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- Water provides the medium for life-sustaining chemical reactions in plants and animals.
- Water is essential for optimal cellular biochemical functions.
- 99% of all the molecules in our bodies are water molecules.
- Water comprises a large percentage of vital body fluids, including blood and lymph.
- The effects of dehydration involve numerous body systems, and symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening.
- Many people are chronically dehydrated, and this can lead to long-term health conditions.
- Hydration status has a significant effect on acute and chronic diseases.
- Dehydration can stimulate the signaling of inflammatory responses.
- A lack of hydration suppresses the effectiveness of the body’s lymphatic system, preventing drainage and detoxification.
- Usage of cell phones can lead to dehydration.
- Consuming water-rich fruits and vegetables aids hydration.
- All-natural, unprocessed salt can help balance the body’s water and electrolyte levels.
- Movement can support hydration, even down to the cellular level.
- Coconut water is an electrolyte-rich, hydrating beverage.
- Products and devices that support healthy hydration are structured water devices, electrolyte blends, trace mineral drops, and specialty filtration systems.
- Both reverse osmosis and distilling treatments produce processed, demineralized, energetically “dead” water.
- A fully hydrated body has a better chance of functioning at peak physical and mental performance and supplying abundant energy.
Water is essential to life. You probably already knew that, but do you know why? Chemical reactions in animals and plants which sustain life function take place in water. Water provides the medium for these life-sustaining reactions. Frequently, it is also an active participant in and product of vital chemical reactions. Water is the chemistry of life.
Water is indispensable on the cellular level. Water is needed for the normal functioning of almost all living cells.1 It is directly involved in the cell’s necessary biochemical reactions.
Water is a crucial constituent of the cell’s protoplasm, which is the material inside the cell walls. Water also transports nutrients into the cell and moves toxins, waste, and debris out of the cell. Furthermore, it has a significant role in maintaining the cell membrane. When important cellular structures are functioning optimally, the cell is robust and is better able to resist invasive toxins and pathogens.
Hydration for Chronic Illness Goes Beyond Water
Why Does Quality Water Matter?
According to researcher Gerald Pollack, PhD, 99% of all the molecules in our bodies are water molecules.2 Water comprises a large percentage of vital body fluids, including blood and lymph. Circulating blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to tissues and organs and participates in critical processes, such as the cardiovascular system. Lymphatic fluids are an essential part of the immune system, promoting drainage and detoxification of waste products and toxins, and bathing the body’s cells and tissues in pathogen-fighting immune cells.
The effects of dehydration involve numerous body systems, and symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening. If the body is deprived of water, essential body systems can become impaired. Sadly, a majority of people are chronically dehydrated, and this can lead to long-term health conditions over time.3
It’s evident that proper body hydration is a high priority. Interestingly, hydration status has a significant effect on acute and chronic diseases.4 Dehydration can stimulate inflammatory responses.5 Chronic inflammation can lead to a laundry list of medical conditions including asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, weight gain and obesity, arthritis, pain disorders, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, and cancer.
For people who suffer from Lyme disease, its co-infections, and other chronic illnesses, more inflammation will only compound an already chaotic inflammatory cascade. Plus, a lack of hydration suppresses the effectiveness of the body’s lymphatic system, preventing drainage and removal of toxins, heavy metals, mycotoxins from mold exposure, and cellular waste products, thus creating further havoc. Moreover, a weakened immune system will be less able to fend off pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Being dehydrated is a stressor that can increase cortisol levels.6 The adrenal glands work more diligently to produce cortisol, which can lead to chronic fatigue and anxiety. The chronically ill are already predisposed to increased stress on the adrenals and other endocrine glands, dehydration can exacerbate these issues. In fact, dehydration can worsen most symptoms and conditions from which a chronically ill patient suffers.
Surprisingly, Phones Cause Dehydration
Yes, those devices we stare at for hours and carry everywhere can promote dehydration.7 There are two reasons that this occurs.
- The first reason is related to the biochemistry of mental focus. Each time a person needs to refocus, their brain uses up hydration and must manufacture a round of replacement neurochemicals. Adjusting the gaze at the phone up and down involves an interruption of focus, drawing on nutrient and water reserves to produce more focus chemicals.
- The second reason involves the position of the head. When the head is tipped down and forward, extra pressure is applied to the neck. This pressure slows the flow of synovial fluid, which streams from the spinal cord to the brain. The result is a reduction in the amount of fluid that supports brain hydration. And though it may only be a small amount, it can build substantially from repeated pressure events throughout the day.
Besides Drinking Water, What Else Helps Hydration?
There are simple ways to stay hydrated and have balanced electrolytes that don’t include sipping and swallowing water all day long. These include:
- Consuming water-rich fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables in your diet don’t just supply needed nutrients, they also provide favorable hydration benefits. A study looked at the contribution to hydration in schoolchildren from fruits and veggies.8 Researchers found that regular consumption from these fluid-rich foods improved the hydration status of the kids in the study. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are chock full of electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. Consequently, water-rich fruits and vegetables help combat electrolyte imbalance. Good, quality electrolytes assist in keeping the body hydrated. Researchers found that adding electrolytes to plain water decreased overall fluid consumption. They concluded that water with supplemental electrolytes can “reduce the amount of fluid necessary to consume and transport during extended activity.”9
- Consuming sea salt. Table salt is processed and stripped of healthy minerals. However, sea salt retains its natural, hydrating minerals. All-natural salt contains trace minerals and electrolyte-balancing minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium. Sea salt and Himalayan salts help balance the body’s water levels. They also help regulate the electrolyte levels in the body. Furthermore, adding minerals from salt to the system provides an alkalizing benefit that supports a healthy pH level. This provides a key advantage, as many people have an acidic, disease-promoting pH level in their bodies. A pinch (or about ⅛ teaspoon) of Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan pink sea salt added and stirred into 16 ounces of water makes a drink that can be sipped on throughout the day. Another alternative is to make a salt solution called sole (pronounced soh-lay). Essentially, it’s water that has been fully saturated with an unprocessed, natural salt. It’s a remedy that’s been used for centuries to assist with hydration. To make sole, follow these instructions
- Fill a wide-mouth glass jar about 1/4 of the way with pink Himalayan salt, Celtic sea salt, or another all-natural salt. You can mix different types if you like.
- Add clean, pure water to the jar, filling it to about an inch below the top.
- Put the lid on and shake the jar gently.
- Leave at room temperature overnight to let the salt dissolve.
- If there is still some salt remaining on the bottom of the jar the next day, the water has absorbed its maximum amount of salt. The sole is ready to use. (If all of the salt is dissolved, add more salt and continue doing so daily until salt remains at the bottom of the jar, indicating that the water is thoroughly saturated with the salt.) To use: Mix 1 teaspoon of the sole in a full glass of clean water and consume in the morning on an empty stomach. (Note: Some patients may need to use caution with salt preparations and should check with a qualified practitioner before using them).
- Engaging in movement and exercise. It may strike you as funny that activity and movement are essential for optimal hydration. To stay adequately hydrated, supporting circulation throughout the body is a necessity. Movement and exercise support circulation. Additionally, they can significantly improve overall electrolyte levels. Furthermore, movement can support hydration on the cellular level. It can help the transport of nutrients into the cells and waste and debris out of the cells.10 Plus, it doesn’t take vigorous exercise to gain the hydrating benefits. Simple motion works just fine.
- Drinking coconut water. Coconut water contains loads of potassium and also provides plenty of vitamins, minerals, and other electrolytes. Coconut water comes from the young, green coconut or from liquid extracted from the white meat of a mature coconut. It’s refreshing, hydrating, fat-free, and naturally sweet. It’s important to note that pasteurization destroys its nutritional value, so purchase and drink coconut water that is raw or unpasteurized.
Healthy Hydration Hacks
There are a lot of options when it comes to water systems and hydration products. Here are some of my favorites.
All water is structured, but not necessarily structured harmoniously. Structured water devices use concepts from physics that are said to energize, neutralize, and raise the vibration of water. Water can be charged like a battery. Concepts from physics are used to add vital energy to water.
Structured water has more negative ions than unstructured water. When more negatively-charged ions are added to the human body, vitality increases in that body. Many Lyme disease, chronic fatigue, and chronic illness sufferers have an overabundance of positive ions and acidity. Application of structured water can counter the imbalance of positive charge. It can convert the fluids in the body to higher energy and vibration, realigning the body’s systems.
Perhaps you have heard of water research conducted by Dr. Masaru Emoto. Dr. Emoto flash-froze water and noticed that when the water was exposed to harmonious words or music before freezing, it crystallized into elegant geometric forms. Conversely, water flash-frozen after being exposed to negativity and harsh music would form fractured and chaotic crystals. Some structured water devices strive to use this same concept to harmonize and energize water. You can find my favorite whole house water structuring device here.
Electrolyte Blends and Trace Mineral Drops
Electrolyte blends or trace mineral drops are a hassle-free way to boost or add missing elements to drinking water. Look for all-natural and highly bioavailable (small particle size) products. The product should also be additive-free, i.e., NO sugars, starch, artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, or animal by-products. One of my favorites is BioActive Minerals, which includes 71 plant-based minerals that are easily absorbed into the body.
The Berkey Water Filter
Choosing a filter to provide clean, purified water can be a daunting task. Of the many options available, the Berkey system is one of the best choices. It’s a powerful and effective system that is more of a water purifier than just a filter. It has a high-caliber ability to remove pathogens from water. In fact, it can remove parasites, pathogenic bacteria, pesticides, fluoride, toxic metals, and chemicals, including arsenic. Yet, it leaves behind the life-sustaining essential minerals.
A Berkey system doesn’t rely on electricity. Plus, it is portable, so you can travel with it. It’s great for use at home for individuals or families. For people living in apartments or rental homes, it’s a highly cost-effective solution. You can check it out here.
The VitaJuwel Gemwater Bottle
These bottles are both beautiful and practical. With a VitaJuwel bottle, you can enjoy the benefits of crystals while keeping yourself hydrated. The bottles contain crystals that provide healing and energizing benefits. Crystals are increasingly popular in the wellness world, and this is a creative and effective way to reap their benefits.
Crystal gemstones, or “gempods,” are added to the bottom of a high-quality glass water bottles, but are sealed off so that they don’t actually touch the water. The gempods contain a variety of gems and crystal combinations that are interchangeable–once you’ve purchased one bottle, you can try out all kinds of different blends. See them here.
Reverse Osmosis Filtration and Distilled Water
It’s important to say a bit about reverse osmosis systems and distilled water. Unfortunately, many reverse osmosis systems remove the good with the bad. Essential minerals are extracted. If there are enough minerals and nutrients in the diet, this could make up for the lost minerals. But, most Americans don’t get sufficient nutrients from food and other beverages. If they drink demineralized water as well, then they are more prone to vitamin and mineral deficiency.
Demineralized water is also shown to cause substantial losses of all essential elements from foods when used for cooking and food preparation. As for distilled water, the distilling process also removes the good with the bad. Both reverse osmosis and distilling treatments produce processed, mineral-free, energetically “dead” water.
Maintain Hydration and Electrolyte Balance to Optimize a Healthy Outcome
Many people get the bulk of their fluid from foods they eat and beverages they drink, often primarily at meals. However, you may want to consider not drinking with meals to preserve the low acid environment the stomach needs for optimal digestion. A better strategy would be to drink throughout the day, then stop drinking a half hour before a meal. Then, don’t drink with the meal and start drinking a half hour again after the meal.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a renewed commitment to stay hydrated and maintain electrolyte balance, particularly if you have Lyme disease or chronic illness. It can be a bit overwhelming, for sure. If you’d like to focus on hydration and healing, my At-Home Program has tips and protocols for Lyme disease and chronic illness patients and for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy environment and lifestyle, for that matter.
Dehydration can start to set in even before your mouth goes dry. Be mindful, and listen to your body. If you’re thirsty or have been sweating a lot, hydrate immediately. Carry a bottle of water with you on your daily travels. Don’t wait for symptoms to arise to take action. Remember, your fully hydrated body has a better chance of functioning at peak physical and mental performance and having all the energy you need to get you through the day.
- ”Why Do Cells Need Water?” socratic.org, Socratic, n.d. Web
- ”Human Body May Be 99% Water Reports Water Researcher Gerald Pollack, PhD.” prweb.com, Vocus, Inc, 27 Feb 2014. Web
- Urkin, J and Bar-David, Y. “Voluntary, Non-intentional Dehydration and Health.” Am J Public Health, vol. 105, no. 11, Nov 2015. Web
- Manz, F. “Hydration and Disease.” J Am Coll Nutr, vol. 26, Oct 2007. Web
- Dmitrieva N, and Burg, MB. “Elevated Sodium and Dehydration Stimulate Inflammatory Signaling in Endothelial Cells and Promote Atherosclerosis.” PLoS One, vol. 10, no. 6, 4 Jun 2015. Web
- Castro-Sepulveda, Mauricio et al. “Basal Mild Dehydration Increase Salivary Cortisol After a Friendly Match in Young Elite Soccer Players.” Front Physiol, vol. 9. 2018. Web
- Cohen, D. Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight, and Heal Your Body through the New Science of Optimum Hydration, Little, Brown, & Co, 2018.
- Montenegro-Bethancourt, G et al. “Contribution of Fruit and Vegetable Intake to Hydration Status in Schoolchildren.” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 98, no. 4, Oct 2013. Web
- Cuddy, JS et al. “Effects of an Electrolyte Additive on Hydration and Drinking Behavior During Wildfire Suppression.” Wilderness Environ Med, vol. 19, no. 3, Fall 2008. Web
- Convertino, VA. “Fluid Shifts and Hydration State: Effects of Long-Term Exercise.” Can J Sport Sci, vol.12, suppl. 1, 1987. Web