The Dark Side of “Hydration”

One of the most widely given pieces of health advice deemed fitting for everybody is “drink more water”. 

Recently, I started noticing this thing where I started feeling worse when I drink water at certain times. 

Water alone doesn’t truly “hydrate” you in the way it’s generically stated. Actually, it can dilute cellular solutes like electrolytes taken in excess, without accompanying food or nutrients and glucose giving it something to hold onto. 

This makes sense because normally I drink green juice daily, which I ran out of in the last few days. Coconut water is a good alternative I’ll be using in the meantime. I like the brand C2O. It’s especially good with a splash of lime juice. 

But if one continues to only drink a liquid with that feeling, you won’t end up feeling truly better until you eat. Food is a denser form of nutrients and energy our bodies need to keep the right balance in our cells, and to keep the metabolism running optimally. 

The body’s been conditioned to feel that if there’s not enough energy consistently, it should release cortisol (stress hormone) to liberate stored energy. 

This explains the feeling of restlessness and “off” feeling. Other indicators that should send up a red flag are cold hands and feet, fatigue, low appetite, or excess urine that’s becoming pale or clear. Yes, you do want to see some color in the urine.

I’ve also realized I had chapped lips the past few days which not common for me. It seems to line up with running out of the green juice. It goes to show that water really does need something to “hold onto” to be used in the body as it should. It can begin to actually take minerals out and further deplete the system if not. 

The depletion of minerals like potassium, magnesium, and sodium could certainly contribute to anxiety in addition to a vast array of symptoms. Many might not be aware that over-hydration is even a risk, but it can be deadly in excess, which can be a risk especially for athletes (r), where bradycardia (slow heart beat), confusion, and seizures can occur. 

Many are also likely unaware of the origin of generic advice to drink 8, 8 ounces glasses of water per day. The common consensus is that it seems to originate from founder of the Harvard Food and Nutrition Board, Frederick Stare. What isn’t acknowledged is sentence following the numeric figure stated that the source was to include any liquid— from soup, milk, tea, and fruits and vegetables:

How much water each day? This is usually well regulated by various physiological mechanisms, but for the average adult, somewhere around 6 to 8 glasses per 24 hours and this can be in the form of coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, beer, etc. Fruits and vegetables are also good sources of water.

Stare FJ, McWilliams M.Nutrition for Good Health.1974175PlyconFullerton, CA

The point is that you should always listen to your body. It’s not stupid. When I delved into the topic as a result of my symptoms, I found consistently that the body will create cravings before the body becomes dehydrates (even slightly).

For those who feel dehydrated and yet don’t get cravings to drink, I’d suggest you look at how much you’re eating and what the water content is. You may not be providing enough for the water to want to hold onto in the first place.

Above all else, the body keeps balance. If it’s not getting the basic ingredients to feed cells in addition to water: glucose, proteins, fats, minerals, etc., then it’s not going to want to water down the little that is present. 

The body will, however, downregulate appetite and lower metabolism over time to adapt to being treated this way consistently. This can lead to a myriad of health issues. This is why I recommend taking the body temperature every morning to see how the metabolism is doing. 🙂

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