What is Hydration and why are we concerned about being hydrated?

Hydration is often associated with sports, athletic activities or being ill with fever and vomiting.  But hydration is a daily need for all of us!  “We need to remember that your body is about 60% water, your brain is about 75% water and your blood is about 82% water!”

That is why the Mayo Clinic says:  ”Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.”

The main thing to remember is that we need to stay hydrated each day, even in the winter.  Turns out our body relies on water to help keep our temperature regulated.  So to stay warm in the winter, or cool in summer, drink water.   Seems every part of our body needs water as much as our diet and exercise program!

What are some Causes of Dehydration?

  • Your daily activities influence your need for replenishing fluids and electrolytes. 
  • How you exercise affects your hydration.  Is the exercise light or intense?  The more strenuous the exercise the more water and electrolytes you need to replace. 
  • Are you traveling? Air planes have dry atmospheres and so consume more water.
  • Alcohol also has a dehydrating effect so add water.  
  • Illness such as vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration.  
  • Excessive sweating and excessive urination deplete electrolytes as well.

How do we spot Dehydration?

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions.

Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.  A loss of 10 percent or more of total body weight indicates severe dehydration.

Dehydration may lead to a rapid loss of minerals in your blood (electrolytes) that maintain the balance of fluids in your body. This is called an electrolyte imbalance.  One electrolyte imbalance we are usually familiar with is muscle cramps.  Those painful muscle cramps come from a depletion of the minerals in your body such as potassium and sodium and choride.

The major electrolytes we need to have in balance to function properly are:   Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous,  Chloride

 What are Some symptoms to look for are in Children and Adults?

In Children

  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Eyes that look sunken into the head
  • Soft spot on top of baby's head that looks sunken
  • Lack of urine or wet diapers for 6 to 8 hours in an infant  (or only a very small amount of dark yellow urine)
  • Lack of urine for 12 hours in an older child   (or only a very small amount of dark yellow urine)
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Lethargy or irritability
  • Fatigue or dizziness in an older child

 Symptoms are a bit different in Adults:

  • Increased thirst
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth and swollen tongue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding
  • Confusion
  • Sluggishness
  • Fainting
  • Inability to sweat
  • Decreased urine output
  • Constipation

 

How can we combat Dehydration?

 On a normal, moderate temperature, inactive day you would lose 1.5 liters (6 glasses) of water through kidney filtration (urine production) and another 0.750 - 1 liter (3 - 4 glasses) through the skin and respiration. So you are down about 10 glasses of water and you haven’t done anything but breathe and go to the bathroom!

 

Drink plenty of water and avoid drinks that deplete water from our systems.  Simple enough.  Well, maybe not so easy as we all like certain beverages that tend to have diuretic properties.  Those beverages include:  coffee, tea, sodas, alcohol and some energy drinks. 

Dr Lee Coyne advises: “An average person needs 8 - 9 glasses per day just to replace average losses. It is true you get some of that from fruits, vegetable, other beverages and food.

My "rule of thumb" for water requirements has long been - weight in pound / 2 = oz. of water / day. So a 200 pound person would need to drink 100 ounces of water per day according to Dr Coyne’s advice.

Caffeinated, alcoholic and many carbonated beverages have a diuretic effect and actually increase the daily fluid requirements. One should choose pure (that would take up another column) water or high quality sport beverage in some circumstances.

Naturally, daily fluid requirements will vary with environmental conditions, clothing and exercise intensity and duration.”

 

Add some electrolytes into the mix.  We want to choose a high quality sports drink to use when we are working out, ill, or needing to replace electrolytes.  Too much water without the electrolytes can be a bad thing as well.  Called Hyponatremia is a fluid / electrolyte imbalance that results in abnormally low blood sodium concentrations. This causes brain swelling, headaches, and neurological responses like confusion, seizures, and even coma. Hyponatremia is a combination of too much water and not enough sodium.

 

Choose carefully the products you ingest.  Energy Drinks are not Sports Drinks. Energy drinks tend to be high in sugar and caffeineThe high caffeine and sugar cause more dehydration as well as an imbalance in your blood sugar!

Pedialyte is often the go-to for Doctors, but it only has 3 electrolytes.  Sodium, Potassium and Chloride.  It is easy to find in drug stores and grocery stores in an emergency and works better that home-made options or just water alone. 

I recommend a product by Shaklee, my business partner, as it has all 6 electrolytes needed for proper replacement.  And they are in the right balance to help you recuperate quickly.

  • Sustained energy
  • Six hydrating electrolytes Including calcium and magnesium
  • No artificial sweeteners Including sucralose, aspartame
  • No artificial flavors
  • No synthetic colorants or stabilizers
    Including yellow #5, yellow #6, blue #1, red #40
              Including brominated vegetable oil, glycerol ester of wood rosin

Shaklee Performance is clinically proven to hydrate better than water.

In fact, it has more electrolytes and provides more energy than the leading hydration drink.

The proprietary OPTI-LYTE™ electrolyte blend plus Shaklee’s unique mix of carbohydrates delivers instant and sustained energy and supports optimal hydration.

 

So be aware of the temperature, your level of activity, your water intake and be ready to take positive measures should dehydration start.  Prevention is the key to better health. 

Be proactive and alternate water with some Performance when cutting grass, walking the dogs, hiking for pleasure, painting the house, working in the yard, doing heavy cleaning in the home, running, exercising, and so much more! 

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 These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.