water is boiled, evaporated, and the vapor condensed back to liquid water. Although it’s a controversial stance, I am firmly convinced that regular and consistent use of distilled water is harmful to your health.
Distilled water has the wrong ionization, pH, polarization and oxidation potentials, and if you drink it for too long it can drain your body of necessary minerals. This happens because distilled water is like a vacuum without any minerals, so it will actually leach beneficial minerals from your body to balance it out.
While this might be beneficial for a short period during some sort of detoxification regimen, it’s usually highly counter-productive in the long run. Distilled water is also highly acidic. Most of us are far too acidic already and the last thing we need to be drinking is a fluid that will make us even more acidic.
Distilled water is usually touted as beneficial because of its lack of contaminants. However, many of the devices that distill water are made of metal, which will actually add certain toxic metals like nickel back to the water and worsen your health.”
On the other hand,
“Not only is bottled water a major strain on the environment, but a lot of bottled water is no cleaner than tap water. In fact, about 40 percent of bottled water IS regular tap water, which may or may not have received any additional treatment.
The metal antimony (a silvery white metal of medium hardness) has been found in many commercially bottled water brands, for example.
It’s also been found that the longer a bottle of water sits on a shelf — in a grocery store or your refrigerator – the greater the dose of antimony present. The biggest offenders were packaged in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers. It is believed that the amount of antimony leaching from these PET bottles differs based on exposure to sunlight, higher temperatures, and varying pH levels.
Most municipal tap water -- though generally far from pure — must actually adhere to stricter purity standards than the bottled water industry. In one study, a third of more than 100 bottled water brands tested for contaminants were found to contain chemicals like arsenic and carcinogenic compounds, at levels exceeding state or industry standards.
Additionally, fluoride (a highly toxic bone poison that should be avoided at all costs) is usually present in both tap water AND filtered bottled water.”
To conclude, we suggest avoiding all these drinks in order to improve overall health and focus on clean fresh water only. Remember to always listen to your body, and make sure it is always supplied with the needed amount of it, in order to ensure your optimal health.