Did you know that H2O (aka water) is one of the most vital nutrients in your body? Without it, your body couldn’t survive past a couple of days. So, why don’t we take hydration more seriously if it plays such a vital role in our health?
This article will cover hydration and how it impacts the cells in our body. Let’s dive in.
What is Hydration?
Hydration is the process of when something absorbs water. For example, hydrating our bodies means replenishing the water by drinking liquids, eating high water content foods, or from setting up an IV line. When the body is hydrated, it is able to carry out the necessary processes and functions.
The Problem With Staying Hydrated In Today’s Society
In today’s world, sneaky marketing tactics have taken over the reality of real facts. “Hydrating” and “thirst-quenching” drinks are loaded with sugars, artificial sweeteners, and flavoring – all inhibiting excellent health. Dehydration is one of the most common deficiencies. Consuming an adequate amount of water is critical for proper hydration and overall health. Instead of drinking fluid that is hydrating and healthy, people are consuming more calories in the form of liquid calories, contributing to many nutrition-related health conditions.
A Few Symptoms of Cellular Dehydration:
- Brain Fog
- Aches and Pains
- Anxiety / Depression
- Dry Skin
- Reduced Concentration
- ADD / ADHD
- Excess Cellulite
- Reduced Stamina
- Slower Recovery
- Increased Heart Rate
- Joint Degenerative Disorders
- Impaired Detoxification
- And More
How Does Hydration Impact Our Cells?
Your body is made up of about 60-75% water depending on age, sex, activity levels. Cells, blood, and intercellular fluid hold the majority of the water. Water is needed in those places for specific reasons. Cells, in particular, need enough water to function fully and optimally. When our cells are dehydrated, it can cause health issues that we don’t recognize as the effects of dehydration.
Our body wants to be hydrated with enough water, but it also requires compartments to be in homeostasis (aka in balance with water and mineral levels). When we have ample amounts of water, our cells are optimal sized, meaning there’s a balance of water and minerals inside and outside of the cell.
However, when we are dehydrated, there is less water than minerals in the extracellular matrix (aka outside the cell), causing higher ionic concentration outside the cell. To reach extracellular homeostasis (balance) once again, the water stored inside the cell travels outside the cell to balance and reach extracellular homeostasis (balance). When it does this, the cell becomes smaller and shrinks because there is less water volume in it. Our kidneys excrete more concentrated urine to help retain water, yet keep the water to mineral balance. The receptors in our body tell us to drink more.
When the opposite occurs, and our body has excess water, it allows more water to go inside our cells. Our kidneys excrete more water (less concentrated urine), and our body tells us that we aren’t thirsty anymore.
Are Your Cells Actually Receiving The Water You Consume?
When we consume water, it travels into our intestines and then goes into our cells via our bloodstream. However, as we age, this process may be slowed down or slightly inhibited. Physiological dehydration may occur when your blood vessels or cells don’t get adequate amounts of water. You may drink water, but your body doesn’t effectively move the water from the extracellular environment into the cell where it’s needed. This allows oxidative chemicals to build up and damage the surrounding cells, making the issue worse and even speeding up the aging process.
One of the main reasons for this has already been outlined above. You may drink a ton of water, but it may not go into the cell because the ion ratio concentration inside the cell isn’t high enough to pull in the water. In other words, you may drink lots of water but then just pee it out before the cells can actually absorb it.
Importance of Electrolytes
When you incorporate electrolytes along with an abundance of water, it can increase the electric charge across your cell’s membrane. This allows water to cross the membrane more efficiently, allowing it to go where it is needed for optimal functioning. In simpler terms, your cells will be able to get hydrated more easily.
However, please note that you don’t need to include electrolytes every time you drink water. The times that you need to replace your electrolyte levels are when you’ve just had an intense workout or when you’ve been outside in the heat all day, and lots of water consumption is needed to replenish your body.
Things That Can Increase Your Risk of Cellular Dehydration
- Intensive Exercise Without Electrolyte Replenishing
- High Blood Sugar: Water will be moved outside the cell to try to lower the blood sugar levels and reach homeostasis. Your kidneys also try to get rid of that extra sugar by excreting more through the urine (reducing the water volume in your body as well).
- Aging: Your body’s processes and cells’ functioning decrease over time due to damage from oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species. This impacts the way your cells’ membranes are able to transfer water and nutrients into and out of the cell.
- Certain Medications: Medications, especially diuretics, can cause an increased risk of dehydration.
- Chronic Diseases: Chronic kidney disease may impair the process of getting rid of concentrated urine.
- High Intake of Certain Drinks: Caffeine, Alcohol, Soft Drinks, Sugary electrolyte drinks commonly found on the market, etc.
How To Keep Your Cells Hydrated And Healthy
Here are some quick tips to keeping not only your body hydrated but your cells hydrated as well.
- Replace electrolytes after long and/or intense workouts
- Replace electrolytes after days in the heat
- Sip on water throughout the day to allow your cells to absorb the water rather than urinating it out quickly
- Eat food high in water content: fruits and vegetables
- Eat an abundance of antioxidant-rich foods to protect your cells and cell membranes from harmful free radicals.
When Your Cells Are Hydrated, You’ll Experience:
- More Energy
- Clear Focus and Concentration
- Joints Are More Lubricated
- Hydrated Skin
- Better Digestion
- And much more
In2GREAT Functional Medicine Clinic in Kansas City offers a variety of IV Nutrition Therapies and nutritional consulting. One of them includes an IV Hydration Therapy known as Myer’s Cocktail.
This IV includes:
- Specific B Vitamins
- Vitamin C
If you want to maximize your health, optimizing your hydration is key. Get in contact with in2GREAT if you want more insight on how to achieve this and receive personalized care. Fill out their contact form or give them a call at (913) 308-0174.